Assignment 3: Tutor Feedback

Overall Comments

You have clearly engaged with the assignment. You have applied yourself really well; your project is considered and fulfills the brief. Your application to context and research is excellent along with your coherent and engaging reflections. Your project is interesting and it’s great how you have responded to the brief. The images are clearly a personal reflection upon the village and way of life but also respond to the notion of community and social relationships. Combining portraits along with landscapes and detail shots has provided the project with depth and narrative. The portraits are well executed, as are the other shots. I find the two group portraits really intriguing. This is an area that you could develop further.

Overall an excellent submission that reflects upon your commitment and enthusiasm, good work.

Feedback on assignment

You have submitted a detailed and comprehensive response to the assignment. It’s clear that you have carefully considered your ideas and working methodology. Your research and awareness of previous projects around similar themes demonstrates your excellent research and contextual understanding. I’d say that your knowledge and ability to critically engage with your work and others is beyond level one. This submission really emphasizes your commitment and enthusiasm for photography. I can see that you have applied more of a personal response within your critical engagement and also applied this to the work. It’s really interesting how the idea and the images have manifested themselves. The small village becomes a metaphor for your thoughts that you have eloquently described within your reflective text. The personal here is within you, your thoughts, your views, the images are a way of responding to these. This connects with your ideas for the project, the lack of textual information that identifies and describes your subjects and location. Your visual strategy is not new, it is a well-used one but this doesn’t take anything away from the work, it’s great that you have responded in some way to the photographers who have made work within a similar vein. This shows to me that you are learning and aware of historical and contemporary references.

Producing portraits and juxtaposing them with landscapes and details shots as I said, is a relevant strategy. Your portraits are non exploitative and gentle in their approach. The compositions are straight forward and nicely framed. Your subjects appear to be relaxed and have responded in a way that is expected, mostly looking straight at the camera and smiling. This is a natural response and one that you identified has wanting to achieve, so in this sense, they fulfill your brief. I do find the group portraits really interesting, and if anything I would have liked to see more of these (something to consider for the future perhaps?). There is a certain dynamic that appears to be happening within the shots. I think that the hierarchy within the village and the relationships to the subjects is becoming more prominent. This would be a great area to investigate further. The images, although there are only 2, have a tableaux quality and seem to hold a more complex narrative.

Page 10, the priest, policeman and other, is intriguing, the way that they are holding themselves and standing, it has an odd visual perspective. I think though that the image could be refined further – how many images did you take?

For the whole series I restricted myself to one or two shots of each subject so I don’t have an alternative image. I agree that three men were especially interesting subjects. In fact there are two Carabinieri in the shot, the large man on the left is off duty and therefore out of uniform. There was a intriguing little side show; I asked if I could take their picture “fare una foto” and the uniformed Carabinieri immediately turned on his heal and scuttled off to his car. I assumed that I had offended him and was about to move on when he came rushing back with his cap on – he obviously felt that he didn’t cut the right image without it.  

Look again at your contact sheet do any of the other images paly on the visual oddness?

I will look again but I don’t think I have anything to match this unlikely combination of characters. I will post a few other group shots separately.

The other group image on page 14 is lovely, great dynamic, reminiscent of Strand. I wonder, did you set this one up more, or at least stage manage, give them directions, it is a Tableau Vivant.

There was no direction, I was wandering around in the Piazza photographing individual villagers and noticed how this group had formed quite perfectly outside the bar. It was such a typical Sunday afternoon scene that I just grabbed a couple of shots before the group broke up. A great example of when you are out looking for one thing you find another.

Did you look at the previous references I gave you – Hay on the Highway as an example, look at the way that the artists play with pose and composition.

I did find a second hand copy of Hay on the Highway which is an interesting book but had held off writing up my thoughts on it until I started to prepare for assignment 5 (although given assignment 4 has a referendum theme not dissimilar to Hay on the Highway it is now more immediately relevant) but, in either case I take the point, and will review my contact sheets within that context. 

Consider this area again in the future and review your contact sheets once more, you may find other images that have the visual quality that draws in the viewer. Think about how to further push your approach and conventions of photography don’t be afraid to make mistakes!

A point well made and I recognise that taking risks, pushing the boundaries and making mistakes is an essential part of the process – but its easier said than done. I will review my contact sheets and bear in mind the visual qualities discussed.

Coursework

You are clearly engaging with your course work, this is helping you to consider visual approaches. Continue though to use this space to push your practice and conceptual ideas.

Research

Your knowledge and understanding is excellent. You are clearly applying yourself to independent research, which is helping you to widen your archive of references and inspirations. Start to respond to some of the artists that I mentioned, start with Hay on the Highway it doesn’t matter if you do not like the references.

Next review will definitely be Hay on the Highway

Learning Log

Clear and concise. Your evaluations and research is really well written and considered. This is strong area and one that is beyond level one study, so really well done; it’s great to read your reflections.

Suggested reading/viewing

Have a look at these artists; you may find them of interest: John Goto: http://www.johngoto.org.uk/caparc/ca1.htm

Joel Sternfeld (Stranger Passing): http://www.luhringaugustine.com/artists/joel- sternfeld/artworks/stranger-passing

Jimmy Forsyth (Scotswood Road): http://www.amber- online.com/exhibitions/scotswood-road

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One Response to Assignment 3: Tutor Feedback

  1. Catherine says:

    That’s such excellent feedback – positive, challenging and encouraging.

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