This is authentic documentary work. You’re searching for character and mood in the social condition of Barrow Island. It’s bleak but it communicates an idea of social degradation and the plight of working people. You’ve shown a lot of commitment here; this looks like the work of a mature observer of human life. Pleased to read that I am progressing well in this area – observing human behaviour and life in general. As previously mentioned this is something I wish to pursue and develop further.
Some of this work reminds me of pictures of post-war Britain in its compositions of people in relation to the environment. But you’ve also been skillful in your framings to avoid too many people or cars. My aim was to portray the disconnect. The social environment of Barrow Island is far removed from that in nearby Barrow town.
Feedback on assignment and supporting work
Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity
Your opening shot, as you call it, sets a scene. I took on board previous feedback, by setting the scene I am providing a context to my images. It conflates visual symbols into a social narrative: barbed wire, fences, industry, dark waste ground and cold looking houses. It looks like there are too many demarcated areas for freedom to flourish.
In many ways this is a classic cinematic social documentary shot. The man is at the same time dwarfed and excluded from industry (= work). Strong use of framing and composition to communicate the idea clearly.
Really pleased with this photo. My intent was to convey different layers of meaning: insignificant person set huge industry backdrop, redundancy, pushing against the boundaries, the factory is/was the nucleus of the town…..
These lads don’t necessarily look like they are working, but what it does look like is that their conversation is very serious. This picture makes it clear you wanted a high contrast, vivid colour look to this series – something that goes against the cliché of a grainy black & white rendering. That was a good decision. There’s something sharp about the colours and you’ve managed to organize them well in the frame. I chose to use colour in contrast to the familiar black and white images found in my research.
This long shot of a group of children in the street is really good. You were exceptionally lucky to get a street without cars! One of the reasons I took the shot was because this was Saturday afternoon, the streets were eerily deserted. It’s nicely framed because you manage to capture the sense of place which is quite grim and that is contradicted by the kids.
This looks like America to me. It’s bleak. It’s also really well organized within the frame. The eyes wander easily around picking up information: the discarded chair, the worn tarmac, the red brick building, the pink child running; all this builds a sense of urban desolation.
There’s something funny about this. He’s in a very unconducive place for a swim but it looks like he’s going to jump in anyway! It’s a fish out of the water picture; the subject looks so out of place it transforms out reading of the space. An emotive image – for me it evokes sadness.
I like this a lot because to me it speaks of a time gone by – a time which died in England in the 1980’s. This is the good neighbour who goes out in her dressing gown because it’s ‘her’ street and her street is her home.
I think you could lighten the satellite dishes a touch just to emphasize them. I tried it here with the Curves tool. I think what it does is introduce the ‘problem’ of social alienation caused by too much TV. Yes, and the contrast here is that this woman is being sociable!
Again a nice social detail, with this woman looking out at you from her window. There is plenty of environmental information: the crumbling bricks and railings; the woman provides a ‘centre’ for the picture.
It looks a bit slanted left, maybe you should see what you can do in Photoshop’s Lens Correction Filter to get it looking a little less skewed.
The tenement blocks are grim reminders of the past and they have a powerful visual presence, dwarfing the man with his dog.
Schooner Street looks like it didn’t make it through the recession and this photo of a closed down and barricaded hairdressers emphasizes the point. Good choice of what to frame and how.
Denise’s looks like it’s holding on all right but times are certainly not rosy! It’s a good street detail. I think I miss the human element here which gives a ‘centre’ to many of the other photos. I purposefully chose to show the image absent of human presence – closed shop.
Lighten up the path a touch so we can see the dog better. This is a grim picture that tells a story of a corporate relationship with the community. The fences are very strange, make-shift looking things. Strong sense of place here, well composed with that wonderful human centre.
Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays
Your text is good and quite honest. Your images are expressive of a place of economic hardship but with a tight-knit community. You clearly know something about this community and looked at photos from the 1950’s – which I think deeply influenced your work. For the good of it. For research, I looked at Bert Hardy, Nicholas Battye and Julian Germain in particular.
I have a tendency to over-saturate colour in my images. For my final submission I have decided to take the colour back down thus portraying a more representational view. I have also printed the twelve images and will be submitting these for formal assessment.
You may want to have a look at Jean-Marc Bustamante’s photographs. It’s interesting and unpretentious. Maybe a take on urbanization that will refresh your view. I have looked at the work of this photographer and noted the absence of people and lifestyle in his images, more the progression of buildings and landscapes to accommodate people.