Conclusion and Final Reflection
I have been well and truly coaxed out of my comfort zone during C&N and feel I have progressed enormously. I had no idea just how much I would learn. I now see differently and am more mindful of my surroundings. I have thoroughly enjoyed the reading and research element of this course, I have learned so much, not just about photography, but also photographers, artists, essayists and philosophy!
The topic I felt ‘most comfortable’ with was assignment 2: ‘Photographing the Unseen’. The subject is very personal to me and one I was able to connect with physically and emotionally. I was able to demonstrate, through photographs, a sense of place and convey a narrative of transcending through time. Creating photographs that speak for themselves, through metaphors and with creative use of my camera, gave me a great sense of achievement. Technically this assignment enabled me to develop camera techniques and attempt to get to grips with Photoshop!
The area which is furthest away from who I want to be as a photographer and the one I felt most uncomfortable with, was without question the self-portrait work. Being an introvert and quite a private person, I really didn’t relish the thought of putting my feelings out there. I will talk to friends and family, perhaps write down how I am feeling, but articulating my emotions in a series of images was a difficult task. I have never considered the medium of photography to explore myself in this way. I was aware that I didn’t need to include myself in the photos – I don’t think I am very photogenic – but I wanted to test it out. I was surprised and pleased with the results. The experimentation and general playing around with my camera and laptop helped me create something unexpected.
The main learning for me was how to read a photograph and add my own interpretation. I found the whole concept of contextualisation and how it can be manipulated quite an eye opener. I feel that experimentation and taking risks has had a huge impact on my confidence with the camera and my creative ability.
The assignment I enjoyed working on the most has to be the final one, constructing an image. This piece of work really stirred my creative juices. I enjoy fiction and escapism and have relished the opportunity to demonstrate this through my images. Using props, costumes, models and metaphors to create images offering conflicting narrative, with an air of mystique and humour was such fun. I also found the research around this module fascinating.
Regarding my personal voice – well I really struggle with this. I’m not convinced I actually require one. To try to fit into a specific pigeon-hole is really not me. I tend to go with the flow, or in the case of photography, it’s what interests or appeals to me at that particular time. It is very early days yet, I am still learning, I am still exploring and experimenting. Each assignment pulls me in a new and different direction. Saying all that, there has been a theme running through C&N, one which I purposefully developed as I progressed through the assignments. Predominantly, the passing of time and memories.
Will I return to these assignments at a later date? I’m sure I will – in particular the Essay Writing, but to all of them as reference points.
In the coming year I intend to engage and interact more with the OCA community. Distance learning can be a lonely place and the support and encouragement of fellow students and tutors is a comforting thought as I move into Level 2. My Lightroom and Photoshop skills continue to improve, albeit slowly. I will continue to practice with my camera to become competent with all the features. Most importantly I am keen to continue to grow, learn, develop my photography and have fun!