‘You have to believe in magic and miracles more than photography’

Creating atmospheric and stylish images is not that much of a problem anymore for us Fashion & Visual Culture students. Creating a meaningful sequence of images, however, formed quite a challenge…


Visual Culture can be a lot of fun.

In order to tell the story behind a Fashion Designer in a meaningful sequence of 3-5 images, we were made aware of the Kuleshov effect. This theory of leaving images out in a way that the viewer can fill up the gaps in their mind by relating the shown images to each other, is most prevalent in movie editing and comic books.

My inexhaustible source of inspiration, the surrealist Designer Elsa Schiaparelli, achieved her greatest creative successes almost 100 years ago. However, the melancholic reason why Schiaparelli became a fashion designer – she was obsessed with metamorphosis and masquerade because she loathed her body – still speaks to us today. While doing research on the shape shifting gods in mythology, the butterfly as archetype of metamorphosis and Schiaparelli’s favourite Picasso painting Birds in Cage, images immediately started to form in my head.

‘Work from your intuition, experiment a lot and have fun’ are tips us Visual Culture students should take to heart. That’s easier said than done. I often found myself in situations that I thought ‘What on earth am I doing?’ I have now learnt it’s very important to not give up during these insecurity attacks. My model was not particularly happy to get a waxing treatment with double-sided feather tape. Nor were my flat mates when I spilled egg yellow all over the living room. I also ended up at places I would probably never have set a foot if it wasn’t for the Visual Culture programme, such as a speed course aerial yoga for instance.

My final sequence.

My final sequence.

Fashion Photographer Sarah Moon once said: ‘You have to believe in magic and miracles more than photography.’ When we looked at each other’s sequences, it’s fair to say that knowledge and skills played a role in the creation of the surprising and triggering images. However, we also learned that although theories such as the Kuleshov effect are extremely important tools, there isn’t a rational formula for creating a meaningful sequence. An open mind, inexhaustible dedication and a little favour from the gods of photography can sometimes be all you need.

Text and photos by Juliette Sijnja, 4th year International Fashion & Branding student.

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