Below is my tutor feedback for Assignment 3 with my responses:
You have submitted three sound images that demonstrate your technical skills. It is clear that you are enthusiastic and willing to push yourself. It’s great that you have used in-camera and post-production skills.
I have raised a few issues with the conceptual element of the project, mainly the construction of the images and their relationship to the project theme. Essentially it is about how the final images convey the ideas to the viewer. I think a little more work at the shooting, editing and reviewing stage would have been more beneficial. Essentially, producing self-portraits is a difficult task and staging photography has its own issues. Attention to detail, and having an ability to direct comes in to play and the images could have done with a little more refining in order to get across the emotional impact.
However, it’s great to see that you are prepared to consider alternative approaches and methodologies. Your blog is clear and coherent and the content is easy to access. You have evidenced your artist research and this is growing, so keep it up. I would suggest that you engage in a little more critical input into your own reflections and work though.
Looking forward to the next submission, keep up the hard work!
Feedback on assignment and supporting work
You have submitted an assignment that fulfills the brief. It is clear that you have considered your idea and thought about about your working methodology, how you made the photographs. This relates to some of your research, in particular it is evident that Francesca Woodman has influenced you. This manifests itself in both concept and your visual approach. Placing ones-self within the picture and at the centre of a project is difficult. It isn’t easy has one would imagine.
There are many factors to consider. Obviously, there is the technical element. Your three images are practically well produced and demonstrate your technical ability. A combination of in-camera technique and post-production has resulted in well-produced images. The project appears to have enhanced your technical skills. So, in general your images are sound and demonstrate your ability to apply appropriate skills relating to your idea.
I think that the concept and idea for the project is fine. Dealing with relationships is a common theme, especially within the oeuvre of self portraiture. Therefore, as an artist/photographer it is important to get across the emotions and feelings connected with the theme. The resulting pictures, to successfully engage with the viewer need to work on an emotional level. They need to convince the viewer and stir some sort of reaction when they look at the images.
When I look at your images I’m not convinced. They do not touch me emotionally although it is clear what you are trying to achieve. As I said, producing self-portraits is difficult. Actually, it is the conceptual process involved and not the technical one that is the issue here. The photography that you have produced is staged and therefore much like a film director you need to have more control over the protagonists – in this case yourself and boyfriend. With regards to it being staged, it is a self portrait, so will ultimately be staged, I will need to look further into this to understand how to avoid this.
Unfortunately, the evaluation document attached with the images offers very little contextual Insight into the production of your project. Even basic facts, such as why did you shoot black and white, why the choice of locations and exactly how do the scenarios relate to your diary haven’t been addressed. It would also be beneficial if you talked about your working process, I know that you mention the self-timer but again about how you constructed the shots. I will be able to alter my evaluation upon reworking of this assignment – and add more details to this.
When looking at your reflection upon the images and what they represent I’m finding it hard to relate the two. I think that the issue is that both of you are finding it hard to reenact the scenario and are very aware of the camera. This is at it’s most prominent within image 2. I find it hard to sense an heated argument, yes we all argue with our partners and know what emotionally it takes out of us, here it feels a little tame and just too set up. I think that the images lack rawness a real critique of emotion. Look at Woodman’s images, the contrast and locations. I would be interested in knowing how many shots you took, how many sets ups did you try out and what was the editing process, how did you make the final decisions? Did you shoot all three scenarios in one day? I can see contact sheets on your blog, but these do not evidence other creative approaches and experimentation. Again this is something that can be reworked.
I think that you just needed to spend a little more time thinking about the scenarios and the notion of staged photography. It is a good idea to make sure that you do lots of testing when producing work like this. Be prepared to experiment and try alternative approaches out. Also, when reviewing the work and the final edit it is often better to also someone who isn’t close to the project for their input. Remember, that the work is for an audience, for an objective viewer therefore the work must be able to touch them emotionally for it to be totally successful. With this project, I did get some peer feedback, which I will be able to include upon reworking.
Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays
Your learning log is very good. It is clear that you are looking at and researching a variety of practitioners who are relevant to your work and the course. Your blog is easy to access and coherent. It’s an interesting read and becoming a sound archive of research.
I think that you could concentrate further upon your critical analysis of your own work and ideas. A further interrogation of your process and visual strategies will help your creativity and conceptual input. Please do be prepared to push yourself and reflect upon your actions and progress. This will help you to identify your own voice and take ownership of your work.
I can see that you were given lots to look at in the last report. I suggest that you continue to concentrate reading the theoretical and contextual books suggested, rather than me giving you alternative ones and confusing you!
Of the large list of artists also suggested in the last report I suggest that you look at:
Bettina Von Zwehl: http://www.bettinavonzwehl.com
Broomberg and chanarin: http://www.broombergchanarin.com
Have a look at their methodologies and approaches to narrative. They are very conceptual and apply interesting visual strategies. Their approach to ideas is interesting.
Pointers for the next assignment
• Take the time to reflect further on your initial ideas
• Apply greater critical analysis to your process
• Please do push yourself, be as creative as possible
• Take this opportunity to experiment further
• Evidence your process and progress more
• Take more time to edit and review your final images
• Shoot over a longer period and allow yourself time to re shoot
• Remain focused and enthusiastic