Teaching Materials - Exercise

Blind shooting

Name of Artist Educator: Chan Pak Kin
Excercise Category: Visual storytelling

No matter how precise language it can be, it could never present every details of an image clearly and thoroughly......

Concept / Inspiration:

No matter how precise language it can be, it could never present every details of an image clearly and thoroughly. Simply just a name of an object is enough to evoke various images for different individuals because there are different interpretations and experiences. The language discrepancy does not relate to personal language ability. It is the defect of language itself. The exercise does not aim to subvert language, nor does it excuse the language ability of some students. It is hoped to let student understand there are boundaries for language and image and they can be indeed complementary. This exercise could also be used together with Chan Pak Kin ‘s “Capturing the lyrics”.


  1. To let student experience the inadequacy of pure verbal communication. This is not solely or directly related to individual language ability.
  2. To let students experience there are different angles and perspective in understanding the same issues.

Materials / Equipment:

  • Camera
  • Eye cover



Workshop Description:

Duration: 50 minutes

  1. Two students in a group. Students A and Student B.
  2. Student A cover up their eyes. Student B takes Student A to one place.
  3. Student B takes a photo of anything s/he notices of and then describes it verbally or writes it down. Students are required to describe in details including the photos or camera itself (e.g. object, light position, background, position and angle, ISO, aperture and focal length, etc.) They also need to describe the position when they take the photos such as, position of the camera: in front of the chest, overhead, on the waist, kneeling or tiptoeing.
  4. By reading the words or verbal instruction of Student B, Student A needs to take a photo as similar as Student B’s.
  5. Students take turn to be A and B.

Note 1 : It is advised to supplement the exercise with Chan Pak Kin’s “Capturing the lyrics”. It is to let student further explore the complementary relation between words and image.
Note 2: In order to emphasize the key message about the defect of language, Student A and B need to walk together on the same path at the same time. Even though both of them stand on the same location, their photos could be different in various ways such as the angles, the composition.

Expected Outcome:

To let students understand however precise and detailed the description is, there is an inadequacy of language because everyone perceives different angles.

Actual Outcome:

There are different perspectives. One may focus on describing the overall picture and environment while one may focus on the objects in front ignoring the background. There is difficulty in communication.

During class:

Student B needs to pay attention to safety of Student A.

Photos of Lai Ching Yan and Lau Yuk Wun. Although they have the same subject, it is obvious that the angles, position and the composition are different.
lai_ching_yan_20151212_001 lau_yuk_wun_20151212_001

lai_ching_yan_20151212_002 lau_yuk_wun_20151212_002

Student Feedback:

Many students find out it is difficult to describe images in words.