Sarah Scott

OCA Expressing Your Vision Notes & Learning Log

A4 Tutor Feedback



Overall Comments

There’s something very intriguing about this assignment, Sarah, and the thematic threads you’ve picked up have got much going for them. It’s also good to see you experimenting with a slightly different stylistic approach, but I do think that you’ve only been partially successful with it: this feels like an assignment that could have as effectively made its basic point(s) with a single image instead of a wider set, so I think the basic thing to explore is how the idea can be rolled out to accommodate more images that expand on the basic premise (which, by the way, you definitely should- this is something that’s very complex and personal, so definitely worth persevering with).

Equally, I think you could have sharpened the basic concept. There are, as ever, plenty of really good ideas on display here, but I must admit that I found it a little tricky to be clear on the central idea. But this should be relatively straightforward to address, and this is an assignment is one that still marks you out as someone with a good deal of potential.

Assessment potential

Assignment 4 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


As an aesthetic, while this is interesting, it does seem slightly reminiscent of stock photography and the sort of photograph seen on social media that tends to feature ‘inspirational’ quotes. This is obviously something you’re playing, but I think you need to think about how the idea and resulting images can be refined. There are some interesting and potentially rich ‘ingredients’, but I think you can afford to look at how you piece them together so they cohere into something a touch more focused.

There are, as you note in your text, a lot of ideas here, and I think you could work to include something more streamlined. By all means leave the Planning and researchnotes as they are, but perhaps include a more pared-down rationale on the same page as the final images. I must admit that I felt a bit confused and overwhelmed by what I was looking at and what you were trying to say. A more sympathetic and understated rationale that cuts to the chase more quickly should sort this.

Whether to be ‘too subtle’ or ‘too obvious’ seems to have been an issue for you here, but this something that is part of the broader learning curve, at least as much as grasping the technical aspects of photography. At this early stage, it’s really good to see you even thinking about being so subtle and understated with what you’re trying to communicate, and it’s important to stick with this and keep chipping away at the more challenging ideas you have. I know that you’re dedicated enough to get there!


Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

The Research and Planning post on your blog points, as usual, to some very decent prep and background thinking.

Learning Log

Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

Ditto. Your written materials always point to someone who’s very thoughtful and engaged. More please…

Suggested reading/viewing


The Richard Salkeld book I mentioned, Reading Photographs, gives a decent overview of semiotics, i.e. the study of ‘signs’ as meaning systems. I’m confident that it would give you an additional set of ways of thinking about your deployment of certain ‘signifiers’ in your photographs.

I wonder if might also be worth you doing some research around how ideas of faith and spirituality are typically expressed in visual form? ‘Nature’ and the elements seem to figure quite heavily, regardless of the belief system in question, so looking into this and writing a 500 word or-so blog post would potentially be a really useful way for you to refine the assignment’s basic concept and to see what other styles you could appropriate and make use of.

Pointers for the next assignment

It’s really interesting that you’ve been taking courses in art and bookmaking, and it’d be great to see you take advantage of these as your prepare for A5 and assessment. The ideas you’ve mentioned have much promise, and presenting them in such a way to demonstrate other skills you’ve developed could potentially have much impact. Once you’ve got your plans together for A5, feel free to drop me an email.

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