Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Assignment Three Tutor Feedback

Overall Comments
Once again an interesting range of work has been completed here Katie, with some images working slightly better than others.

Key issues I mentioned within my last feedback report were as follows:

• Look at the work of the Bill Brandt, Martin Parr, William Eggleston & Stephen Shore.
• Demonstrate evidence of Workbook / Sketchbook development

It was good to read some of your assignment research from the outset and I’m really happy to see you are citing academic references throughout your text / annotation now. This will really add rigour to the submission when you come to summative feedback at the end of the module. The other observation that was interesting was the addition of the graphic colour illustrations to support each image. This was a curious way of spelling out to the viewer precisely what your intentions were in terms of colour contrast etc. My only other thoughts about the assignment were in relation to the way in which you structured it IE: Beauty / Flowers / Household / Out & About. This certainly provided the opportunity to vary your subject matter which was what the brief initially suggested. In all, the submission pack was comprehensive and came together well covering all angles, which was both useful and made things easy to feedback on. It is exactly this ease of navigation that we need to aim for when considering assessment at the end of the module. This is because the assessors will need to be able to ensure you have met all the learning outcomes and by displaying this in an orderly and methodical manner, it ensures everything has been considered.

Assignment Feedback

Although I did like some of the ‘Beauty’ category, I thought the ‘Out & About’ worked best to be honest. In my opinion it is generally harder to seek out these contrasts / harmonies in nature and that is what has made some of Eggleston & Shore’s work so appealing. This next shot, which was part of William Eggleston’s 21/4 series shows this harmony perfectly.

The first portrait of green / orange has worked well enough for you and I’m glad to see things are developing in terms of the use of a MUA now. This will in future give you one less thing to worry about and add a touch of professionalism into the work. It is always good to get somebody in who knows what they are doing within their specialist discipline. Then we jump to the next category, which just might have been a little confusing really. It may have worked better grouping by category so we saw all the images within the ‘Beauty’ category together ?

Your macro work seems to be coming along very well, but I’ve always found this type of photography so specific and very stylised … I don’t think I’ve ever had cause to put it into action. I think what I am trying to get at here, is that this very specialised type of imagery tends to look very similar from person to person, so you therefore need a very good reason to use it, in order for the images to start becoming more about ‘why’ rather than just ‘how’. I hope that makes sense and I don’t want to sound too derogatory here !

The next shot again although it has the label ‘household’ this very similar to the last image in the ‘flowers’ category. Maybe these two categories work as one and you could argue ‘flowers’ as a sub-section of ‘household’ anyway. Thinking along these lines ‘beauty’ could be a subsection of ‘out & about’ and so forth. This is why I’m ensure how effective these labels are and whether it might have been better to approach this assignment just photographing anything and not trying to categorise at all ? Just a thought anyway ! If you look closely at the work of Eggleston and Shore [not that I’m suggesting you try to mimic either of them] but I’m certain this work was not conducted with a ‘category’ in mind and generally just progresses through random associations that work well together.

Other notable shots that work well here would be the shot of the hand holding the yellow rail. This struck me as being well observed and judging by the additional yellow in the background, at that point in time, must have only worked this well for a moment, until the train moved forward.

One other point I’d like to mention was the use of the wooden background in the ‘Beauty’ category. Was there a reason for this or was it just close to hand? The reason I ask is that background in a portrait can so often be overlooked. Take the work of August Sander for instance …. in a Sander image, the surrounding space within the frame is paramount. It is never neutral and in this way can often signify status. Nothing is left to chance and everything has purpose and eventually adds to context. See image below for an example of Sander’s work.

Learning Logs/Critical essays

The blog is really coming on now and showing some additional imagery which supports the work submitted. You are posting a lot of practical output and theoretical considerations on here also which is good to see. [I think I even found some of my feedback on there !] I like the inclusion of the reflections section and really enjoyed reading about how you think the module is panning out for you etc.

In addition to this, I noted some thoughts on recent reviews in BJP [Richard Mosse] etc … but would also encourage any thoughts you might have on any recent photographic exhibition / shows you have been visiting. [These may actually be up there, but I just didn’t stumble across them] This is certainly of ongoing importance to your studies, as seeing the works in real life will have much more relevance than just viewing the plates in a book. [Mosse’s work is currently on at Open Eye, Liverpool] You can also start to try and review what you have seen in order to practice writing and thinking critically about photography.

Suggested reading/viewing

Penn, I.2001:Still Life. London. Thames & Hudson.
ISBN-13: 978-0500542484

Weston, E.1999: Edward Weston (Photographic Study). London. Taschen ISBN-13: 978-3822871805

Sander, A. 1995. Face of Our Time. Germany. Schirmer / Mosel Verlag ISBN-13: 978-3888142925

Follow Up Work

I have noted in your workbook [images attached at end of assignment] that you have followed up the some of the photographers suggested and I hope they were of benefit to you. It’s important to continue to read around these practitioners as they will have an ongoing relevance to your studies at this level. In terms of your next assignment, I would suggest looking at the work of both Edward Weston and Irving Penn in specific relation to lighting an object and still life experimentation – take a look at Sander also if you haven’t already. [See Suggested Reading]

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