Last night I received my tutor’s feedback on my first assignment. It had taken a while, but was worth the wait.
The opening sentence said: ‘you have submitted an excellent first assignment’. I was tempted to close the email at that point but I read on and was happy with the very positive feedback on the work I had submitted for the assignment and associated exercises.
I’ve written previously about how I enjoy blogging and so I was pleased to see that he also complimented the layout and content of this learning log. While I believe that I’m getting better at it, I still feel that I need to get a little more descriptive and analytical when discussing my own photography and that work which inspires or instructs me. However, it was good to see my efforts were appreciated by my tutor in his comments that I was demonstrating ‘good independent research and an ability to analyse and apply good self-reflection’.
I feel that I can improve on this and as he suggests, will look to include further information on my thought processes, what I did and why to explain my methodology and evidence my decision making.
I was concerned when I submitted the first assignment that the images were taken across a couple of weeks, in different locations and had little to relate them to each other. However, the feedback was that the demonstration of contrast within the pairs was enough to hold the set together when viewed as a whole. My plan for assignment 2 is that all of the images will be shot within a couple of hours, be processed identically and look very similar – further exploring the effect of such variation (or not) to a project. My tutor encourages this suggesting that for the next assignment I ‘could start to consider your projects as series, make work around themes and related ideas, and consider the coherency of working in particular genres.’
The most interesting part of the feedback was the following:
I think what I’m saying is that I can see that you are obviously a competent technician but don’t let technical issues get in the way of your creativity, if you can evaluate and justify your images then that’s closer to the notion of contemporary photography. Personally I like to see ideas, after all photography is about the maker and how they communicate their ideas to their audience, we share a little bit of ourselves every time me show our work!
This idea is exactly why I began the course in the first place. I know that I can take ‘pretty’ pictures, but want to learn how to share my ideas, my vision and my message (whatever that might be) with people. Most of the photographers and photographs that I like best are not necessarily technically excellent. The composition, exposure and sometimes content is not always ideal, but the story is there, between the lines (or pixels perhaps). The photographer has found a way to communicate the story or idea through less obvious methods.
At times I feel a little daunted at the size of the subject. By way of example, yesterday, I posted my first couple of pictures onto the OCA Student Flickr Group and shortly afterwards received a comment on one, suggesting I investigate the work of George Tice, and particularly this photograph. I was blown away – another photographer that I wasn’t familiar with, but exactly the type of image I love and aspire to take. Just when you think you know where you’re taking your learning and practice, more inspiration comes along and makes you consider other ideas and direction.
As I’ve said before, I’m enjoying this…