Exercise: Symbols

The idea of this project is to find symbols for a number of concepts. List more than one symbol for each of the following subjects and add short notes saying how you might use them in a photograph.

The subjects are:-



– Large plant or shrub

– Height of a building standing proud of others around it e.g skyscraper

I’d use these in a photography by trying to capture a contrast with them, such as a smaller person stood with a large tree for example, or a huge tower stretching above a cityscape.



-  Fast car

– Bottle of alcohol

– Person eating junk food e.g a burger

– Lots of fatty foods/cakes/chocolate

– A night out in a town centre where there are lots of drinking/drunk people

I’d use these in a photograph by framing the image so that the actual part making it ‘excess’ such as the burger in a hand is the main subject and is eye-catching.



– Derelict building with broken windows

– Graffiti

As above I’d try and get a tighter crop on the actual subject, but being mindful to ensure that there was enough of the background to put the subject into context.



– Library

– Empty street

– Phone off the hook

The obvious thing for me when thinking of silence (apart from a Dr Who episode) was of a library. Also an empty street would be particularly evocative of silence. If you had access to a model, then you could place a gag over  a models mouth for a very obvious silence.

For silence to work as an image, I’d go a for a wider angle to get the whole scope in, aiming for as much in the frame as possible.



– Homeless person

– Big issue seller

– Evidence of sleeping rough

Poverty is the easiest topic to get very obvious imagery for, although poverty can strike in many different guises, you could presume someone shopping at a bargain food retailer might be suffering from poverty, or an old person struggling to heat their house. I’ve gone for the obvious choices here, with the homeless route as it will be very easy for a view to understand the imagery. I’d use a mixture of wide angle and close crop depending on if it was a person or a location that I was photographing.

Example image could be



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