STAGING AND THE ART OF MISE-EN-SCENES
This activity is part of SEENTHESIS: Visual Literacy Through Singapore Photography.
Seenthesis: Visual Literacy through Singapore Photography is an attempt to put together a resource book that provides educators and general public on the fundamental overview on photography and the contemporary approaches illustrated by over 100 works by 32 Singaporean/Singapore-based Artists. Providing context to the works are concise essays on the history and theory of photography as well as a timeline on the social history of photography in Singapore.
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STAGING AND THE ART OF MISE-EN-SCENES
Think of an environment and or people you would like to photograph. Create sketches to consider the elements that make up the environment or persons. This is to encourage you to be aware of the elements that make up the environment first. For example, if the interest is in your house, have them create quick sketches of the things that can be found in your home. If their interest is in a particular person, have them sketch out things that relate to that person – to be aware of age, dressing, etc. Consider the narrative that they would like to present.
Have them consider the narrative that they would like to present.
→ Why were you drawn to staging this element?
→ What methods of staging would you be using?
- Would you be rearranging the elements with regards to the environment and person only or would you also be introducing new elements?
→ Consider the mood of your “stage”
- Why would you opt for this particular mood? How do you intend to create this mood?
→ Why do you want to stage this element?
- What truth would be revealed or questioned, which would not have been able to if staging did not occur?
Alter the environment or aspects of the person, and stage the environment or person. There should be elements of dramatising in order to accentuate key features of the environment or character. For example, if you are interested in your house, and want to stage the reality of restricting yourself indoors, then you would have to think about how to show those emotions or actions with the use of models and props.
“In the Raw” (2010-2011) is a series of photographs that began with Kang desiring to connect deeper with her family members. Using the naked body as a metaphor for both physical and emotional vulnerability, Kang performed alongside her family members loosely based upon old photographs and memories. Kang had expressed, that the project was intended to be self-discovery of sorts, it was a platform for her to understand and bridge the issues she felt she faced being an artist in the family. It is clear that Kang has intentionally orchestrated symbolism not only in the scenes, but also in the way the characters are used to illustrate a narrative. It is intriguing to see, that while these were her actual family members, they performed as if they were also characters; being genuine and yet fictional all at once. The psychological tension created through her works is emphasised further by the unabashed nudity portrayed through the series. In presenting an adult body in a childlike manner, it playfully questions the layers of conditioning that are determined by the family.
“It Can Be Better” (2015) showcases a series of photographs that documents objects in perfectly set situations. The objects are arranged, with an utmost perfection and precision, depicting an obsessive compulsion for orderliness and cleanliness. Liu wanted to show that such obsessive living habits can often become counter-productive instead. The quietness in her images create an uncomfortable tension, with the objects dominating the space so much that it almost renders our humanistic presence as imperfect and hence unnecessary. The control that Liu has staged the scene is immaculate and pretends to be effortless.
Have fun trying out our activities throughout this tough period. Don’t forget to purchase SEENTHESIS to learn about local photographers and other activities. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for other enquiries.