assignment # 3 – tutor’s comments & re-edited set

I got the feedback for Assignment 3 in time for Christmas. Dave, my tutor commented: “The log is coming along well. I’d like to see a little more content generally but there is plenty of time for this over the next two chapters.” The fact that that I’m only posting this now, 3 months later shows that there’s still a fair bit of work to do on this front. I have done the exercises for both part 3 and part 4, but have been appalling at writing them up. I have no real excuse for this and can only say that my intention is to rattle them off in parallel with doing the narrative exercises over the next few weeks.

But now onto the main part of Dave’s feedback, relating to the pictures submitted for Assignment 3. The slideshow below is a revised set of pictures, incorporating the areas he identified as needing work. I’ll get them reprinted before I submit them for assessment. The original treatment of the pictures can be seen here.

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Overall, the feedback was generally very positive – “Firstly I should say that the colour relationships were mainly all clear and well spotted so well done –this assignment is particularly difficult to do when out of the studio so you have done well. Your diagrams show that you are seeing the different relationships well and composing the frame accordingly, which is the primary objective of the assignment.”

Where it wasn’t positive, it was, I’d say, fair and tended to chime with what I’d thought myself as I was completing the assignment:

  • “There was one image that stood out as not really up to the quality of the others -AoP-A3-06. The sign and shop front are all a little soft from camera shake.” – Premier Halal Butchers is on my way home from the tube; I reshot the picture on a night when it was rainy enough for the neon to reflect back from the paving (Fig 6 in the slideshow above).
  • “The only overall concern I had was that you seem to have had a slightly heavy hand with the saturation controls –presumably in an effort to really make the colour relationships stand out. I would advise against this, you are better off keeping the colours a little more natural. […] The assignment is all about seeing the colour relationships when you are framing, not about creating or highlighting them in post-production.” – I had come to the same conclusion myself when I realised that some of the “accentuated colour” versions of the assignment pictures weren’t all that more accentuated than the “normal” ones; I had spent a fair bit of time isolating the colours I wanted to stress in most of the pictures, reducing the saturation and shifting the hue of things that reduced the clarity of the main colour relationship in the picture; some of the results were downright garish. Ugh! I have now restored the pictures to something much closer to what came out of the camera.
  • “I would like to begin to see is some effort to link the images in later assignments together thematically or narratively.” To an extent, I felt – and still feel – that these pictures all link together in the sense that they were taken on my way to or from work, and my original intention as I started to compile the set was to come up with each of the four categories containing one picture from each four sub-groups – Walthamstow, Public Transport, Glasgow and Oxford Circus with one night shot in each subgroup – but this quickly became more of a hindrance than a help in getting the assignment completed.
  • Finally, one of the pictures was picked out as having a rather tenuous colour-relationship, Fig 9: Red and Blue – London. Again, guilty as charged, I think. It’s probably only there as a throwback to the 4 public transport pictures idea. I shall go through the rejected pictures from the other shoots and see if I can find something that more clearly shows Colour Contrast through Contrasting Colours.

Throughout Part 3, I had been reading and thinking around the work of the New Topographics photographers; following on from this, Dave suggested I look at the work of a number of more contemporary (and more British) photographers, to develop further my thoughts on depicting landscape. I have worked through the list and have particularly enjoyed work by Jem Southern and Fay Godwin. One of the posts I need to write here over the remainder of the course is one that goes into all this more, as I try to make my thoughts on town and country, America and Europe, wilderness and “man-altered”, home and away, past and present etc etc coalesce into something I build on. Watch this space…

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