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Monthly Archives: October 2010

The last subject in the pool is an image of which at first I thought as an advert image for lingerie, just another commercial fashion photo.

Sourced from: [accessed 24 September 2010] [Blackboard]

However, after attending most groups’ discussions, I got to know more about Corinne Day in her interview quoted in Joshua’s blog. While I was not very happy with some of Sally Mann’s set-up photos of kids, I can see bits of me myself and agree here and there with  Corinne Day in a very personal and emotional way.

I get my ideas anywhere, at any time; I don’t have to be specifically doing anything. I keep a diary at home and make notes of any thoughts I have, and then when a job comes up, I see if there’s anything in it that applies. I’m a workaholic, and I’m quite driven. I can’t switch off. Even when I was on holiday recently, I wanted to get away from taking photographs and just go somewhere else in my mind. I wouldn’t take my camera out with me, but I would still see pictures all the time and think: ‘Oh god, I wish I had brought my camera.’

People can be very inspiring – they can make you see that there’s a life beyond what you’ve learnt at school. When I was 12, my grandmother knew a painter who was friends with Modigliani and Picasso. I used to be painted by her and she would talk to me about art and imagery, and I think that was my first introduction to the creative mind.

I guess you must learn to be creative. I learnt photography when I picked up my first camera at 19. I started by taking photographs of my boyfriend and then my girlfriends. I have a very distinctive taste for the things I like to photograph, and that’s a very solitary creativity, in a way. I’ve always known what I’ve liked and I’ve always gone in the opposite direction of everyone else. I get bored easily of seeing the same thing over and over.

A very big source of inspiration for me is music – it brings atmospheres alive. I really believe you have to have time off to be creative, which is why I don’t have a darkroom. If I did have one, I’d spend my whole life revolving around photography, and then I wouldn’t get any inspiration to take pictures. I wouldn’t say that documentary photography is more creative than fashion photography, it’s just that documentary photography is more important for me because it’s something I’ve lived. It’s much more deep. Whereas when you’re creating an image, you’re just using your imagination, so it’s not so emotional.

– By Kate Mikhail. Creativity: Corinne Day. The Observer. Sunday 22nd September 2002 [Accessed on 25. 10. 2010]

I started to take pictures as photography in 2007 when I was 19. I took hundreds of photos of my little cousin and my grandma’s countryside natural scenes with a borrowed camera from a close friend back then. I newly get a humble first camera for myself using the rest of my saved up Vietnam Dong before leaving for London before I turned 22. Comparing to Sally Mann who got her first camera from her dad while I haven’t talked with my dad for several years because of continous domestic violence, I find more connections with Corinne Day, personally speaking. Above and besides those things, the key word/ thing is ‘documentary’ – it has been the reason why I have been taking photos and filming places and people – to record Real life, to keep Real memories, Real motions stay, as Real as I can take them, a bit longer.

Transferred to the course two weeks late, get access to the subject pool one more week late, despite all that I couldn’t help myself from being picky as usual. I went through almost all the subjects once and think about them all for two weeks before making the final decision to stick with Corinne Day’s photo from Today – I want to study about what I actually am fond of and have some kind of connections with. That means I have almost only one month left for everything, adding continous accomodation changes, I am afraid I won’t be able finish the research the way I want it to be. However, I would continue researching about Corinne Day whenever time permits.

I am also pleased that I have finally made up my mind to study about works of an English person, now that I am stuyding in London, England.

It was not ‘love at first sight’ but now Corinne Day’s photo ‘Georgina, Brixton’ and I end up together in this critical and research practice blog. Below are the very first notes I wrote down after first seeing the photo two weeks ago:

– nice body

– bare dirty feet

– what is she looking at?

– where is that room?

– why black sofa?

– why is she in lingerie?

– with the wire and the sofa, is that a living room?

– dirty floor

– was the color of the photo photoshopped? did the carpet and the lingerie actually have similar colors?


1. Sally Mann. Immediate Family. Borrowed October 19th – Novem ber 3rd 2010.

2. Sally Mann. At twelve.  Borrowed October 19th – November 3rd 2010.

I was quite surprised to learn that Sally Mann is the actual mother of the three kids in her photo ‘Emmett, Jessie, and Virginia’. From my first impression, and still now when looking at the photo, the kids look quite distance towards the camera where the photographer, who is their actual mother, is. Maybe the photo is not natural but set up, like many other family photos by Sally Mann.

For me, the beauty of kids and babies are their natural innocence and innocent nature. I myself do take countless photos of kids and babies and I would never feel comfortable to let myself to ask the kids to pose in a certain way to convey my ideas. Actually I did that once. And those photos are not as valuable to me as the natural ones.

Looking back at my notes on October 11th when I first got to know the subject pool, I found out the subject I questioned the most was actually ‘Emmett, Jessie, and Virginia’ by Sally Mann.

Sourced from: [accessed 24 September 2010] [Blackboard]

First impressions (notes on October 11th 2010)

– are they two girls or one girl and two boys? all bare chests

– the youngest one (a girl?)  looks bold with her nose in the air and hands on her hip

– the older guy looks suspicious with deep eyes, arms crossed on his chest –  protective/ more mature? nice bracelets. is he frowning a little bit with his lower lip curled down a bit?  more relaxed way of standing lowering one side of his body

– a bit younger guy (turned out she’s a girl) looks worried, a bit sad, questioning eyes, two arms folded in front of the chest – more protective, one hand grabs firmly to the other’s arm. is she scared of something?

– blur image behind of the road, trees – why?

* different ages, expressions, boldness/ security/ maturity/ protectiveness towards the photographer, who is a stranger?

– Emma: bold, chest upward, open, direct and upfront look, face, eyes, chin, chest, attitude

– Jessie: calm, deep and far and considerate look, thinking, reasoning, quite relaxed. a bit protective

– Virginia: scared & worried -> very protective, wondering/ questioning eyes

* Questions:

– why black and white? (1989?)

– where is that?

– who are they?

– what is the relationship between the photographer and the kids?

For one week looking up for information about Godard and his works and films, including Week-end (1967), I have realized how broad it is. Godard might not be a huge director  but he is a big one. There are many books to read and movies to watch when studying about him. For a perfectionist like me, one month and a half will not be enough to study thoroughly about Goddard with a long list of movies made and works done along his long life

Furthermore, I stopped from first part, then the middle while watching ‘Week-end’. It turned out I wasn’t fond of the movie enough to finish watching it…

There are also notes about the rest of the subject pool after I watched and looked at them that I haven’t mentioned in the first post of First Impressions. Subjects I don’t pick up to study about, there are reasons.

As for the Honda advert, ‘Cog’ (2003) director Bardou – Jacquet, A. (for Wieden+Kennedy UK agency), this is not the first time I know about  it but few months ago from a friend who is making robots.

Still, I watched it again with the same interest and it can be stated as a  ‘cool’ advert.  The feeling comes up as quite similar as when watching the traffic jam scene of Godard. Viewers are intrigued to the screen when watching this ‘Cog’ advert, to see where it goes to in the end. For such technical and mechanical subjects, the advert, however, moved smoothly imitating a ‘domino effect’ of   small details that end up building up…a car. If it were a bicyle, I might have chosen this subject. Personally I don’t want to spend time and effort studying about an advert that aims to make more people to consume cars that, more or less, cause pollutions.

The title scene of  ‘The Conversation’ (1974) Directed Coppola with the camera from high above approaching closer and closer to the ground where people are walking and having different activities then zoomed to a clown…

If I had more time, I would like to watch the movie (and I will later on). Then I might change my mind after that, just like what happened to ‘Week-End’. However from the first impression, the scene uses a quite familiar way of getting to an object that made me pay attention to…another subject in the pool: Photographer unknown, depicting Lynndie England and colleague image.

Sourced from: [accessed 24 September 2010] [Blackboard]

I found it more special when during the class discussion, I knew that they are soldiers and lovers – they look more like friends in this photo to me though. In my first notes after looking at this photo I wrote: who? what? when? where? how? why? Many small questions but not much enthusiasm with this photo so I passed it…

(to be continued)


IMDb > Week End (1967)

Plot Summary

A supposedly idyllic weekend trip to the countryside turns into a never-ending nightmare of traffic jams, revolution, cannibalism and murder as French bourgeois society starts to collapse under the weight of its own consumer preoccupations Written by Michael Brooke <>

A unlucky married couple, that tries to kill each other, wants to travel to the countryside, but due to behaviour of all the people with travel becomes a nightmare full of accidents, terrorism and civil war. Written by Stephan Eichenberg <>

Director: Jean-Luc Godard

Genres: Comedy | Drama


Country: France | Italy

Language: French

Release Date: 5 July 1968 (UK) See more »

Also Known As: Le week-end See more »

Filming Locations: Paris, France

Budget: $250,000 (estimated)

Technical Specs

Runtime: 105 min

Sound Mix: Mono

Color: Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio: 1.66 : 1

Trivia: Premiere voted this movie as one of “The 25 Most Dangerous Movies”.

Connections: Referenced in Film Geek (2005) See more »


Memorable quotes
Joesph Balsam: I am here to inform these modern times of the grammatical era’s end and the beginning of flamboyance especially in cinema.
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Corinne: Didn’t you heard what he said? Marx says we’re all brothers!
Roland: Marx didn’t said that. Some other communist said that. Jesus said that.
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Roland: What a rotten film. All we meet are crazy people.
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Saint-Just: [in the midst of a bourgeois’ car collision] From French Revolutions to Gaullist weekends, freedom is violence.
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Corinne: This isn’t a novel, this is a film. A film is life.
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Corinne: It’s rotten of us, isn’t it? We’ve no right to burn even a philosopher.
Joesph Balsam: Can’t you see they’re only imaginary characters?
Corinne: Why is she crying, then?
Joesph Balsam: No idea. Let’s go.
Corinne: We’re little more than that ourselves.
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Woman in Car: Are you in a film or in reality?
Joesph Balsam: In a film.
Man in Car: In a film? You lie too much.

accessed on October 18th 2010

– Brody, Richard. Everything is cinema, 2008.  Borrowed October 14th – 27th 2010

– Godard, Jean Luc. Jean-Luc Godard, 1998. Borrowed October 19th – 27th 2010

– Godard, Jean Luc. Masculine feminine 1930 – 1969. Borrowed October 14th – 27th 2010

Today I get access to the Subject Pool for Research and Critical Practice on Blackboard.

Having looked through all the subjects, I picked out the traffic jam scene from Week-End (1967) directed by Godard, whose name already sounds familiar to my ears and eyes, though this is not the reason why.

The seemingly annoying seven minutes traffic jam scene, of nonstop same same but different cars and their owners trying to kill the waiting time, stimulates my curiosity to question what happens next in the film. Watching the scene without sound again and pause it once in a while to look into details of each scene, I noted down nearly four A5 pages scripting the characters and actions and events in the seven interesting minutes scene, added my questions and notes about

– an adult and a kid from different cars throwing ball

– an upside down car on one side and kids walking on the other side of the road on the grass under the trees while men are arguing

– monkeys and goat on the farmer’s car? does white car mean higher class?

– is the couple standing? their scene starts with the time notice of 13H40 then stops at 14H10 – that’s 30 minutes of a couple talking closely and a single woman standing close by, alone – contrast of intimate companions and singularity?

– a red glossy car with grey luggages on top argued with the passing by car and continuing arguments from other people to the passing car

– people sitting on the grassm man reading book, women talking

– a girl turns around towards the road (where -the camera was) where the car passing by – very natural

– is the big yellow van one of the sponsors for the movie?

– another upside down car – accident?

– a loving couple playing chess, waving friendly telling them to keep passing by? enjoying playing chess with each other

– two man playing chess at the front of their car then shout and kick at the topless moving car – interact with the passing by car while doing their own activities

– a Boat! a big white boar dragged by a car

– continous arguments and shouting etc. towards the passing by car of the couple

– cars that queue move little by little one after another – like a domino effect

– a guy jus tpeed at the tree zipping his pants – scolding at the couple

– a guy fixing the front of his car

– another group of kids walking on the grass

– someone lying on the grass? the red blood? yes. an accident…half body on this side, policeman, petrol, blood, people lying dying on the grass, half body, one being covered by the black coat man, a kid – bloody injured legs…the car passes by quickly over that scene – the coupld didn’t even look at all that…

– another car of the accident, a man and a woman lying…

– end of the car line. the black car turns right – camera follows…cropped light huge endless brown fields

This scene reminds me of the endless line (of, mostly, girls and women) queuing up at Primark waiting for the fitting room and cashier during the weekends now in London. It’s always crowded like a festival, but instead of culture events, there are people and people, trying to fit ourselves among clothes, and clothes. Modernisation, cars, traffic jam, shops, shopping…jam,  materialistic life, endless lines. Similarities? I guess yes.