Teaching Materials - Exercise

Composition series (2) I’m speaking

Name of Artist Educator: Thomas Lin
Excercise Category: Photographer's eye, Self-awareness

Life is full of things that provoke emotions. Embrace and cherish those objects and picture which touch your heart. Try visualising the abstract feelings to communicate with people and reconnecting with them and things around.

Concept / Inspiration:

Life is full of things that provoke emotions. We are used to oppress the feelings. Some of us may choose to escape, and gradually forget. Let’s try to release the long-suppressed emotion and reconnect with the people and things around. To embrace and cherish those objects and picture which touch your heart. This exercise is about expression which provides opportunities for student to try visualising the abstract feelings to communicate with people.


  • To forgo texts and explanation. To express through images only.

Materials / Equipment:

  • Camera


At school

Workshop Description:

  1. List out the feeling, such as, joyful, hopeful, frightened, distressing, relaxed, excited, free, stressful, angry, satisfied, lonely, etc.
  2. Each of the students randomly pick one of the abovementioned feelings and shoot freely on the campus. However, they could try to interpret the feeling with the use of the visual language.
  3. Students take turn to share their photos. When one is sharing, the others guess the theme of the pictures without asking the photographer. However, they could discuss with others.
  4. Finally, the photographer would reveal what s/he was thinking and also the reasons for such representation.
  5. The focus of the discussion is the communality of the language. For example, “Why would some kinds of photograph or photographic effects would bring specific kind of feeling? Such as, black and white represent sadness, bright colors represent happiness?” If there are images that students cannot successfully convey the feeling, the instructor could ask, “Is that feeling clear enough? How could the image illustrate it? Is there any suggestions for improvement?Note 1: The exercise aims to let students experience how to communicate with people through visual language. Therefore, students target on conveying the feelings as accurate as possible.
    Note 2: When the instructor picks out the keywords, they could also pick simple and complicated feelings that are both easy and difficult to convey. For example, happiness (easy) and relaxation (difficult), This is to create something ambiguous to trigger further discussion.

Actual Outcome:

During the discussion about commonality of language, some students believed that the commonality educated as common sense. It could originate from the classical literature, i.e. In Chinese literature, willow represents the sentimental emotion of parting or some of the movies would have special setting to create special emotion such the dim corridor. The student asked if there was any way to get rid of this knowledge. Instructor concluded that modern people has a lot of image reading experience. These experiences are rooted from our childhood. It is hoped that the discussion could help the students could organize the concepts and apply it in the future.



Students’ works:

Hung Cheuk Lai 【Alone】

Wong Hui Yan 【Hope】

Chan Pui Shan【Freedom】

Alex Fok 【Freedom】

Dorothy Cheung 【Happiness】

Elaine Ng 【Pressure】

Lin Po Yee, Summer 【Alone】

Alice Chu 【Calm】

Blanche Xu 【Hot】

Ko Man Kit 【Alone】

Student Feedback:

“Our feeling comes from education and culture, is there any way to get rid of it? It is hard to break away from it while we still hope to communicate with the others. “