Landscape & Social Documentary Photography Exhibition by VC Year 1 Students



A group of students from the BA(Hons) in Design (Visual Communication) took the subject of Advanced Photography in the second semester in 2010/2011. Among the various topics of their photographic works we have chosen works themed "Landscape" and "Social Documentary" to be highlighted in the invited exhibition at Youth Square, a youth community located in Chai Wan, Hong Kong.

You are cordially invited to visit the exhibition to share what the students perceived the world through the lens of camera.

Landscape Photography

Landscape photography is a genre intended to show different spaces within the world, sometimes vast and unending, but other times microscopic. Many landscape photographers show little or no human activity in their photos, striving to attain pure, unsullied landscapes that are devoid of human influence, using instead subjects such as strongly defined landforms, weather, and ambient light. Despite this, there is no pure or absolute definition of what makes a landscape in photography, as such it has become a very broad term, encompassing urban, industrial, macro and nature photography.

In this project, the students produced a set of photo images for specific space/s - indoor or outdoor, using b/w films & photo paper. They started from choosing the locations which they are interested in, walking around and feel the space with their senses, then tried to understand and explore the space/s from their natural or cultural significance, social functionalities, political symbolisms, etc, to interpret and find suitable verbal descriptions for the emotions towards them, and finally, created a set of 2D b/w photographic images to express their views/feelings towards the 3D spaces.

Social Documentary

As defined in Wikipedia: Social documentary photography is devoted to 'social groups' with socio-economic and cultural similarities, showing living or working conditions perceived as shameful, discriminatory, unjust or harmful. Examples include child labor, child neglect, homelessness, poverty among segments of society, impoverished children and the elderly, and hazardous working conditions. The poor, the social outcasts, or lower classes are portrayed in compassionate observation. The documentary power of the images is associated with the desire for political and social change.

In this portfolio assignment, students were asked to identify a social issue/aspect that they were interested in and develop a series of photographic images from it according to their personal understanding and point of view. They conducted in depth investigations into their selected topic to voice out their own opinion on the related issues.

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