“Parallels in the Differences” by Amanda Liew

Challenge #1: “Life in our moment”: Take approximately 4-6 photos of different hours of the day, 8am – 11am – 1pm – 5pm – 11pm, so we can see the progression of time as we are living it. It doesn’t need to be on the same day but a ‘day’ is what is to be perceived. 

Artist’s Statement
I often feel like I live two separate lives. One is embodied by the professional world where I am able to use a specific set of skills at my workplace. The other is embodied by the weekend life where I indulge in my freedom. Because both sides are a part of me and neither dominates, I chose to use diptychs to represent the equality between the two. While the contexts of each photograph are quite different, I chose to present the images with clear parallels. Thus, the photos represent that at the core of the two lives, there is still one person.

Amanda Liew
Find more of her work at: amandaliew.com

1 - Feet2 - Grid3 - Empty4 - Key
Critiques: At the end of every artist’s piece, we will be posting the critiques that other members of The Photograph Collective have written in response. These critiques are meant to encourage, challenge, and ultimately better each other as photographers. In the same fashion, we also invite our readers to share their thoughts of projects in the comments section below.

Stephen: Firstly, the lighting to each photo is really well thought out and gives a real sense of the time of motion. In your range I really liked the contrast when the photos were put together – but at the same time I felt it distracted for each image as they clashed a little. My favourite photo was ‘feet’ due to the comfort portrayed in the weekend shot; your weekend shots in fact were very comforting to look at!

Mary: I really liked the choice for pairing your photos, and also that the final photo is the joining of the two ‘lives’ that you lead.

Image 1: I think this was a great photo, and I almost think that if you were to have the photos stand individually, the left photo would suffice. The presence of two different types of living and the transition are really clearly represented with the photo you chose, but it doesn’t feel heavy-handed.

Image 2: I like that these photos have the relational aspect of both being things that are paralleled via use of the fingertips. I thought that was a clever way to draw a line between ‘work activities’ and ‘weekend activities.’

Image 3: I’m not crazy about the office hallway photo as it’s own image, but paired with the street, I don’t mind it. They work well together. I like the feeling of lateness and tiredness that these have together. I think the street photo really brings that out in the hallway photo. The tired feeling, though, I get is from the blurry look, particularly the left photo. It would be nice if the street photo had a similar level of fuzziness to it.

Image 4: I like the idea that this photo brings to the series—that these two lives are really one. They’re not dualities that exist separate from one another. They come together in the end.

I think that this series could emphasize the fact that these lives are intertwined by having an opening and closing image that is not a diptych. The shoes image is strong enough to stand alone. I think the series could benefit from another image of parallels. maybe a meal at the desk/cooking or out with friends in the daylight.

Jacquelyn: I really enjoyed looking at your photographs and thought that the diptych approach was a clever and unique way to illustrate your “double life.” The juxtaposition of your photos clearly revealed your daily work routine and your outlet when not working.

My favorite photo from your collection was your keyboard/guitar string diptych. While I immediately understood what the subject matters were, the two objects (especially the guitar strings) had an abstract feel and could easily have been other things (dried spaghetti?). The keys were a perfect ending to your collection, and I liked how this was a single photo, rather than diptych. To me, it symbolized you returning home from a long day, entering your personal space, and turning in for the night.

I have few suggestions to make, as I think you have a great set of related photos that go well with your artist’s statement. Something I thought would be interesting for viewers would be to photograph your last subject (the door) slightly ajar; depending on whether there is daylight coming out from inside your apartment or if it is pitch-black, this would leave me wondering what’s waiting for you next in this “day in your life.”

JessicaMy first emotion for your piece was intrigue. My favorite photo is the guitar, but I also really enjoyed the color coordination and composition of the feet diptych. I felt like the third diptych was not as strong because in comparison to the previous pairings, this one did not have as strong of a relationship between the two photos. Perhaps some editing such decreasing contrast and brightening of the image of the dark street would help it to better compliment the hallway image. The single picture at the end was creative. I enjoyed the range of techniques that are displayed within this project as a whole.

Christine:Hey! I love the contradiction you observe between your “two lives”. Creating two pieces that harmoniously work as one is a difficult challenge and I so appreciate that you tackled it. My favorite image is the key. I love that its micro and the focus is totally perfect. The high angle is dramatic, but feels really authentic. It speaks to a certain relief and simultaneous exhaustion – as if you were sitting on the floor. I think as a single image its most powerful.

Of the diptychs, the strongest was of the hallway and the street, while the weakest was of the feet (the two sets of shoes was a bit visually ambiguous). Keep an eye on your focus though, as a few images were a bit soft.

Conceptually, I liked the visual comparisons but some didn’t feel natural. Some didn’t feel like that was actually how you see your day but instead you retrospectively paired them together.

Technically I think you should try to work on your brightness/color balance in your images and cropping to make sure that lines are straight and the diptychs alight visually together. Especially when you pair two images, it heightens the differences so getting them as technically strong as possible will help them function as a single piece.

If you had a second bite at this apple, consider what you find yourself noticing throughout the day and try photographing it from that angle. I think using a diptych as your communication device was ambitious, and I appreciate that no one else went that route. The visual distinctions between the two worlds are pretty specific and its awesome that you tackled it. Can’t wait to see more work! :)

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3 thoughts on ““Parallels in the Differences” by Amanda Liew

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