A2 Feedback and Updates

A2 Tutor Feedback

Overall Comments

Another engaging, thoughtful and encouraging assignment, Sarah. There are photographs here that point to a student who looks at her environment in an intriguing way, and your accompanying text is typically eloquent. The assignment, however, does lack a certain depth, and a greater sense of ‘enquiry’ would have made for a more satisfying and complete piece of work. What you’ve submitted is rather different to what you were planning to do, so please always contact me if you think time is against you and you’d like to ask for a few extra days to complete an assignment.

Assessment potential

Assignment 2 Assessment potential

I understand your aim is to go for the Photography/Creative Arts* Degree and that you plan to submit your work for assessment at the end of this course. From the work you have shown in this assignment, providing you commit yourself to the course, I believe you have the potential to pass at assessment. In order to meet all the assessment criteria, there are certain areas you will need to focus on, which I will outline in my feedback.

Feedback on assignment

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity

– The Eiffel Tower stands as one of the most photographed tourist destinations in the world, and I really like that you’ve chosen to shoot it in such a way. While it’s obviously the star of the show, I also like the restraint you’ve exercised here, and how the Tower is often shown in glimpses: good.

  • –  The opening photograph with the bird sat on a statue is really observant; a great detail to have brought in, one that playfully uses scale to good effect, and that cuts beyond the harshness of the steel that dominates the assignment.
  • –  The b/w treatment and hazy weather conditions add a really nice, subtly gloomy mood to the set, bucking the obvious tourist trend for shooting the Eiffel Tower in glorious sunshine, or drenching it in romantic, dramatic rain.
  • –  While the assignment certainly represents progress and shows you to be a practitioner with much potential, I did have the slight feeling that this was a piece of work caught between being an exercise- but a really interesting one- and an assignment. Just a little more in the way of context and raison d’être would have potentially remedied this. While it’s implied in the photographs and accompanying text, if you’d been a little more explicit in your engagement with the tourism theme, for instance, I think the work would have had just a little more in the way of depth. There are a couple of textbooks I recommend below that might help in this respect.Coursework

    Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity

    A little patchy at the moment. In some of the exercises, your engagement is good, while others simply restate the exercise brief but include no response, are entirely empty, or are much too short and show little evidence of serious engagement. Exercises can be easy things to overlook, but they should always be seen as opportunities to work through any ideas that you’ve had for a particular assignment.


    Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

    What research you have done is encouraging, and your engagement with the things that you’re reading and looking at is typically thoughtful and intelligent. However, there doesn’t really seem to be all that much, and the Reading and research section of your blog is a little undernourished. Likewise, I don’t really see the point in the Reading pile entry, which simply lists the reading that you’re planning to do. Evidencing your learning is key, not listing the learning that you’re planning to get round to!

    n.b., when I attempted to take a look at the research that you’d specifically done for A2, I was asked to enter a password, so I can’t really say how you prepared for the assignment. Indeed, I wasn’t able to access any of the A2 materials linked on your blog, so you’ll need to take a look at navigation, layout and suchlike.

    Learning Log

    Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

    Your accompanying text is intelligent and readable, and I have no major concerns with this side of your studies: your self-reflective material is good and provides ample evidence of a student who is really committing themselves to their studies. However, without wanting to drone on, you need to step it up with the wider research and more forcefully develop/ connect the various aspects of your studies.

Suggested reading/viewing


Brassaï’s Paris By Night is an obvious reference, but I think that some preparatory material that explored visual representations of the Eiffel Tower would have made for an even stronger assignment. Mathieu Kassovitz’s La Haine (1995) only includes a brief glimpse of the Eiffel Tower, for example, but he uses it to signify power and authority and as a symbol of the gap separating its central trio of characters from the ‘dominant’ culture/ order that surrounds them.

Likewise, even though tourists are only explicitly depicted in one photograph, it’s impossible to get away from tourism as a theme here, and some wider reading in this field would have made for a slightly stronger wider context. Try John Urry’s landmark The Tourist Gaze and Tim Edensor’s Tourists at the Taj, which explores how tourists make use of the same site, i.e. the Taj Mahal, and looks beyond tourists as a ‘homogeneous’ group. It might also be worth taking a look at the growing field of research into the branding of place.

Pointers for the next assignment

This feels almost like ‘Assignment 1.5’, but I don’t think it would take a great deal to get it up to speed and give the work a more obvious sense of purpose and focus. I appreciate that you were struggling with your initial idea and that this was a substitute that you only had a limited time to work on, but always let me know if you think you won’t make a deadline. I’d always rather you submitted something that you were satisfied with than send over an assignment that ‘made do’. Always aim high!!!!