Assignment 2 – Tutor Feedback

Overall Comments

Further to the feedback that I provided by phone on Monday 25th April please find bullet points of the areas that we discussed, also do refer to the notes that you took.

It was great to chat and I hope that you found it beneficial.

This was my first experience of assignment feedback over the telephone and I found it highly effective. It was also my first contact with a new tutor, his predecessor having left before I completed assignment 2. My new tutor works in an area of photography and in a way that interests me and I already feel that he better understands what I need from a tutor at this stage.

As I said, you have produced a sound assignment and it fulfills the brief. There are some strong successful images, which we discussed, these being the ones that seemed to express your ideas the best and had a strong visual strategy. I think in-order to progress further and above and beyond submitting sound projects you should consider taking more risks, push your conceptual approach and creativity. I think that at this point in your studies you should experiment a little more so that you can find your personal visual approach and working methodology.

If I hadn’t half expected it I would have been disappointed to receive this feedback but I cannot disagree with anything he said on the call or has written here. I recognise that my submission for this assignment was mostly “safe” and as I said in my self assessment a variety of factors seemed to lure me into creating a “day in a life” which was not the intent and disappointed me as it felt much too Life Magazine for my liking. Talking this through with my tutor highlighted that it was probably counter productive to discuss the photographs with the subjects as their preferences quite possibly influenced my final choices. 

My tutor presented the options as continuing to submit projects that “tick every box” but that are gong to continue to receive faint praise such as “competent” or I need to “accelerate past that and become my own man”.

Since the call I have thought about the discussion  and recognise that at the time I was unable to provide a coherent answer to the question of what I wanted to achieve from the degree course. Since then I have been able to rationalise why I failed to satisfactorily answer the question and to better define what it is that I want to achieve.

It’s clear that you are dedicated and have a great knowledge of photography, try and harness this knowledge and understanding when working on future projects. An area maybe that you could evolve when identifying contextual inspiration is to try and research into the artist/photographers motivations and reflections.

This is an interesting comment but I think it hides a larger truth. I usually research photographers motives and tend to take their intent into account more than the views of third parties when I review their work. However, I think the real issue is that I am heavily influenced by photographers of my own generation or earlier. As a result my work is, as my tutor suggested, “traditional” and as he pointed out my age is not an excuse.

I am too sensitive to the history of the medium to stop using my generation and the earlier documentarists as reference points but I must balance this better by taking more influence from contemporary practitioners.

Looking forward to the next assignment submission, good luck.

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 and supporting work

  • You have produced a solid assignment
  • The idea and theme is topical and appropriate
  • I think that this would also be suitable for assignment 5
  • This would allow you to consider your approach further
  • The images that you have produced reflect upon a more traditional approach to photography
  • They record the event, you have applied more of an objective approach
  • Of course being objective is not really possible however, the project would benefit from a more defined personal input from yourself
  • What do you really think about this farmer, his life and conditions?
  • How do you show this via photography?
  • Consider pushing your practice and creativity
  • Experiment with your visual approach
  • This is the time to take risks rather than playing safe
  • This will help to define your practice and approach

This was a useful conversation and I am glad that he believes that this assignment can be developed as the self led assignment 5 as I feel that it can be taken a lot further. I have benefitted from this feedback and it can be used to help me define more effective visual and lighting strategies and express my opinion of my subjects. 

I have reworked assignment 2 without undertaking any further shoots as I think part of the problem is a lack of experience or ability to curate my own work.

  • The final submission ticks the photographic boxes, sound images, well produced and suggests a narrative, continuing like this will not be an issue and you will not fail the assignments
  • However, pushing yourself creatively and conceptually would help to advance your your personal approach
  • I think that you need to define your visual strategy and try and further express your views within your images
  • You are as much part of your projects has the subjects are

The last two bullets are the challenge as I instinctively want to keep my self outside of the frame. I recognise that there is some truth in the idea that a portrait tells us as much about the photographer as it does of the subject but I have tended to resist this idea. The challenge has been thrown down and I just need to rise to it.

Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays

  • Your enthusiasm and focus is clear to see
  • Excellent research and you demonstrate a wide range of references
  • Your critical analysis is also excellent

Suggested reading/viewing

Have a look at these photographers and these particular approaches to farming and communities:

Henrik Duncker and Yrjo Tuunanen (Hay on the High way): http://www.henrikduncker.com/series/hay-on-the-highway/

John Darwell (Dark Days): http://johndarwell.com/index.php?r=image/default/category&alias=dark-days

Esko Mannikko (The Female Pike) http://www.parisphoto.com/agenda/esko-mannikko-time

All three are helpful references, plus Dennis Stock who was mentioned on the phone, and I will research them further. I do not intend to reshoot assignment 2 as I want to concentrate future shoots with my two farmers on assignment 5 but these influences will be carried into that project.

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