A5 Responses to Tutor Feedback

I felt that the written and verbal feedback I got from my tutor about A5 was very fair. I knew that the assignment hadn’t really worked and why, but in the interests of actually getting to the end of the course I had decided to hand in what I had. Wanting to experiment, I had had a theme rather than a message that I was trying to communicate.

Part of it was about exploring a historical link going back to Fox Talbot and his lack of drawing skills being the driver for him to experiment with photographic processes; I have always felt my drawing skills are poor and so that was a point of identification for me. I also wanted to give free reign to my own desire to experiment before I started full-time study. At that point I had come to the conclusion that I might not go forward for assessment with OCA and so I felt freer to experiment, and to fail.

Now, having come back to OCA study and so going for assessment, I wish I had approached A5 differently; I would have had I known I was going to be assessed.

The main thrust of this part of the course seemed to be about creativity and I think the original work I did was creative, although it didn’t work as a set. To make it more coherent, I think I have several options:

  • Presentation; I can present the work physically as a set, finding design elements to tie it together.
  • Edit; I can stick with one idea – perhaps using monochrome film and an enlarger to produce a set of prints, or presenting a set of cyanotypes or photograms.

Presentation may or may not work to draw the material together into a more cohesive set; part of the lack of cohesion is about the materiality of the final images being seen in a digital format on a screen. They don’t work in the context, and will probably have more impact when presented physically as a set of work.

I think that editing the ideas down and following up one idea – using film, developing it at home, and producing my own prints, is probably going to give the best outcome that feels coherent and answers points that my tutor raised. It also ties into discussions I had had earlier in the course with my tutor about using film images for the final assignment.

Some scanned film images of Blandford:

Some scanned film images of the forest for updating A5:

I have written about the other material I have produced for this assignment, and the technical skills I have developed in various blog posts, and I will add the physical prints to a sketchbook of supporting material.

So, I think in terms of producing a set of images the original assignment didn’t work brilliantly, but in terms of moving me on both personally and as a photographer it has had, and continues to have, a massive impact: I have become aware of more processes to try; I have learnt a lot about those processes in terms of technical knowledge; I have taught a class based on the cyanotype work I produced; I appreciate the materiality of an image and the effect of transferring it to digital information in a way that I hadn’t until now; I have unanswered questions to explore and more work to produce. In those terms the assignment was successful for me.