Sarah Scott

OCA Expressing Your Vision Notes & Learning Log

A1: Responses to Tutor Feedback

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I thought it was time to look at updating assignment 1. 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 and feedback 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

There was a feeling of ambivalence that came across in the work which he mentioned it would be good to return to; I do have mixed feelings about being here in Dorset. Also 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.

My thoughts about themes

Themes for me were feeling disconnected and not fitting in – so of not feeling at home. Of not being allowed to be part of the countryside at some level. There is certainly a sense of me wanting to and waiting to escape. I feel (and felt) on the threshold of many things; I think that’s part of the reason I wanted the images to be through something – guns through the window for example. It’s about thresholds. I suppose having just started EYV at that point also constituted a threshold that I felt I was standing at.

Assessment criteria 

When I submitted the assignment I hadn’t really gone through the criteria properly, doing this is really part of the learning process for me and so I’ve done that here.

Thinking 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.

My favourite image from A1
Bridge to Nowhere / No Entry

I can see that there are problems with it technically; the cloud in the top left particularly annoys me. That’s partly down to equipment and if I took it again I could now make significant improvements as I have better lenses and know what to look for – I’d 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 and so despite technical flaws I think I will leave it as is, because it also communicates authentically about where I was as a photographer at that time including the equipment I had and it’s limitations. It still 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.

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 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. 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. But in this assignment I had a feeling I was trying to convey in the set, and I think overall I managed that, despite some images not communicating what I thought they would.

An image that didn’t say what I wanted it to
Urban to Country
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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 and I also took instant images. I would have liked to work 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.

Stuck Here
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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. Until a few months ago the research in terms of looking at the work of other photographers has been a real weakness for me.


Amendments to the assignment – plan

I will take more images, trying to replace those that didn’t work, especially the underpass image which I think might work with a wider lens that shows more of the countryside on the left of the image balanced with the graffiti on the right.

I would like to take more images of the old railway bridge. It’s in the background of one of the images and it’s where I found the swastika graffiti. It goes nowhere; for me it is a symbol of a town that is cut off; it’s almost a symbol of Brexit, of a town that I feel has now chosen to cut itself off.

In terms of my final presentation of this assignment I will leave it there; I don’t want to change too much but I would like to explore the themes further.


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