Assignment one – response to tutor feedback

  Feedback on assignment.

You have taken a fairly literal approach to the various contrasts and whilst there is nothing wrong with that, many photographers use this deadpan style of photography throughout their careers, it can limit your own creativity and personal vision. Some photographers working in this style and who are worth checking out are Bernd & Hilla Becher, Stephen Gill, Andreas Gursky, Richard Misrach, Hiroshi Sugimoto and Joel Sternfeld. For many it is the concept of the images that is of importance rather than any great dynamic imagery. I have looked at some of the work of Stephen Gill and Bernd & Hilda Becher.  It is very early days for me. I guess I am busy focusing on my technique and the requirements of the module, rather than concentrating on a creative approach. 

The first two shots that illustrate continuous and intermittent have been quite heavily cropped to such an extent that the format of the images does not work that well. The ideas work well but you really need to be working with the full frame of the camera rather than any post production editing. Point taken and I appreciate the advice on this issue.

The pointed and blunt examples are a lot better in terms of framing and both shots work well in a minimalist style, coming across as being quite forensic and showing a good investigative photographic style. You may be interested in Peter Fraser’s work Everyday Icons, link below.

The shot of the feathers needs a little more work to get across the light theme, they are laid out on white card and as such the viewer doesn’t get a true sense of their lightness. You could have hung them from a position and photographed them so that the wind was blowing them around, for example. I will have another go with this shot.

The shot of the sledgehammer breaking the slate is a good attempt although the mix of monochrome and colour is not to be recommended within the same assignment as both mediums have very different qualities that seldom work together. Interesting point? I queried this with my tutor in the email below.

… suggested I looked at the work of another of your students (George), for his assignment you wrote “….to be honest the combination of colour and black and white images doesn’t bother me as I think it gives a more creative and imaginative overview of your subject”. I think I am missing the point here, help please! If it’s easier to talk this through I am happy to call you. let me know.

Tutor response: ok regarding the mix of black & white and colour in assignments: for me this is not a problem and I’ve always maintained this point of view, however when I went to the first tutors workshop in April this year the senior tutors (the assessors!) said that they did not like the mix of mediums and would mark students work down, so I have to pass that information on. It is a bit of clash to what I personally think but at the end of the day I have to advise the opinion of the assessors.  Now assignment 4 is totally different to the rest of the assignments in that each image is a sperate entity and not part of a series or a narrative. I know its a bit of a grey area and thus contradictions will arise. Still somewhat confused…..

The image of the war memorial and sweet bag are quite poetic and thoughtful, the context of the shots can be taken in many ways but the simple approach works well. In particular the few example shows how the photographer can guide the viewer into a particular area of an image, in this case, inside the bag itself.

The large and small bears comes across as an exercise shot rather than a study of contrasts, perhaps I should have taken the two bears in the same shot to show the contrast. similarly with the images of the apple and kiwi fruit, these are too rigid and lack any creative flair. Again three out of four of these shots has been heavily cropped, this is something you really need to get out of the habit of doing. Message received and understood!

The long and short contrasts should have been in the exercises or as an idea to experiment with as they don’t work that well within the context of the assignment brief.

The still/moving contrast is an excellent shot and demonstrates good technical and visual skills as well as creativity and imagination. If the rest of the work had been of a similar level you would have had a very strong submission! Yes, I am very pleased with these shots too! This is encouraging.

If you going to continue submitting your work as a Word Doc then you really need to make your images larger on the pages. You can use low res ones sized at around 7 x 5” for example and this would keep the file size down to a more manageable figure. Using high res images causes many problems, or you may want to use PDF’s as the format is more suited to images. Working on a better way to present my work. Considering PowerPoint and attaching the photos separately.

Also I’m not sure what post production software you use, but some of the shots could have benefited from having their levels tweaked, Photoshop or Lightroom are worth getting, both are the digital equivalent of the darkroom and if you are serious about photography then decent post production software is a must. I have always just used Windows Live Photo Gallery. I will invest in Lightroom.

You really need to have a good look at other photographer’s work in the research areas as this can provide inspiration for your own ideas and photographs. I have now commenced my research file. The second assignment is concerned with how the graphic elements can be used in photography and moves on from this first assignment quite sharply. Here’s a couple examples of some of my students’ work on assignment 2, I think both show what is possible with a fairly simple idea.