Penny Wong

Finalist in

Upper Primary Category

Written Statement

All life is fragile. We definitely realise this more with the COVID–19 pandemic. As we self–isolate in our homes to protect ourselves and our community, ‘Husk’ looks at how animals in nature use their shells and cocoons to also keep themselves safe.

I used a Pixel camera phone because it is easy to use. I made a lightbox out of cardboard and paper so that I could control the conditions. Two white lights on the left and right and natural daylight from the front made sure I had a well-lit scene. I used plants, found objects and insects from the garden and arranged a landscape to tell a story. I shot the photos close up to capture the textures of the shells and cocoons.

The egg is an organic vessel for bringing life into the world. It shields and protects the animal inside, but is delicate and must be handled with care. ‘Vessel’ shows how a new bird bursts out of its protective covering with all of it’s strength. Weak and feeble, it is ready to face the world.

When the caterpillar builds a cocoon, it will go to sleep inside the protection of its silk threads before turning into a moth of butterfly. While metamorphosing, it is extremely vulnerable to predators. ‘Cocoon’ contrasts the wispiness of its silk threads with the determination of the strong caterpillar to survive.

With their long eye stalks, silvery trails and swirling patterns on their shells, snails are beautiful creatures. And yet they are pests because they eat the plants in our garden and are cruelly crushed under the heavy shoes of gardeners. ‘Shell’ puts life and death side by side, with a young, exposed snail exploring the world next to the empty shell of another snail.


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