A4: Tutor Feedback

Overall Comments

You have submitted a solid assignment that is built upon an awareness of various photographic practices. Your conceptual concerns have been evaluated really well. It appears that you have also pushed your creative approach. This has been informed by a considered analysis of your references. I can imagine that the final images will divide opinion regarding your visual approach and final output. Those concerned more with technical details, I imagine, would critique your postproduction skills. However, I believe that your references such has Goto, Ruscha and contextual ideas re the mundane and even reference to cheaply produced posters, reflect your methodology and conceptual concerns.

Carefully consider your approach and references for the next assignment. In the meantime continue to work on your course material and working methodology and keep on adding your excellent critical analysis.

Feedback on assignment

You have produced a really interesting project that is built upon sound reflective analysis. The project works on various levels. The context is engaging and of course very relevant. You have combined your ideas looking at the recent Brexit poll, giving the work a cultural and political agenda whilst also considering various photographic approaches.

Your working methodology has been informed by various influences. These references demonstrate you ability and commitment to push your creativity in connection with your contextual ideas. The influence of Wearing, Power and Goto are evidenced and your evaluative text succinctly expresses your decision-making and concept. There is an interesting aesthetic to your images. I could imagine that you would have alternative feedback from tutors and colleagues regarding the final result. Personally, although I think that some visual elements could be refined a little, find the output intriguing. There is a certain ‘non-photographic’ approach that you have used. I think that this is due to you looking at John Goto more than you realize. The way that you have combined the two elements, architecture and portrait, have provided the final image with a certain visual character. It feels slightly DIY due to the scale and juxtaposition. I find this out of synch process interesting and engaging and removed from your previous approach, suggesting your willingness to push your practice.

These comments are interesting, combing two images from such different situations was challenging, as as mentioned above, my technical skills fell short of finding a way to combine the them in an totally effective manner. John Goto probably did have a significant influence on me but when his work is analysed it is clear how technically complicated his images actually are; they go well beyond cut-outs pasted onto a background. The most obvious requirement is to achieve even lighting across all the components, one might also think of Anna Fox’s combined images as another example that works because the components in the final image were / could have been photographed at the same time in the same lighting conditions. The technical challenge was created as soon as I chose to combine the architecture that was photographed on a wet grey day and the human subjects photographed with fill-in flash on an occasionally sunny evening. 

I made no attempt to include the human subjects in scale as whilst the cut-out / montage would have been obvious, it also looked unreal when attempting to be real – a sort of photographic deception. By having a consistent scale between the people in each image I declared the falsehood and made it clear that this was the intent. 

The ideas for the project are strong, actually I think that you could easily develop this project into something bigger, shooting 26 stations is fantastic and evidences your enthusiasm. Taking the people aside, I think that this project could work with only the architecture. Considering the different types of buildings and architecture and the fact that for a short time they become “political institutions” as you describe it, is fascinating. It’s a very valid project in its own right, so bear this in mind. Your references to Ruscha and his photographic approach are relevant as would be the Bechers and other topographic approaches.

If I had not been trying to push my practice into new areas I would have stuck with Ruscha, Power et al and produced a straight documentary 26 Polling Stations. I would still like to put that together if only for myself.

Of course, I guess then that the portraits could also be a project within their own right. Allowing subjects to write a comment and photographing is a tried and tested approach; It’s always fascinating to see what people write. A pre-empted comment (by others) would be why didn’t you photograph them outside of the buildings in situ? As I said though, I like the fact that you have approached this alternatively, it may not be everyone’s cup of tea but the final images demonstrate to me that you are prepared to take risks, experiment and importantly are aware and acknowledge appropriate references, including the cheaply produced posters that you mention in your reflective text!

If I set out to photograph half a dozen polling stations it might have been feasible to capture the sign-bearing people in-situ but it was really important to me to achieve the 26 and that was difficult enough in a day. The other challenge would have been waiting for suitable human subjects, I hardly saw anyone for most of the day.

Coursework

Again, sound engagement with your coursework. It’s clear that this helping both your technical and conceptual concerns.

Research

Excellent research. Your engagement with critical theory is great to see as is your in depth analysis of artist references. I do hope that this is recognized by the assessment team! It’s really refreshing to see a student engaging with suggested references. It’s clear that you are open to suggestions and this is informing your working methodology. It appears that your inspirations are helping you to consider alternative practices.

Learning Log

Your learning log continues to be updated. It’s clear coherent and evidences your learning process and ability to apply critical analysis.

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