For our next brief, the class was challenged to design an editorial spread to illustrate an interview in a creative way.
It took me a long time to narrow down my ideas for someone to interview – I considered interviewing my partner about his unease living with my pet snake, which could use layered snakeskin to spice up the page, but I decided against it. He just didn’t feel strongly enough about the snake, and I felt the whole idea fell flat.
The Sense of Smell
In the end, I settled on interviewing a friend who was born with no sense of smell because I felt that this topic could be strongly illustrative. While interviewing him, he touched on some subjects that I never thought about before, such as how he wondered whether his sense of smell affected his short-term memory without the extra sense that we use without realizing it.
Being born with no sense of smell he never realized he was missing it, and only began to suspect that other people could sense things that he could not around age 14. One event in particular that got him wondering was when a crowd of friends would freak out about someone having farted, and he could not understand what they were talking about. It was at this point he started to realize that something was missing.
It’s not that I breathe in and smell no smells, I breathe in and and smell absolutely nothing
Another interesting point that he made was that, much like a blind person trying to understand sight, he has no frame of reference for understand what a smell is or what having the sense is like. This sense also relating to taste means that smells can’t even be described to him in terms of taste – such as a bitter smell or a ‘fresh’ smell – he simply just does not understand.
In terms of taste, that too is an interesting subject. Because can’t taste individual flavours texture is far more important to him when it come t which foods he likes, but much like an elderly person who has the taste buds dulled he can sense the strong flavour, favouring spicy or sweet foods for that reason.
Based on my interview with him (who does not want to be named), I got the impression that while he cannot miss the sense of smell as he has never had one, he does feel slightly disconnected from people around him, as they have access to a world that he can’t even imagine. He is a laid back guy and doesn’t worry too much about it, but sometimes paranoia creeps in, and leads to a slight case of OCD, where he is fussy about the cleanliness of his room or himself so as not to offend others.
I wanted to capture this disconnect in my illustrative spread – in particular I love the stark black and white designs, which spotlight the subject and display their isolation from the world. I think this could work well with my interview