Teaching Materials - Exercise

Gulliver’s travels

Name of Artist Educator: Lai Lon Hin
Excercise Category: Photographer's eye, Technical exercise, Visual storytelling

Only when we observe things from a micro perspective that we are reminded of our ignorance and carelessness.

Concept / Inspiration:

Only when we observe things from a micro perspective that we are reminded of our ignorance and carelessness.

We have grown so used to our surroundings that we think we knew everything, but the fact is, we have never really looked at them. Only when we observe things from a micro perspective that we are reminded of our ignorance and carelessness.


  1. To let students discover new angle o observing and understanding the mundane life.
  2. To let students pay attention to details and increase their ability and to observe
  3. To let students learn the basic photography skills such as focus, composition.

Materials / Equipment:

  • Camera
  • Miniature (size no larger than little finger)
  • Computer
  • Projector



Workshop Description:

Part One | Close-up of subjects (15 minutes)
Aims: To be familiar with the focus function of the camera and observe the subjects.
1. Students are given some miniature. They practise shooting subjects at close distance with macro mode.

Part Two | Macro photography (40 minutes)
1. To allow students to rediscover things from a different perspective.
2. To allow students to understand the importance of space and sight.

1. Play excerpts from the film The Borrower Arrietty, encourage students to see the world through the eyes of the tiny people.
2. Students create scenarios in different places of the campus: they will place the miniatures in different venues and explore the tensions between them. Students need to be aware of the representation of miniatures in terms of frame, space and ratio. The sizes of different objects can be highlighted via contrasting: one can come up with a surreal effect by utilising the miniatures. For example, if a miniature is compared to an SD card, we will have an idea of how small it is, that it is even smaller than an SD card. If the miniature is placed against a blank background, the sense of miniature will be lost, and we will not know the actual size of the miniature. Besides, we should not only focus on the miniature itself, we should also look into the relationship between the miniature and the SD card. From the example used, the SD card becomes the miniature’s piano; with its changed function, we are introduced a new angle to look at the world and things around us.


Expected Outcome:

Students are able to understand their surroundings from another angle.

Actual Outcome:

  1. Some students overlooked the relationship between miniature and the background in Part Two exercise. Remind students not to just focus on the miniature, they should take note of the links between the subject and its surroundings.
  2. Due to the miniature’s size, it can be difficult to focus the camera. If the technique of macro photography has not been introduced to students, suggest them to shoot with camera phone or P-mode of camera, so that the camera can auto-focus. Focus is important, but there can also be exceptions: when subjects are blurred, sometimes it accidentally creates a bizarre atmosphere. (See Kwok Wan Kui’s work #1)


Student Work

Kwok Wan Kiu

Lam Kim Ngai

Yam Chun

Student work from other class led by Ellis Yip

Au Chin Pang (homophonic translation)

Student Feedback:

When students took photos for the miniature, they noticed there were dirt and rubbish on the ground. They described it like a room without cleaning.

Reference Materials:

Footage of The Borrower Arrietty

A Grain of Sand – By Dr. Gary Greenberg

Un Petit Monde