Individual Project (Model: Larissa Wang)

Source code on GitHub

During three years of life in Hong Kong, I have taken a large amount of photos of the streets here. As I gradually formed my own habits of composition and post-processing, I noticed a unique rhythm appearing across my photos. Vignetting effect, similar perspective, avoidance of obstructions... All these factors together defamiliarized my subjects from the reality in our eyes.

In this project, I further explored the rhythm in my photography works by deepening the sense of unfamiliarity through digital processing methods and creating a series of artistic images. Then, I imagined an installation that reconstructs my rhythm in reality and creates an experience that can perceive such unfamiliar familiarity.

I mainly focused on my photos of cheap stores and fruit stalls around Sham Shui Po and Mong Kok District. There are lots of shops and stalls selling cheap goods. Around dinner time every day, the streets are always chaotic and noisy as local people coming to have meals and buy stuffs are crowded with passing cars and stalls on the road.

On the contrary, the streets in my photos tend to be unusually deserted, since I often go for a walk there at later night. Combined with my habit of front-view shooting instead of our normal perspective, a sense of unfamiliarity was created contrasting the usually crowded streets that local people are familiar with.

To explore further the characteristics of the scenes I captured, I stacked the photos with similar composition together to bring in uncertainty as well as enhancing their similarity. Through this, an unrealistic world is created. It preserves lights, colors and tune from my photos, while elements including figures and stalls dissolve into them.

Then, I applied a series of operations to further defamiliarize the scenes. Inspired by the typical crowd and traffic flow in the streets, I tuned various movement and offset patterns with openFrameworks and applied them to the pixels to bring in dynamic. With optical flow algorithm, I captured the motions of the passingby pedestrians. They, together with pixel displacements, are translated into disturbances to the images including smear, distortion and flow field.

Last, I generated an installation based on the physical world at space in front of a store. I tried to convey the order and chaos from the previous experiments by filling the space with sequences of image fragments.