Assignment 5 – Personal Review

Course Outcomes

On successful completion of the course you’ll be able to:

  • use the principles of composition when planning and taking photographs using suitable cameras, lenses and other equipment
  • demonstrate skills in the control of qualities of light, and colour, and demonstrate creative outcomes using these skills
  • demonstrate a basic knowledge of the principles of graphic design in photography through a single photograph or a series
  • reflect on your learning experience.

AoP Coursebook

I think, in the terms of the outcomes stated above, I have successfully completed this course.

In the section on assessment in the Coursebook, these outcomes are then broken down into 4 areas, each corresponding to one of the Course Outcomes, above, and then further subdivided. Where I have already covered something in some depth in the posts dealing with how I came to produce my submission for Assignment 5 – 75 Years After – I have only given a brief summary here.

Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills

  • Materials: The physical manifestation of 75 Years After is made up from the cheapest prints I could have made – 6 x 4, colour, gloss, no borders – by Snappy Snaps with the exception of the composite Heinkel/Google Earth picture which was an even cheaper 6 x 4 colour, gloss, no borders print made on a machine in Boots. I had already used the print module in Lightroom to add enough blank space around the prints to make the 5:4 ratio pictures fit on 3:2 paper. The individual prints were connected using masking tape after they had been trimmed down to give an even amount of white around the picture. For the book dummy I have produced and submitted, this works fine I think.
    I have wondered how I could go about getting long strips made with some provision for folding them into concertinas and have come to the conclusion that you’d need to some sort of mass edition with five copies being made on one large sheet of paper. This would therefore presumably have to be inkjet printing (or else unaffordable) changing everything about the way it all would look. If I do go for applying the same process to another two or three streets and putting on a show at the next Walthamstow Art Trail, I may follow this up and, at the same, time get larger prints (á la the Steffi Klenz original) made for the actual display.
  • Techniques: I have gone into great detail earlier about how the pictures were made and processed. I think I have felt in control of the process and am happy with everything apart from my inability to get it right sooner while taking fewer pictures. I am still overshooting dreadfully and need to curb this as the resulting overhead in editing terms is one of the main reasons why my progress through this course has been slower than I would have liked. I realise I should include a contact sheet of the final pictures, before any post production had occurred. I will do as part of my response to my tutor’s notes on the assignment.
  • Observational Skills: I have been aware of the bombsites that punctuate large sections of Walthamstow for a long time, and I continue to spot new ones. I am – I think – capable of seeing starting points for further investigation in the world around me.
  • Visual Awareness: I find it hard to separate this from the previous heading. Possibly this is because this was a piece of work which was planned rather than pulled together on the fly with me reacting to input from my senses.
  • Design and Compositional Skills: As stated in the previous post, I think the pictures work both as individual photographs and together in sequence.

Quality of Outcome

  • Content: I think the subject matter is suited to the i; the treatment may not work in terms of a magazine photo-story, but as a narrative it holds together.
  • Application of Knowledge: I believe that I have applied many of the things the course has been concentrating on  – composition and awareness of light in particular – in this piece of work. There is nothing that sticks out as shoddy or ill-judged.
  • Presentation of Work in a Coherent Manner: As well as the finished narrative, I hope the narrative of how I got there that is found in the posts on this blog makes sense and leads the reader through the development of my submission from the original idea to the finished “book”.
  • Discernment: I don’t think that what I am doing in this assignment is “obvious” to all as a subject. In this sense, I think I am displaying “discernment” while at the same time not really feeling comfortable with it as an ascribable quality.
  • Conceptualisation of Thoughts & Communication of Ideas: comments left on the published posts here on my blog and also feedback I’ve received from people who have looked at my pictures both as work in progress and as a finished narrative suggest that I’m doing alright at this. People have definitely “got” what I’m trying to do in this assignment and have been interested enough to spend time thinking and talking to me about it. At some level at least, what I am doing is managing to communicate with others.

Demonstration of Creativity

  • Imagination: In this assignment, I have taken something that is there and made something from it, rather than plucking something from nothing or putting together disparate elements to create some new synthesis.
  • Experimentation: I have however pared back the elements that make up a narrative, leaving I think something fairly minimal that still tells a story (or two).
  • Invention: Physically, I have made a concertina/book which – while not original –  does show an ability to combine things into something new.
  • Development of a Personal Voice: This is where I think this course has truly paid off. Before the course, I think that while I was comfortable taking pictures on trips to new places either abroad in the UK, I was less able to come up with things that make up my basic surroundings. I have many pictures from Moldova or Kiev or Brazil; my pictures of London (where I have now lived for nearly 17 years) or of Glasgow (a total of nearly 13 years) have never really felt comfortable somehow, particularly in contrast with pictures I have taken in Orkney (20 years; see Assignment 2). Now I think I am finding ways to photograph and present things that are familiar to my; things that make up my day-to-day surroundings. Now I feel that I am beginning to make visual sense of London in a way that I always have been able to when I’m in Orkney.

Context

  • Reflection: I think I have managed to combine viewing exhibitions, reading and the coursework to date into a coherent body of work. I think I have managed to document that process here, on this blog.
  • Research: I am pleased with the way I have taken something I have noticed (a possible bombsite) and fleshed it out into something with a when and a how and a what attached to it. I find it slightly worrying that until the point when I found the Borough Council record of the bombing, that it had never crossed my mind to think of people being killed. I think I had somehow placed everyone neatly in shelters, safely away from the destroyed houses…
  • Critical thinking (learning log): I think I have been able to think critically about both my work and others’ throughout the course. During parts 3 and 4 however I found great difficulty in turning this thinking into critical writing (or indeed into writing of any sort). During part 5, I think I have done better, producing nearly nine thousand words (over 10,000 when you take this into the equation) of quite decent writing, backed up with good pictures from the exercises. I think a good part of my problem here is in striking a balance between keeping a record of personal thoughts and of at the same time creating a published document. There are many posts stuck at draft stage. I will attempt to take as many of them as possible into a state where I am happy to make them public, before this blog must be submitted in September, while at the same time not letting this tendency to revise and fret over posting get in the way of the next course, Context and Meaning

Throughout The Art of Photography I have found these personal reviews consistently difficult to do. iI think I can analyse what I’m doing and how well I do it; putting it into words is somehow much harder. Hopefully, I will get better at it as course follows course…


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One thought on “Assignment 5 – Personal Review

  1. Judy Bach

    An excellent summary and good luck with assessment .
    I think we all fret and worry over reviews and posts , its something I still do , sometimes spending days before being happy with what I have done !
    I look forward to following your next course.

    Reply

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