Mathilde-thesis outline

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A study on slice of life photography and conveying nostalgia


  • Slice of life: A realistic representation of everyday experience in art.
  • Nostalgia: A sentimental longing or wistful affection for a period in the past.

Slice of life artworks are snapshots of everyday life that are recognisable and almost universally relatable. I want to create a slice of life type analyzation that shows a relatable and nostalgic intensity in the dullness or excitement of every moment.

This thesis will be a study on intimacy, emotions and memories. While these three themes might seem broad topics in their own right; in this study they will be closely interlinked as emotions are an intimate part of the human experience and memories and the past have a big influence on ones emotions.

The result of this thesis will be photographs that look like nostalgic views on intimate moments - showing the moment in tidbits almost like staring at an intimate memory.

Chapter 1: Background

[direct the thesis around your own work; give an account of the work you did BEFORE PZI and the work you did LAST YEAR (chapter one). This will provide a context for the METHODS YOU INTEND adopting (chapter two) Chapter three can be OUTCOMES. Conclusion A slice of life: A realistic representation of everyday experience in art.]

Before PZI I already dabbled in cinematic style photographs; I wanted them to read like a movie scene, they however lacked narrative depth. During my first year at Lens Based, I strayed away from these stylised portraits and picked up analog photography. Analog photography helped me stray away from my strict method of shooting and adopt a more organic, carefree method that I ultimately used to get back into analog style shooting. I also did a lot of research in what I wanted to achieve narratively.


Chapter 2: Memories, Intimacy and a focus on style & composition

  • Memory: Something remembered from the past.

When a memory pops up in my head I experience it like a movie show reel, but it’s comprised of intimate and memorable details. This is why the focus of the work will be a combination of cinematic and analog styles. This chapter will therefore be dedicated to exploring these styles within my work, before I incorporate narrative depth.

I’m very interested in exploring movie old school Asian movie styles like Wong Kar Wai movies, I will be exploring this style primarily focussing on lighting and colour grading. What makes a photograph have that vintage cinematic look and what makes it have that analog style?

  • Intimacy: Closeness and vulnerability

While the last part of the chapter is already focussed partly on narrative by deconstructing cinematic and analog styles; this section will focus on a deeper understanding of what these compositions mean narratively - alone and combined.

The focus of this analysis will be on composition; how they can create an intensity in the image and/or convey a certain emotion or nostalgia. A way I want to create the elusive emotion in my work is to invite the viewer to partly interpret the work in a way that is shaped by their own life experiences. For this I will mostly be experimenting with close and intense compositions, giving an implication of what is happening but not entirely revealing the situation. These compositions will still be revealing an intimate and vulnerable subject, but only slightly so that the audience can fill in the blank spaces based on their own life and experiences.

Chapter 3: Emotions and a focus on narration

  • Narration: Generally any kind of explaining or telling of something.

Narration plays a big part in understanding what the artist is trying to convey and therefore a big part in conveying and provoking emotion in their audience. While film has moving images that tell a narrative, photography does not have that luxury.

This chapter will be a study on creating narrative while working with the limits of photography. Like I mentioned in chapter 1; a memory to me is a showreel comprised of intimate and memorable details. I want this to be the inspiration for the final narrative layout of my work.

I will do this by taking multiple intimate compositions of a moment and combining them to create a narrative story that the viewer can piece together in an (artificial) memory.

Conclusion: A slice of life - A realistic representation of everyday experience in art.

In the conclusion I hope to end with a deep understanding of style, composition and narration respectively in relation to intimacy, emotion and memories. Also being able to harmoniously combine these different aspects of photography in such a way that I am able to create a slice of life, nostalgia ridden artwork that becomes almost like a memory to the viewer.