Self evaluation – The Art of Photography

I am about to submit my work for formal assessment. So, time for self-evaluation…..

This course has been an enjoyable, challenging and enlightening two year journey. For me, studying had been left in the dark and distant past and although I have always enjoyed taking photographs, I had no concept of camera equipment, composition, lighting, etc.

I have gleaned a great deal from reading some of the suggested books and looking at the work of celebrated photographers and fine artists. Also, for the first time really, I have started to appreciate pictures from their artistic point of view and thus enjoyed building on my basic skills of how to read a photograph

I have remained  motivated throughout the course, although there have been some setbacks. Mainly family health issues when I had to put my photography on the back burner for several weeks for fear of losing focus. Another topic of frustration for me was the presentation of my work. New to blogging and by no means an IT whizz, I have found the set up and running of my blog not without it’s irritations. I have changed the layout several times in attempt to simplify it for the reader and most importantly the assessors!

I have taken on board tutor feedback and  re-shot images for assignments to improve submissions. I have made amendments to the written content, especially earlier projects, based on growing knowledge and experience.  There is no doubt that I have developed a far greater awareness of possibilities for photographs when I’m out and about with my camera. This has been a huge step forward in my photography and probably the biggest change to date.

Going forward I need to embrace the photography ethos of planning, preparation and constantly reviewing my work.  I have a tendency to jump ahead and try to do too much rather than set myself small chunks of work and adhere to my schedule. I tend to over-analyse my work, so I will focus on one section at a time, complete it, and move on.  I am delighted to read that “People and Place” concentrates on doing just that: “Shooting an assignment to a deadline is not so much a burden as a blessing – it focuses attention and is a directive for simply getting the work done”. 

Finally, I would like to work on developing critical analysis skills. Currently I enjoy “reading” photographs, but just describe and record my own interpretation. I read and  accept the artist’s personal view rather than question it.

Brief review of assignments

My first assignment – contrasts, was not as simple as it first seemed and as I set out to find suitable subjects, I realised that what I saw as contrasts,  were not easy to portray in an image. Tutor feedback was disappointing, but looking back now I am somewhat embarrassed at my selection of images.  This is a good sign, as it clearly means I have progressed and that I could now interpret the brief in a far more imaginative way and produce better images.

Elements of design – by far the most enjoyable and interesting aspect of the course for me. I now have a good eye for shapes and angles and following a couple of tweaks, I was very pleased with my final selection of images.  I have since photographed many shapes and angles to incorporate within other exercises/assignments.

Colour –  I now realise the importance of understanding the principles of colour and recognise how colour will work (on the eye, in the brain and in camera) to give greater impact and add interest and emotion to my photographs. I  utilise my new found knowledge of colour appreciation to add an extra dimension to my work.

Light – to say this was my most challenging assignment would be an understatement! Natural light was good, but when I involved artificial lighting it all went to pot.  I had been so caught up getting to grips with the science and technical aspects of light, that I completely ignored everything else I had learnt! With guidance from a friend and the loan of her studio lamps, I re-shot the whole assignment. Michael Freeman stated in the brief “To be realistic, I know some of you would rather move on to other things”. Too true! However the experience was invaluable as  “light” will  crop up regularly during my course, and when it does, I will be in a better place to tackle it.

Illustration and narrative – I enjoyed this piece of work immensely. Initially it was rushed due to time constraints. However before final submission, I took time to re-shoot some images and reviewed my layout.  My finished article has the narrative contained within the images, therefore sequencing is not so crucial. Rather it allows the viewer to wander around the images using their own memories to relate to the subject.  I am pleased with the outcome of my final piece of work for The Art of Photography.  Two years ago I would not have known where to start!

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