Illustration by Symbols.

This part of the course required me to think of some symbols and the possibilities surrounding each one.

Nature is something that represents so many things from growth to life. Colours especially can always add to the hidden meanings or even obvious ones as you can see in my colour research study.

Here I must illustrate ideas for something to represent the following.


It could show a person from a young age growing older and all the details of their life showing on their faces. Or you could show how dramatic one year in a persons life might be if they were going through something like moving, or a new exercise regime etc.


The above can also apply to exercise but if you were to show it through one photo the most obvious idea is someone actually taking part in some form of exercise. But I’m trying to think of something a little different, maybe even a humorous look at it, perhaps someone who is about to start weightless doing weight lifting with two giant chocolate cakes 😛


Sometimes you don’t need the whole violence to be shown to get the idea. Maybe the shadow of several people surrounding another *shudder* or a close up of someones eyes with their attacker or the incident always staring out at them. The person staring in a mirror always seeing the attacker. The person with their eyes closed but a double exposure of the incident on their eyelids showing the after effects of it even when they close their eyes 😦  I think that would show the message quite clearly and evoke emotion but it would be a disturbing advertisement to see. Still one of the powers of photography is the ability to change people and their attitudes and raise awareness.


Again, maybe shadows, the obvious is someone with their hands over their mouth but maybe writing on it showing they have been told to be silenced but they are finding a way to ask for help. Though I think I have already seen an advert like that.


There are so many images of poverty so it would be challenging to find something different. Maybe look to the smaller details. I remember seeing a horribly moving photo of an African child with his hand in a missionaries hand. His hand was so skinny and small it was like something unearthly. That was horrific and you could feel the emotion just from those two hands. Maybe bare feet filling the frame, filthy cut, standing on glass or something sharp. Of course the photos that always evoke emotion are those of a persons face and the imploring look in their eyes. Though, Migrant mother doesn’t feature eye contact yet is one of the most iconic symbols of the Great American Depression.


After completing this exercise I looked at some examples of symbolic photos. There were photos containing trauma and some were more than disturbing. But some of the worst were ones that didn’t even show anything bad. One was an apple core facing a mirror which reflected a full apple. Looking at it it just seemed normal, reading the title, Anorexia brought a whole new level to the photo and made it very disturbing. But the photographer illustrated their point. That makes me think about the purpose of words in photography, should you allow the viewer to take everything they need from the photo to understand it or should you always add a title?


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