Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Exercise 43 - Symbols

A thought exercise! I haven't done one of these since an Oxford Philosophy distance learning course I did years ago.
Anyway, thinking of symbols for a number of concepts. I need more than one symbol for each subject and a short note explaining how I could use it in a photograph.

seeds, saplings, vines.
Nature springs to mind immediately. You could have a series of marks on a door frame with a child's age written next to it. A certain mind set might verge towards some more adult symbolism!
I think if I was to take a single photograph to represent growth, I would probably lie flat on the ground, find a sprouting blub and use the fish eye lens - which I'm a bit obsessed with at the moment.

Food! Burger wrappers spilling out of a bin, Gregs bags which contribute to so much litter.
Symbols of excess should be immediate and in your face. I like the idea of taking a picture of a man with a load of gold jewellery and teeth or a woman wearing furs standing in a grand hallway with lots of gaudy chintz.
Being realistic, if I were to take this photo now, I'd go for food excess and get someone swigging a milkshake whilst they had food down their face and a burger in their hand. Food excess is the easiest to access to seems like a lazy choice, but because it is the easiest to access, it's one of our societies biggest problems.

Symbols of crime are often closely associated with symbols of punishment, a masked man, striped prison tops, multiple arrows, bars, locks, crowbars etc.
I'd like to take a picture that showed corporate crime where a man could be seen at a desk in a respectable shot, but there were small indicators around the scene that indicate his criminal nature. There could be some files marked confidential, a report of fraud, a variety of credit cards in different names, or passports with different names and the same man in each of them. There could be a small bag of concrete on the floor leaning on the desk with some rope and a pair of black leather gloves etc.

Symbols for silence, hmm, this is a more difficult one. A gagged man, one of those orange bills like the gimp in pulp fiction wore. Silence can be evoked by emptiness, a room with the door left open or a dark street at night. Anywhere where there should be, but arent people. An empty escalator. I'd take a picture of two people sat staring at each other with their mouths closed.


Poverty can be shown through symbols of waste, dereliction and most importantly through people. Where clothes are torn or dirty and people look malnourished or diseased.

this is a difficult one to plan a photo for. I wouldn't want to take a photo of real poverty under these circumstances and faking it seems brutal. An empty purse would be a good work around. Or a bank statement with a hefty minus figure.

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