SVA MA Design Research

SVA MA Design Research, Writing & Criticism1 is a one-year graduate program2
devoted to the study of design, its contexts & consequences.
Our graduates have gone on to pursue research-related careers in publishing, education, museums, institutes, design practice, entrepreneurship, & more.3

  1. Formerly known as D-Crit
  2. About the program
  3. Applications accepted on a rolling basis. All successful candidates awarded a significant scholarship!
SVA MA Design Research

136 W 21st St, 2nd Floor

New York, NY 10011





(212) 592-2228

Reason Why I Believe Camera More Than My Own Eyes – SVA MA Design Research

Jiwon Woo

Reason Why I Believe Camera More Than My Own Eyes

Walter Benjamin described folk art as a favorite old coat that we feel very familiar and comfortable. He says that folk art, because it draws us into its world to have direct participation, it’s also like a mask or a shell we wear.


From that specific perspective of having masks on, we are able to see the world we came from differently. It is interesting how we draws ourselves into certain subject far enough that we become a part of it; but more interestingly, it can also become a part of ourselves. Once we own the subject, immediately it enables us to have different views when seeing objects and world. However, at the same time, such possession places us into this bubble-like structure, and floats us higher to pull ourselves little bit out of our current world. It positions us so that we have a fair distance to have objective view of the world we’re living in, and the view of ourselves.


Interesting point here is that we should have OUTsider’s point of view–having objective perspective–in order to have better INsights of ourselves.


To connect this idea to my personal experience, I find it very similar to the way I always take photographs in intervals during drawing illustrations or working on designs. For some reason, there’s more trusting-quality of photographic image than what I actually see. My eyes are too subjective in a way that they are so used to the constant exposed to the scene that it’s difficult to have objective view at that specific moment. That is the moment when we can depend on camera’s ability to be objective at certain extend.


So the idea that we could have greater view and understanding of things by drawing ourselves a bit apart from the very moment can be validated with our dependency of photographic image better than what we see straightforwardly.