Exercise 5.6: Photography re-made

Exercise 5.6: Photography re-made

This is my image shot for the project. Below I give more details of the image chosen from the web and an analysis of that photo.

In general the exercise illustrates the connectivity that in this case is between a family in Japan and a family in Europe.  These people below are my friends.

My image shot for project



Other images taken on the day as preparation for the main photo above

Japanese family taken from web

Heavily pixalated

Figure 1. Japanese family (unknown author and date/see bibliography)


After looking at a number of images I chose one that was a little more neutral as this image lends itself more easily to finding something similar where I live.

Analysis of this image:

  • Description: young couple with baby, presumably the parents.
  • Shot by the sea approximately 3 – 4 PM.
  • Relationship between them is obviously a nuclear family unit
  • Angle of view: frontal taken at close range with little foreground to mention. Probably shot with 50 – 85mm lens
  • Background view in second plane shows cliffs falling into the sea but the background seems fairly incidental.
  • There are three main focal points in the image, which are of the faces of each member of the family. The two adults stand out a little more than the face of the baby.
  • Mainly ambient light although there may be a mild burst of flash thrown into a white reflector. The faces are more lit from the right side with more shadow to the left
  • Genre of photo is documentary style

Further analysis of the image according to the exercise:

The expressions of the family are those typically found in a family photo of this kind. It is practically a staged photo. The Asian family has an expectation of viewing the family unit as happy and probably this is universal amongst group photos of this kind. The smile indicates or portrays that ‘we are well and happy’.

The interesting element is the homogeny of the dress in that the couple would appear to be like any typical western couple of the 21st century found in Europe or the United states. There is a sense in which the photos is portraying ‘look at us, we are a modern Japanese family’. That is to say we fit in with the globalised culture like many, without a great deal of distinction. The clothing and hairstyles are typically western styles, they show that they are youngish people, probably around early thirties. They are progressive, upwardly mobile people and as such very modern.

The fact that they are being photographed as a nuclear family is also curios. One can imagine that 30 years ago you would of not seen such a photo in a traditional culture like Japan whereby the expectation is that the woman, once married, becomes the carer of the parents of her spouse. This suggests to me that there is something of a liberation from the cultural norms as you would of expected perhaps to of seen the grandparents in the photo at least of the father. Maybe as well, you would of seen more members of the family, aunts, uncles etc.

Meaning of the image:

The meaning in the case of my image I would say is to do with portrayal of a particular situation in a particular state. That is to say the family unit in a sound state, happy and relaxed. The way that this comes across is in the facial expressions and the formality of the posing. The meaning is one of a symbol of social ‘okayness’ although in reality we know that each individual has his/her ups and downs and cannot always be depended on to be smiling and rejoicing. So there is certain cultural expectation that there needs to be seen to be happiness in this context under these conditions i.e. the family unit; wether or not that is actually the case.



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