Wednesday, November 20, 2013


This assignment always makes me think about this OMD song titled Secrets:

First, I would like to thank you for agreeing to participate in this assignment by sharing your secret. I appreciate the trust that you have given myself and your classmates.

For this assignment, you will create a series of 3-5 images in response to learning a classmate's secret through a random selection process.

Please do not try to determine whose secret you have drawn. Please respect their privacy. 

This assignment is primarily about empathy. Empathy is "the feeling that you understand and share another person's experiences and emotions." It is very easy to become consumed by our own life and issues. It is easy to be critical of others. In this assignment, you will try to relate to other people's issues rather than your own. In the process, you may discover that you have much more in common with each other than you may have realized.  

You can respond to the secret in anyway that you wish. You do not need to depict or re-enact the secret. You can interpret the secret very literally or very loosely. You might want to think of what situation led to the secret, how the secret changed their life, how they are living/dealing with the secret, what it would be like after the secret, etc. You may choose to think how you have dealt with a similar issue in your life or how you might deal with such an issue. You may think of what emotions or event may have led up to the secret.

Also, feel free to choose whatever sex you want for the characters. For example, let's say a hypothetical secret is "I am ashamed of how my girlfriend dresses." You could choose to take a series about living with a poorly dressed boyfriend.

Please take this assignment seriously with the belief that the secret you received is sincere. Please be respectful of one another. Remember, you don't know if they are sitting right next to you.

Please begin by reading this short NY Times article titled Fiction is An Exercise in Empathy. The author writes, "Reading fiction is and always was about learning to see the world through often quite alien perspectives." That is the challenge of this assignment.

What's Due:

Series of 3-5 Prints. If you feel you can tell your story in 3 images, then feel free to do so. If you need more images to do so, then make more. Let the story you want to tell dictate the number of prints to make.

These images are to form a narrative structure. The sequencing is important. Each should have some narrative threads that link it to the other images in the series. Ideally, each should work as an image unto itself. This is to say that it is a nice image even when viewed outside the context of the series.

You have full creative freedom with this assignment. You can work with black and white or color media. You can work with a process that you have already explored or try something completely new.
That being said, I suggest that you determine the process and technique after contemplating the secret for some time.

As this is your final assignment, I have very high expectations for the quality of work. The final critique for this assignment is your scheduled final exam session.

If you aren't familiar with PostSecret, you should check it out. It often comes up in the discussion of this assignment.

Below are a links to a number of former students work who completed this assignment. Please keep in mind that they completed the assignment in different courses. In particular, they were all in digital photography courses of varying levels with restricts on how they could edit the images. 

Hannah's series

Yang's series

April's series

Nick's series

Matt's series

Leila's series

Clyde's series

Emily's series

Ashley's series

Kyle's series

Alec's series

Liz's series

Victor's series

Kasia's series

Dyann's series

Rachel's series

Carly's series

Danny's series

David's series

Kelsey's series

Amelia's series

Jamie's series

Mark's series

Sara's series

Nizzi's series

Kristen's series

Eric's series


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