Teaching Materials - Exercise

Shooting in the dark

Name of Artist Educator: Ho Man Kei, Vik Lai
Excercise Category: Self-awareness

How does it feel in complete darkness? What are the facial expressions if one is in the dark for a while? What sort of state would that be?

Concept / Inspiration:

How does it feel in complete darkness? What are the facial expressions if one is in the dark for a while? What sort of state would that be?

“多雲有雨”an article from Yi-Chang Liu is beautifully written with beautiful text structure which provides a lot of pictorial information. This allows the others to experience what he had experienced in the past and the personality of the characters. If you read the novel, we would be able to notice that the author has created a lot of detailed reference that connects different spontaneous moments to create an atmosphere. In Liu’s world, visions drive the story on. His use of different elements from the visual and sensory world makes his novel more convincing.

Likewise, photos could provide vision to depict the events. How could it be able to carry both words and description? What sort of autonomy and nature do we need to pursue when we shoot photos? Shooting in the darkness is the practise of catching the natural moments. What are the facial expressions if one is in the dark for a while? What sort of state would that be? Everyone would have some sort of feeling or imagination towards darkness. Through these practises, we could explore different states.


Students are required to discuss about “states”. Everything has its own state: raindrop could be vaporized into cloud and become ice when it is cold. Perhaps, someone would think that every picture is like a bucket of water obtained from periods of time. As the medium, observing the “state” is a quite suitable function for photography as it could prove the existence of the “state”.

This exercise enables students to experience how the setting of the environment could affect the state of a person. They learn to catch the natural moment for shooting the sense of reality of them.

Materials / Equipment:

  • Tripod
  • Camera
  • Flashlights
  • Computer
  • Projector


Completely black out room

Workshop Description:


Part One ︳State in the dark (2 hours)

  1. Two students in one group. They are required to shoot the others’ state when they are in the darkness.
  2. Each group have 30 minutes for the photo shooting. The model could have any postures while the photographer will have to place the camera on the tripod and capture that.

Part Two︳Article sharing (1 hour)

  1. Instructor could share the work of Duane Michaeles, the article多雲有雨 by Yi-Chang Liu and Orhan Pamuk’s “Naive and Sentimental Novelist” with the students and to discover the relationship between the textual descriptions and visual elements.

Expected Outcome:

The sharing of Yi-Chang Liu is to allow the students to experience the flow of the passage. It is possible to find changes when repeatedly narrating the same event. This could help students create narrative images.

Actual Outcome:

  1. As the camera was out of order, all students were not able to shoot any photos. However, the process was impressive as the image has already become a living memory in their mind.
  2. Students may need to spend more time to realise different narrating methods as well as to apply them.


Instructor’s demonstration:

DSC_4509 DSC_4514 DSC_4515 DSC_4516

Student Feedback:

“ I find that shooting in the dark is a new experience. During the shooting, I especially focused on the sound of my breath and the body movements.”

Reference Materials:

Part One “State in the dark”

The inspiration for shooting in the dark is from Valerier Schemit, a photographer who is good at shooing “state”.

Part Two “Article sharing”

Article one: 《多雲有雨》 Yi-Chang Liu
Yi-Chang Liu has used “ 7th November, 2000, cloudy, rainy, typhoon signal no. 1 is hoisted” as the repeated structure in one of his short articles, 多雲有雨. On the same day with the same weather, the article depicts different characters and the happenings. The apparent irrelevant people and events are actually a tie to create the sense of reality.

Article two: “Naive and Sentimental Novelist “- Ohan Pamuk
Ohan Pamuk, a Turkish novelist used the familiar sensory experience to construct an epic modern atmosphere lively. This shows the sense of reality of the world in the novels. Readers could delicately experience each moment from the time and come to believe the existence of the world of novels. “The Innocence of Objects”, another novel by Ohan Pamuk, depicts the process of how an old man collects the relics given by his lover. This virtual museum actually situates in Turkey.

Sequential images by Duane Michaels, an American photographer
To express the surrealistic images that carries the feeling of sky novels in series form. His photos could perfectly reflect the inner state in a surrealistic way. It is willful with no stacking. According to him, he is not willing to be led by the faces that he was shooting but to display his true face by photo shooting.