This exercise asks you to consider and find symbols representing the five subjects listed below and go on to explain how you would use them in a photograph.  The difficulty with these subjects, as with many you are asked to interpret, in a photo is the avoidance of  cliché.  Similarly as with a lot of symbols there is the possibility of misinterpretation, so context comes into this.  If a photo is part of an article, the “leap” to identifying the symbolism is that much easier for the viewer .


A bud maybe against a wooden fence illustrating new life in contrast to the dead wood.  (This would also be an idea for the next exercise – Juxtaposition.)


A graph -the clichéd shot of a jagged line going upwards is an easily recognisable symbol of growth.  However it might be interesting to make it out of something so for oil you would show the symbol drawn in oil or something on, say, a white background.  For instance:-

price of oil

With context the symbolism may become clearer:-

price of oil 2


Scales – photo of a readout of a set of scales showing an excessive weight reading.

Rubbish tip – showing what is thrown away and the amount of waste we produce.

Car Showroom luxury car room with price tags maybe?  I remember a Guy Peellaert painting of Diana Ross in a limo passing what appears to be a ghetto/slum which I thought at the time was a terrific bit of commentary see it on this website:-


Door sign (or furniture lock padlock etc) -for instance Neighbourhood watch.

DSC02720 DSC05937

police car(s)


Picture of mute switch on amplifier/remote

Library/church – Inside of venue without people

finger to lips/hand (or, more threateningly, tape) over mouth


I had the hardest time with thinking about this subject but came up with these:-

An empty or near empty fridge.  Maybe use a “value” loaf and dripping?

Food bank with or without a sign indicating what it is.



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