Janet, this is a strong final assignment where the style and content of your photographs work well with the overall theme. The actual narrative is contained within the images (rather than the images illustrating a narrative), so that the sequencing is not so crucial, in other words we can wander around the shots and use our own experiences and memories to relate to the railway carriages.
As you say time was of the essence with this assignment, although it is a shame you couldn’t have had another couple of visits as I think this may have helped produce some more interesting shots and ideas. Your approach and interpretation of the brief is very good, with your overall idea coming across in a clear and concise way. The actual layout may need a little editing, I would try and not have text over the top of images for example and a couple of the multi image pages need a re-think. I did a lot of research and discovered that most photo essays do have text within the images. However as my tutor discourages this I will amend accordingly. I agree that not much text is needed other than a little background info on each image, and I can see how many of the shots would work well as full page bleeds.
Feedback On Assignment
The cover shot works really well and draws the viewer in straightaway because you are not revealing too much, we get a sense of the landscape and a little clue as to what the photographs will reveal.
The second shot puts a little more context into the theme and again works well, the range of colours and textures draw the eye in and the image becomes a little abstract even though we know what it is. Were you tempted to see what the images look like in black and white? No, I did not consider black and white, but am now tempted to try it! Using the colour keeps the theme fresh and I can see how this would work as an interesting publication or article highlighting the work of the volunteers.
The third page has a good cross-section of shots that reveal more details to the viewer/reader; the one of the carriage roofs works well as you have picked out another interesting point of view, we see a bit more of the location and also what kind of condition the carriages are in and the amount of work needed to get them back to their original condition. I wasn’t too sure about the image with a couple of the volunteers in, I think some portrait images of the people would be interesting, tightly cropped head and shoulders style, with the carriages as a background and small depth of field. I may look at using a different image…I have decided to leave people out altogether, I feel that including the volunteers introduces a whole new story.
There is a little too much similarity in three of the images on page 4, looking upwards to the wheel brake and the doors as well as the top left image of the carriage. Possibly you could have held the camera up and shot from a higher viewpoint just so the converging verticals are not so distorted? Also I wonder would it have been possible to take some images from inside a carriage? I was not permitted to enter the carriages (health & safety!), but accept that different viewpoints and angles would benefit the look of page 4. I will plan another visit for more shots.
The framework of the Gresley coach is revealed well on the next page, although the image seems to have been cropped off at the right hand side? Re-take this shot closer – I did not include the whole carriage in the frame as there was another carriage butted up close. Maybe a couple of close-ups of the framework would be interesting, especially with an abstract / geometric feel as the eye seems drawn to these areas in the actual image. Will experiment further.
The interior shot doesn’t come across too well, I can see why you have included it but it may be better to keep it out of the final edit as it seems to suffer a little in quality and the whole mystery becomes lost. Valid point, I will remove this image for final edit.
The final shot works well and could also be the perfect background for the previously mentioned volunteer portrait image! The mix of carriages balances the image and highlights your skills learnt in previous modules.
Learning Log/Suggested Reading/Viewing/Pointers For The Assessment
Your learning log in terms of the assessment is a little thin; I would try to add some more research related material if possible, looking at other photographers work could always be helpful in developing your own style and vision. I have since worked on my research file and it now includes other photographer’s work in this area. Some of your shots do show that you have a good understanding of how the narrative can work with still photography – the broken crockery on the seashore for example – you do have plenty of time before the November assessment so it would be worth working on to bring it up to a better standard. Agreed, my learning log was thin due to time constraints. It now contains a more thorough examination of the project. I have included a lot more detail , photos and work on the subject.
You may be interested in submitting an image to the Quiet Life Camera Club – they do publish books of selected images, see if you can spot mine!
Presentation: Include a clear contents list with your assessment submission. All your work must be clearly labeled, stating which assignment it relates to and with your name and student number on every item you submit. Where there is a clear link between project work and your learning log, or blog, this should be clearly labeled or cross-referenced in some way.
Prints are best, if possible, although some students do put a photo book together which can also work well. The professionalism of your presentation is important and you will lose marks for poor presentation. Informed by OCA that prints are not required for level One courses. Will double-check….