10th April 2018
I thought it was time to look at updating assignment 1. I am nearing the end of the course and after my tutor feedback on A3 I am trying to be more organised, less rushed and less ‘last minute’ about everything. So I’m looking over the course material to check I’ve understood the points made, to follow up any research I didn’t look at initially and to ensure I am taking on and actioning the points made by my tutor. At the beginning of the course I felt that I wanted to look at other people’s ideas after I’d processed and developed my own and that feeling has now changed significantly. Really I think that’s been one of my main learning points, but in the context of distance learning I found that research difficult as initially I did not have access to a physical library and everything was online which is just not as helpful for me personally. The physicality of the text is important to me, perhaps it’s the same with images which raises interesting questions. I think it may be about narrowing down – knowing what I can take seriously and what is dross. There’s so much information online how do I know which sources to trust or take seriously? It’s something else too though about a physical connection to the work that makes it more impactful and I think that’s a really important realisation in the context of photography and the digital medium in which it is now most commonly viewed and shared.
Reflecting on my tutor feedback
Anyway, my tutor feedback for A1. There was a feeling of ambivalence that came across in the work which he mentioned it would be good to return to. The idea that I was looking at this area I find myself in without trying to be a part of it. The main theme he picked up on was ‘home’, and he suggested that I should reflect on this theme to make updates. There was this idea of it being about becoming part of an environment / place / area whether national, local or domestic. He also suggested I map out themes and sub-themes for myself and look at the work of Martin Parr, Si Barber, Simon Roberts and Val Williams. I followed up all of these as suggested, but perhaps at the time wasn’t able to make as much use out of that initial research as I feel I can now.
Thinking again about how well the assignment meets the various criteria:
The assessment criteria points are:
- demonstration of technical and visual skill (40%)
- quality of outcome (20%)
- demonstration of creativity (20%)
- context (20%)
I have to say I am finding this aspect of examining my work extremely difficult. It’s difficult to assess my own level in any of these areas, it’s hard to emotionally and psychologically separate off from my own work because I know why I took these images and what they mean to me; it’s hard to step back even after this amount of time.
Looking at the assignment now, I’m not totally happy with it. I know I have images to change. I think my favourite is this one. I can see that there are problems with it technically; the cloud in the top left particularly annoys me. Partly that’s down to equipment and if I took it again (which I will) I could now make significant improvements as I have better lenses and know what to look for – I’ll take it under different conditions perhaps at sunset as that might add to the message I was trying to convey. But in terms of a message it works. It explains how I feel about where I am, that it is somehow not for me and that I am cut off from it and not allowed to take part.
My favourite image from A1
Demonstration of technical and visual skill
I think as a whole the assignment does demonstrate that I have visual awareness, design and compositional skills, but certainly here technical skills are lacking; I did know that and mentioned it in my notes to my tutor that accompany this work.
Quality of outcome
The quality of outcome is affected by the lack of technical skills. The content doesn’t hang together as much as I’d like it to, I’m not sure if a theme comes across well without referring to the written part of the assignment so that’s reflecting that perhaps my thoughts weren’t totally clear and the fact that I had never taken an image with the idea of using it in a set or conveying a message; until then any photograph I had taken had been about a single image and some potential beauty or interest I had seen in a subject. I had a feeling, a mood, I was trying to convey in the set and I think overall I managed that, but some images let it down and didn’t communicate what I thought they would.
An image that didn’t say what I wanted it to
Demonstration of creativity
I think I am becoming more creative as I go through the course. I took a lot of images for this assignment, I also took instant images and would have liked to work more with film which is a suggestion my tutor mentioned for A5. I took images from moving cars, images that were pure experiments that I feel worked well to convey a mood.
I certainly spent a lot of time thinking about this assignment. But I really didn’t do much research at all. Initially I found it hard to reflect on feedback as by the time I had finished I just wanted to move on to something new. Hopefully I am now correcting those deficiencies with this reflection and with further work. I did start to think about some of the ideas my tutor mentioned, but that research was all after the work, not during and before. I think that until a few months ago the research in terms of looking at the work of other photographers has been a real weakness for me.
(Changes to the initial submission will follow and will be dated as added).