THE WRITINGS OF American poet Jorie Graham dwells on the beauty of silence; it was this theme that inspired Joan Lim to embark on a four month long photography project. With its explicitly expressive nature cutting deep inside her, the abstract concept prompted her to challenge herself and delve into something she felt was unexplorable—silence.
The current Advertising student in RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia admitted that her Final Year Project in Temasek Polytechnic drained her significantly after the initial phase of excitement had died down. When her project started to run on empty, she drew surrealism inspiration from Salvador Dali and Brooke Shaden, and often tapped into her dreamscapes—eventually finding her own style of silent surrealism in her photographs. “What blows me away is that I am able to create images from an emotion or even a scene from my dreams,” she says.
Clearly a creative person, Joan believes that there is a constant flow of inspiration from all sorts of avenues around her, be it in films, music, books or photography. As she grew fond of surrealism, she came upon the discovery that self-expression comes more naturally and easily for her through photography. To her, photography makes it possible for an intangible idea derived from the mind to exist as a definitive piece of artwork.
While facing the brunt of deadlines, the realization that she should not rush creativity—not for school or for anyone else but for herself—hit her. Instead, large doses of nurture and patience should be pumped into it.
Serenity: Focuses on the tranquility of stillness.
Her surreal photographs blur the lines of reality and dreams. The lightness that floats through each one gets progressively replaced by darker themes. When asked if there was a particular reason why water seemed to play a common theme in the series of photographs, Joan explains with the aid of a Leonardo Da Vinci quote that “Water is the driving force of all nature”. She suggests that perhaps the quote had subconsciously led her to experiment with water with the intent of giving birth to a soul fundamental in the creation of her ideas.
While her project on silence is meant to be freely interpreted by each individual who views it, she maintains that “silence is a heightened emotion of calm, where the process journeys you from subtle fleeting moments to drowning in darkness and mystery.”
“It is a progression of silence,” she sums it up in a line.
Solitude: A final stage of (a)loneliness where one is trapped and bounded.