Below is the feedback from my tutor for Assignment 2, and my responses:
Overall you made a very good piece of work that is conceptually engaging. I like the idea that the participants hand write their thoughts and feelings, which has become a crucial element for the work.
However, I think that the series could have been significantly improved if you would have ‘translated’ the intimacy of the subject on to your process of making the work.
In other words, if you would have set the image up in a studio (possibly shot it on Polaroid) and had the participants write their thoughts on a piece of paper or on the printed images, they would have engaged in the process more actively and the intimate nature of the subject would have been reflected in the process of creating the work.
Apart form that, your work is thoughtful and subjects relating to relations between people (family, couples etc.) seem to be the interest that you are pursuing at the moment.
Your overall engagement with the course, the research and your learning log is very good and I encourage you to continue in that way.
Feedback on assignment and supporting work
- In regards to the first point that I made, I think that by digitally placing a neutral background on to the portraits and digitally placing their handwriting, the concept could be read as an afterthought instead of a predetermined decision that you made in order to influence or strengthen the meaning of the work. My tutor is right here by saying it was an afterthought because it was. The idea of editing out the background and making it into a Polaroid type format was only something that I decided upon when I was looking at the images before they were sent off and how I could get the writing and photos together coherently.
- Although as I already mentioned, the ideas, including the choice of representing the images in ‘Polaroid format’ where very good decisions but they would have been much more powerful if they were created by ‘conventional’ photographic means so in a studio with a neutral background and possibly shot by a Polaroid camera or on negatives on a medium (or large) format camera.
- In the future I would think about what photographic process reflects on the subject in the best possible way and try to use it in order to give your work an additional level of understanding or consistency (For example using a Polaroid camera and having people write on the images as opposed to emulating its style by digitally manipulating them).
- Also by doing that you are giving your subjects more power and involvement in your project. I agree with these comments, and it is certainly something I will look at for future assignments (and in reworking), on how I can present the images in a different way, as opposed to just digitally.
- I also think that your choice to convert the image in to black and white worked out very well although I am not sure that I agree with your statement that by converting the images to black and white, you take away more emotion from them.
- We also spoke about the interaction of image, how the text can give the image power and resonance and how many artists give both image and text equal significance so equal importance in terms of space, framing etc. in exhibitions, books etc. When I was doing the coursework leading up to the assignment, I really liked the images that had text with them as well, and especially the ones that give it a different meaning to the photographs.
Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays
You are engaging with the research very well and your learning log/blog is very good at this point.
The research that is suggested in the course module is a starting point for a direction in which you should take it but it is important that you conduct your own research by looking at the work of photographers that where relevant, visiting exhibition (if possible) and engaging in some theoretical reading so try to take your research to a further level. This is something that I need to improve on throughout the course.
By engaging with a wide range of research you will start to create your own line of interest and start finding your voice as an artist.
Pointers for the next assignment
Regarding self-portraiture and masquerading, Cindy Sherman’s early work comes to my mind immediately. Her work had such a significant impact of contemporary photography that it cannot be ignored.
Also regarding Sophie Calles work, think about, not only how she portrayed herself in her images but also how she installed their work using images, text, and sometimes objects themselves.
Overall, I am very happy with the feedback I have received for this assignment. I feel that I am becoming more comfortable and more competent as a photographer, and am finding the whole studying situation more enjoyable.