Grade 8 Reflection – Playlist

Flaws by Bastille, Bad Blood

This song is about the singer having flaws and weaknesses that he’s trying to hid (“You have always worn your flaws upon your sleeve, and I have always buried them deep beneath the ground”). The singer addressing someone who accepts their flaws and doesn’t care about them. He reaches out to the person and they help him, convincing him to accept himself and embrace failure (“Dig them up. Let’s finish what we’ve started. Dig them up, so nothing’s left untouched”). The central message of this song is to show how we all tear ourselves apart to try to be perfect when we should just accept ourselves (“Look at the wonderful mess that we made, we pick ourselves undone”)

I chose this song because in the second semester of 7th grade, I’d experienced some major failures that I couldn’t get over. I tried to “bury them deep beneath the ground” and hide them from others. I couldn’t accept that I could fail like this, but over the summer between 7th grade and 8th grade, my family helped me embrace failure. They helped me realise that life wasn’t perfect and that what was done cannot be undone. That helped me start strong in 8th grade, with renewed determination to not be beaten down by failure.


(clean version)

Focus by Ariana Grande, Dangerous Woman

Although Focus by Ariana Grande might seem like song about love, Grande herself announced that there is a deeper meaning to this song. In the first verse, “I know what I came to do and that ain’t gonna change. So go ahead and talk your talk cause I won’t take the bait”, Grande declares that she doesn’t care what the world thinks about her, she’s just going to be herself and keep working hard. When she says “focus on me”, she actually means focus on who she is. She wants people to focus on who she is, not what she looks like, what she’s wearing, the colour of her skin etc. She wants the world to know who she is a person. To quote her exact words, she said “The more we realise how much we have in common , the more we listen to each other, the more one we become”.

I was inspired by this song and how Grande wants people to know that she is not just the looks and the fashion, she’s more than that. So I was inspired by her message, and in the beginning of 8th grade, I chose not only to embrace my flaws and imperfections, but also to make new friends and focus on who they are, and not what they are.


Chasing the Sun by The Wanted, Word of Mouth

Chasing the Sun by the Wanted is not only a song about partying and enjoying life, but it’s also about pursuing your dreams. “They said this day wouldn’t come, we refused to run, we’ve only just begun, you’ll find us chasing the sun” talks about how people discouraged the singer(s) and told them this dream was impossible in the beginning, but the singer(s) refused to be brought down by words and continued to pursue their dreams. I also interpret this song as one where it tells you to aim for higher goals, even when others discourage you. If you think about it, chasing the sun is like trying to catch the moon. It’s impossible, yet this song is telling you to pursue the impossible, because nothing is impossible.

During the course of 8th grade, this song inspired me to set higher expectations and to keep on going even when others discourage you. This song told me that nothing is impossible, and with time and effort (We’ve only just begun, until forever comes, you’ll find us chasing the sun), anything can be achieved.


Am I Wrong by Nico & Vinz, Black Star Elephant

This song, by Nico & Vinz, is about following what you believe in and not doing what everybody else is doing. In this song, the person isn’t sure the road he’s travelling is the right one, but he follows his heart and believes that it will lead him somewhere (Am I wrong for thinking out the box from where I stay? Am I wrong for saying that I choose another way?). The person in this song wants to do something unique and follow a path that others have not travelled on yet, even when he can’t find where the road leads to (I ain’t tryna do what everybody else doing, just ’cause everybody doing what they all do. If one thing I know, I’ll fall but I’ll grow, I’m walking down this road of mine, this road that I call home). The song encourages others to not let people control their lives and not be effected by other people’s opinions (walk, walk, don’t look back, always do what you decide. Don’t let them control your life, that’s just how I feel). The person in the song is telling those who are different and seeking a different path in life that they are not alone and to fight for what they believe in (Fight for yours and don’t let go, don’t let them compare you, no. Don’t worry, you’re not alone, that’s just how we feel). 

Reflecting back on this year, I think this is the song that summarised 8th grade the most. Ever since I transitioned from Upper Primary to Middle School, I’d always been the ‘follower’, and not the ‘leader’. I’d always walk in other people’s shadows and footsteps, never hesitating to think about making my own path. It was until after 7th grade did I realise that for me, following people’s footsteps just wasn’t going to work. For me, the best path was my own. This song encouraged me that there is nothing wrong with following what I believe in and going against the flow, and assuring me that I wasn’t alone in this journey.


Drag Me Down by One Direction, Made in the A.M

In this song, One Direction sings of not letting others discourage and humiliate one. This song sings about how the singer will let nothing stop them (All these lights, they can’t blind me, with your love, nobody can drag me down). It gives an upbeat melody that emboldens others to not let anything drag them down. This song was produced after One Direction’s member Zayn Malik left, so it was sung with passion in a way that the band members were not going to let Zayn’s departure drag them down.

I chose this song because it inspired me to keep going and never give up even when life was tediously challenging. It renewed and rekindled the fire of determination that burned in the beginning of the year (I got a fire for a heart, I’m not scared of the dark). In many ways, it helped me through challenging obstacles in the course of 8th grade.


Who We Are by Imagine Dragons, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

This song is a song produced for the famous movie, Hunger Games: Catching Fire. It’s a song about accepting who you are as a person (It’s who we are, doesn’t matter if we’ve gone too far, doesn’t matter if it’s all okay, doesn’t matter if it’s not our day). This songs says that it doesn’t matter if you fail in life, if you succeed in life, because in the end, you’re still who you are. Other people might judge you for being who you are (they say we’re crazy), but like what the previous song said, don’t let them drag you down.

I chose this song because it represents how I’ve changed as a person from when I was in 7th grade to now in 8th grade. It shows how when I was in 7th grade, I would care too much about everything, but now, through 8th grade, I’ve learned to accept who we are and live with it. There’s also a verse that really fits into middle school to high school transitioning: What we are don’t look clear. ‘Cause it’s all uphill from here. In this verse, the person questions their identity, just as we as teenagers are searching for our identity. “‘Cause it’s all uphill from here” represents how it will only get more stressful and intensive in high school life.


See Me Now by Little Mix, Salute

See Me Now is an uplifting song also talking about overcoming obstacles after failing or being discouraged. It starts out with this verse: I feel the rain on my skin, wash away all the pain I was in. I see the sun in the sky, no longer know how it feels to cry. This verse means now the main character is free from all the pain and misery that they were once in, and the song continues to say how it’s their time to shine (Somebody turn out the light, ’cause right now must be my time to shine). This song also has a reminisce feel to it, when the verse says “They said I couldn’t, they told me that I wouldn’t but if they could see me now. They’d see I’m something, that I’m not scared of nothing and the world will hear me shout“. So this song inspired many to keep fighting, until you are no longer afraid. (Drop me in the ocean, I’ll swim. Put me in the lions, I’ll roar. There’s a survivor within, so much stronger than I was before).

I chose this song because it illustrates the change I’ve been through since 7th grade until now. Before, people told me I couldn’t do this, or I can’t do that, and I believed them. I agreed with them and let them drag me down, and that was my mistake. Learning from my flaws, I didn’t let that happen in 8th grade, and the change I’ve been through has been roughly illustrated by this song, See Me Now. 


See You Again by Wiz Khalifa (feat Charlie Puth), Furious 7: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Even when this popular hit was dedicated to Furious 7 actor Paul Walker, See You Again is also a nostalgic song about friendship. Described to have a sense of longing and sadness but also uplifting as well, this song not only talks about the mourning of a lost friend, but can also be about someone you’ll miss but have hopes in seeing again (We’ve come a long way, from where we began. Oh, I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again). It beautifully illustrates the power of friendships and how they are never truly lost when someone dies (Everything I went through you were standing there by my side, and now you gon’ be with me for the last ride). There is a hopeful and yearning tone that leaves the audience on a huge cliffhanger.

I chose this song as because in the end of 8th grade, many people are leaving and there are many farewells that we ought to bid. So when I was thinking about these departures, I thought of the wistful yet hopeful melodies of this song. I thought of all the friends that had come with us for so long, and how these friendships had to be worn thin over distance (A friendship turn to a bond, and that bond will never be broken, the love will never get lost). As our journey ends, this song can be the “bond that will never be broken” in our friendships.


Album Cover:

Grade 8 Reflection Album

Full Playlist: 

Unit 3: Painting with Collage

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Describe the elements of your collage and what relationships you have created through your images.
There are only two elements of my collage, which is the umbrella and the picture of me. The umbrella is placed over me so that it shields me from the “rain” on the upper portion of the painting. This makes sense because umbrellas are used to cover someone from the rain. In the picture of myself, I’m seen looking up at the umbrella, seemingly aware that it’s sheltering me from all the downpour.
How have you used the techniques of juxtaposition, dislocation, and or transformation.  Use specific examples from your work.

In the painting, the upper half is supposed to represent a rainy, dark night sort of feel, while the lower half is representing the bright, sunny day. It’s almost paradoxical how it can be rainy at the same time sunny, and how it can be dark while it can be bright. Again, the placement between day and night is a dislocation because they are not often seen together in one same painting and still make sense. The umbrella is also a transformation (though not that obvious) that it becomes not only as a shelter, but also as a border and separation between the two portions of this painting.

Describe your painting technique by explaining your process (what you used and how you painted)

I mostly used the drip effect in this painting to show the rain. For most of the time, I tried to mix a lot of water into the paint so that it would be easier to run, and also so I get the thin, watery effect. In order to stop the paint from dripping down to the part below the umbrella, I used masking tape to cover the umbrella so that the paint wouldn’t run down to the bottom before I caught it with a tissue. For the bottom part, I used a sponge to dab the paint on there to get that cloudy gradient look, and I tried to use as much contrasting (to the upper part) colours as possible.
What areas of your work are you most proud of?

I think I’m most proud of the upper section, where I had that drip effect along with the depressing mood using the colours. I’m also proud that I managed to get the depth in the upper section using different shades of blue and black. This also created a cave effect where it looks like you’re peering into a cave because the darkest colours are on the outside.
What areas of your work needs improvement?

I think I could improve making the lower section more like daytime instead of just bright, neon colours that simply contrast with dark colours on the top section. I could also improve on blending the collage pictures into the painting instead of having it isolated and looking like it was cut out and pasted.
What is the overall theme or message of your work? Please explain the impact of specific collage photos, colour choice, and technique in painting or use of collage.

The main message of this painting was to show how the world I live in is so enclosed and unexposed compared to the real world. The upper portion represents all the suffering and real pain out there in the world, and the umbrella represents the Hong Kong community I live in, since the Umbrella Revolution could be a symbol of Hong Kong. The lower portion, with the bright and sunny colours, represents the happy and perfect community I currently live in. For the upper section, I chose dark colours such as dark blue and black because dark blue generally represents depression, sadness, or depth. Black usually represents darkness, pain, death, and negativity, and the meaning of these two combined can represent the darker side of our world, with all the pain and suffering that most of us do not see. For the lower section, I used light colours such as yellow to show the happier and innocent society I live in. The umbrella is also corresponding to the two sides, with the ‘outside’ part being black and connected to the upper sections’ dark colours, and the ‘inner’ part being a picture of the blue sky, related to the bright colours of the lower part. This painting was meant to show how the innocent and pure Hong Kong community that I live in shields me from the real suffering of this world, denoted by the dripping ‘rain’, and the proportions of the upper section shows how rare these pure communities are compared to the suffering communities. On the other hand, the fact that I am looking up towards the rain shows how I am aware of the suffering, but have not yet experienced it yet.

SML Reflection

On the top: my research document. Click here to visit the page.

Below: These are just a few of the sketches and blueprints I made for this project.

Blueprint of the Simple Model

Representation of the Magnetic Fields

Current Blueprint

Blueprint of the Electromagnetic Model

What is your topic and why did you choose it?

I chose to make a model of the maglev (magnetic levitation) train. I chose it because recently I went to Shanghai and I saw the maglev train, so I was inspired to discover how the train levitates and works. I’ve always wondered how the concept of magnetism and electricity works, so when I saw the maglev, I seized it as an opportunity to learn about both. 

Describe your experience so far: What challenges have you faced? Did you overcome those challenges?

There were many challenges I faced so far. When I first began planning and researching about the maglev, I thought that I could be able to build a simple model first and then move on to do the electromagnetic one, possibly even attempting the superconducting train. But when I gathered my materials, I realised that I couldn’t even get past step one, which was to build the simple model. The reason was because I bought the type of magnets that are really strong yet physically weak. Whenever I let two magnets sit alone with a reasonable distance from each other, the two would fly towards each other, and when this happened too many times, the magnets themselves would crack under the impact of the collision. I also couldn’t manage to get the train to float without having the train flip or detach from it’s magnets. 

I recently managed to overcome this challenge by making a simple one track with a vertical train. Previously, I had made the train run on two tracks and had the train be horizontal, but with the vertical train, it’s harder to flip. Now, after making a simple vertical train model, I’ve moved on to adding some changes and improving the design.
Has your project changed since the beginning? If so, how?

My project has changed greatly. In the beginning, I thought that it could be possible for me to make a superconducting train, but now, it’s barely imaginable for me to even make a electromagnetic train. This changed after I realised how hard it was even to make a simple model.
What are you proud of so far?

I’m proud of my research and how much different plans I have if one design didn’t work. I researched many types of maglev trains and went in depth to understand how each part of the maglev works, and I’m proud of that accomplishment.
Do you feel creative when doing SML? If so, what are the conditions that help you to be creative?

I wouldn’t exactly use the term creative to describe SML. The only time I had to use some creativity in SML was thinking of my topic, but aside from that, SML to me more about resilience and time management.
Can you share any specific samples of your learning?

I learned a lot, including both informational and life knowledge. For example, I learned and researched a lot about superconductivity, understanding how at a certain cold temperature, a substance can react so dramatically to the cold temperature that it will expel all magnetic fields and stop showing any signs of electric resistance. I also learned not to be afraid to fail, because failure will only eliminate a few of the infinite possibilities and help bring you closer to success. I learned not to be afraid of failure, and to open my arms to help or support when failure seems taunting.
What have you learned about yourself as a learner? How do you learn best? Does the structure of SML help? Or is the structure frustrating for you?

For me, the frequent reflection questions about SML only frustrates and stresses me. This is because the questions asking about what have you learned or what have you done in SML will only force you to think of answers, and this is not my idea of creativity. Creativity to me is the freedom to think out of the box, without restrictions and boundaries. Creativity is the exploration of unknown ideas that do not require constant progress reports and reflections. 

Unit 2: Personal Heroes

Final PortraitOriginal Picture

Why did you choose this person to draw? What impact have they had on your life?

This is my sister, and I chose her because to me she was my closest friend and the person who understands me the most. At the same time, she’s also my biggest competitor and my biggest discourager, but in a way that’s good. Throughout my entire life living with her, she’s made me the person who I am, inspired me to keep going and fed me ideas whenever I ran out. Her competition towards me is the biggest reason why I strive to do my best, and her discouragements only make me want to do better than I can, on which I am thankful for because she has shaped me into who I am. She’s really been the one person that I can turn to each night and talk freely without judgement, and she inspires me in a way that she is my role model because she has accomplished almost all that I wish to accomplish.

How has drawing this person affected your admiration or respect for this person?  (Do you have a greater admiration or respect after drawing? Do you feel like you know more about this person i.e. facial features you never noticed before?)

I don’t have any specific change in admiration or respect to her after drawing her, mostly because I study her face every day, night, and morning.

Explain what allowed you to achieve success in your drawing?

For most of the time, I asked some experts for help or I simply stepped back and critiqued my work, seeing where things could be better. Every so often I would just stop, drop my pencil, and hold it from a distance next to the original and see what changes can be made. This way, I am editing and revising my work along the way, although that might take a lot of time.

What did using the grid transfer method allow you to do? Name 3 important uses

First, it helped me get the exact proportions and where exactly was a facial feature, e.g where the nose was. Second of all, it helped me grasp the size of a particular features, for example, I would use the grid to see and calculate how big her mouth should be or where her eye slants. The grid transfer method also allowed me to make sure my picture wasn’t slanted in any unusual way, because I have a tendency to draw slanted and the grid helps me straighten my drawings.

What areas of your drawing could have been improved?  

I think the biggest part I could improve is the mouth. To me, I had the most challenge with the mouth because I couldn’t find a way to make the teeth and lips realistic. In addition, it was hard to draw her teeth because they were slanted and sort of crooked, and I tried many times to draw it, but I feel like I still could do better. I also could’ve done better on making the portrait seem more 3D, because the drawing seems a bit flat and cartoon. I could especially improve on the shading for the skin and the hair.

MINP March #2: Equity and Exploitation

Prompt: Choose a theme from Animal Farm and do an analysis on it.

Book: Animal Farm  by George Orwell

This is a theme analysis on the book Animal Farm. The two themes I focused on were whether people were treated equally in society, and how power corrupts one. The brainframe linked below can explain a bit about the themes, and the essay was a previous class assignment that also explains in words the analysis of the themes. Embedded below is a Visme slideshow explaining further in depth about the analysis of the themes.


MINP #2 – Animal Farm Theme Analysis – Brainframe

MINP #2 – Animal Farm Theme Analysis – Essay (optional)

So I hope you took away not only an analysis of the themes in Animal Farm, but also what this could mean to us. Learning from these animals mistakes could help our world eliminate some problems such as gender inequality. We should learn from Animal Farm that there is no flawless equality, yet we shouldn’t stop trying. We should also learn that power does not equal happiness, and it doesn’t benefit in any way, but rather corrupts and changes us. If we let books like Animal Farm teach us their morals, maybe mistakes like the Russian Revolution wouldn’t have happened.


Orwell, George. Animal Farm. New York: Knopf, 1993. Print.

Shmoop Editorial Team. “Animal Farm Theme of Power: Leadership and Corruption.”Shmoop. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 22 Mar. 2016.

Editors, SparkNotes. “Themes, Motifs & Symbols.” SparkNotes. SparkNotes, 13 Oct. 2013. Web. 22 Mar. 2016.

Hillegass, Clifton Keith. “Animal Farm.” Major Themes. Cliffnotes, 19 August 2009. Web. 22 Mar. 2016.


Unit 3: Photography Themes

Photography Themes - Childhood

Photography Themes - Teen

Photography Themes - Adulthood

What was the theme for your photographic series?

Childhood and adulthood

How have you chosen to represent your theme through your photos? Share about your subject matter, scene, and camera settings.

We represented our theme through the three stages of life: childhood, teenage years, and adulthood. In the first photo, childhood, the white background represents purity and innocence. When we were taking the first picture, we used slow shutter speed to allow more light and make it brighter. The subject is hugging the stuffed toy and her hair is in pigtails, showing how children are generally playful and innocent. Then we put filters on it to let it show more colour and represent the jubilant, innocent years of childhood through the yellow tint.

The second picture shows the subject letting go of the stuffed toy, showing how in the teenage years, the innocence is peeling away. It also shows how in teenage years, you abandon your childhood in search for identity and adulthood. The grey background represents the transition between childhood and adulthood. For this picture, we used slow shutter to get a bit more light (the setting was really dark), and so that’s why the stuffed toy is blurred in motion. We also put adjusted the colour level so that there’s less colour on this, but not yet black and white. This represents how the colour (innocence) is ‘leaking’ away during the teenage years.

The last picture shows the subject looking back at the stuffed toy in a nostalgic, reminiscing way. It shows how sometimes in adulthood, ignorance is a bliss and childhood seems like it would be better than adulthood. The black background represents the contrast between adulthood and childhood, and how much a person can change from being a child to an adult. For this picture, we used low shutter speed and shone a light at the subject to get the contrast. We put filters on this to make the photo have a blue hue because blue represents sadness, and black and white to show the lack of colour (innocence).

How did you use compositional rules in your final work?

Most of the pictures use the Rule of Space and Rule of Thirds. The second photo also uses vertical and horizontal lines.

Is your work “original”? Why or why not?

I think our work is “original” because we showed childhood and adulthood with not only how the subject reacts to a stuffed toy, but also with colours as well. Most childhood/adulthood themed photos are pictures of children recreated by adults, with the same posture, expression and background. Here, our childhood/adulthood themed photos is a series of reactions to an object throughout life, instead of a recreation of another photo.

Evaluate your photographic series.  How effective is your series in conveying your theme? What would you change?

I think our photographic series is relatively effective in conveying our theme because it shows the transition between a child and an adult. I think it’s also effective in conveying the theme because when one looks at the first photo, they don’t think of life or death, but they think of something related to childhood.  Also, the teddy bear is can easily be related to childhood/adulthood instead of other themes. Lastly, the colour exposure difference causes different moods for each one. The first emits a happy jibe, while the second one is more faded. The last photo would make one feel wistful, and these colour changes show the difference between childhood and adulthood. I would change the person/model in each picture to be same, showing the same person aging throughout their life, portraying childhood and adulthood.

Explain what your role was in the group work?

I was mostly the photographer and also the editor of my photos. My partner would be the model and the prop setter, and I would be the one behind the camera, changing the shutter and aperture settings.


MINP March #1: Wasted Talent

Prompt: Choose a character from Animal Farm and do a character analysis on them.

Book: Animal Farm  by George Orwell

This is a character analysis of Squealer, a character in George Orwell’s Animal Farm. The category mind map below explains the different characteristics of Squealer and some supporting text evidence. Since Animal Farm is an allegory for the Russian Revolution, Squealer represents the propaganda that Joseph Stalin used against the public. Squealer can also represent Vyacheslav Molotov, a close associate and protege of Stalin in the Russian Revolution.


MINP March #1 – Brain Frame – Character Analysis – Squealer

MINP March #1 – Character Analysis – Squealer

I hope you took away not only a character analysis of Squealer, but also a chance to learn from others’ mistakes. Squealer is an example of a brilliant, talented individual who used their talent in the wrong way.  If we learn from Squealer’s mistakes, if we learn to think about the consequences before acting, if we learn to think deeper and more meaningful, then maybe a mistake like the Russian Revolution wouldn’t have happened. As an anonymous person said, “mistakes are meant for learning, not repeating.”


Orwell, George. Animal Farm. New York: Knopf, 1993. Print.

Hillegass, Clifton Keith. “Animal Farm.” Squealer. Cliffnotes, 5 June 2010. Web. 01 Mar. 2016.

Shmoop Editorial Team. “Squealer (a pig) in Animal Farm.” Shmoop. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 2 Mar. 2016.

Lorentzium. “Analysis of Squealer from “Animal Farm” by George Orwell.” Analysis of Squealer from “Animal Farm” by George Orwell. EssayForum, 21 Feb. 2008. Web. 01 Mar. 2016.

Scott, Ed. “How to Write a Character Analysis.”, 8 Aug. 2012. Web. 01 Mar. 2016.

Unit 3: Photography – Summative Photo Task 2 (Action)

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2) Without doing any research, what do you think is the story behind this photo? Explain in one sentence.

A man is running towards his family in desperation because of the natural disasters that have taken over.

3) Research by doing a Google image search (drag+drop image into Google Images search bar) and find the real story behind this photo.  Add a brief description about this real story to your post and make sure you cite the source (easybib).

This image was taken from the documentary, Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Impassioned Eye, which is a documentary focused on Cartier-Bresson’s life. Cartier-Bresson was a French photographer who was considered one of the most important of the 20th century. Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Impassioned Eye documents Cartier-Bresson’s stunning photography, from the photo of Gandhi before he was assassinated to the moment Mao ZeDong’s army marched on Peking. This particular photo was taken in Gare Saint Lazare, Paris, France in 1932. Cartier-Bresson named it Derriere la Gare Saint-Lazare, meaning ‘Behind the Gare Saint-Lazare’ in French. This picture depicts a puddle jumper, which was cliche back in the 1930s, but New York Times recalls that “Cartier-Bresson brings to his image layer on layer of fresh and uncanny detail: the figure of a leaping dancer on a pair of posters on a wall behind the man mirrors him and his reflection in the water; the rippling circles made by the ladder echo circular bands of discarded metal debris; another poster, advertising a performer named Railowsky, puns with the railway station and the ladder, which, flat, resembles a railroad track.”280cf538-307d-418e-99f0-b385af1ea39c


4) Take 1 action photograph of your partner and upload to your site (for freezing motion use “Shutter” mode). Respond to the following:

  • What compositional rules did you apply?

Rule of space, rule of thirds, horizontal and vertical lines

  • What story/message/mood are you trying to convey through your photographs? How did you accomplish this?

The general theme or mood is happiness and hope. Here, the background blurs and only focuses on the person running, her face cracking with a smile. The distant brightness in the horizon represents how her world is bright and happy, and her black dress and black shoes represent the worries and fears she’s carrying. So this scene shows her forgetting all her worries, with the background blurred and running along side the light of happiness.

  • What do you think are the 3 most important elements in creating the portrait photograph? (person’s expression, background, lighting, proportions of frame, etc.)

Lighting – it contributes to the mood and colour of the photo

Background – blurring the background but not the subject can cause a speed effect that shutter mode cannot create.

Space – Putting the subject in the centre of the photo or the side can create the same effect that rule of space gives.

Unit 3: Photography – Summative Photo Task 1 (Portrait)

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2) Without doing any research, what do you think is the story behind this photo? Explain in one sentence.

This girl has been so exposed to violence and horror that she is afraid even in front of the camera.

3) Add a brief description about this real story to your post and make sure you cite the source.

This is a portrait photo taken by Steve McCurry, depicting a young girl known as the ‘Afghan Girl’, for nobody truly knew her identity. This portrait became world known after it became National Geographic’s June 1985 magazine cover, attracting attention with the girl’s haunting, hollowed sea green eyes. This girl, later identified as Sharbat Gula, is an Afghan woman who was living as a refugee in Pakistan when the Soviet Union bombed Afghanistan. When she was six, her parents were killed during the Soviet Union’s bombing in Afghanistan, leaving her wandering across the mountains to Pakistan’s refugee camp with her siblings. Her brother has said that Sharbat “has never known a happy day, except perhaps the day of her marriage”.

Citations: Newman, Cathy. “A Life Revealed.” National Geographic Magazine. National Geographic, 27 Apr. 2002. Web. 16 Feb. 2016.

Summative Portrait

4) Take 1 portrait photograph of your partner and upload to your site (for light/shadow work use “Shutter” mode). Respond to the following:

  • What compositional rules did you apply?

Vertical lines and rule of space

  • What story/message/mood are you trying to convey through your photographs? How did you accomplish this?

I was trying to spread the message that some people in this world haven’t seen the truth yet, which can be discovered through education. Most people only get a sliver of it, and most of the time, when they see the truth, they either pretend they don’t see it or look down and see the negative aspects of the truth. The truth is shown here as the beam of light on the face, and the eyes looking down represent the person ignoring or looking away from the light, not fully accepting the ultimate truth. Once we humans turn down or refuse to accept the truth, we start to find ways to lie, cheat, and turn our backs away from the truth. We start to see manipulate, exploit, run away from the truth, when it’s clearly known that the truth is always there. That’s why we should embrace the truth and spread it’s word, no matter how painful it is to look into the light.

  • What do you think are the 3 most important elements in creating the portrait photograph? (person’s expression, background, lighting, proportions of frame, etc.)

– Lighting

Whatever the light focuses on is what the onlooker or the audience immediately sees. Lighting highlights what the viewer is supposed to see, and is naturally the most eye catching part of the photo. Lighting can also affect mood; for example, when it’s bright the lighting creates a naturally happier mood. When the lighting is dark, the mood is sadder or darker.

– Person’s expression (eye contact)

Eyes can tell a hundred times better than the actual facial expressions. An example is the Afghan Girl, who’s eyes are challenging and alert. Eyes can tell whether you are sad, happy, angry, wary, shameful etc. They express our feelings without having to do much.

– Colour

Colour affects a lot about the mood. Brighter colours, such as yellow, red, orange, give off a happy vibe. In contrast, bluer colours such as purple, blue, grey, give a negative and relatively sad feeling. Sometimes photoshopping your photo so that only one part of the portrait, for example the eyes, has colour can give a very powerful effect to your photo, especially when the eyes tell a story.