I think it is important to say that regardless of tutor feedback, I feel that I have grown as a result of this course and that is really important when learning something that is new.
I was pleased that my tutor though I had done a good job. It was especially good to hear this considering the first feedback indicated that I had a ways to go. However, the feedback given I interpreted that I needed to re-think most of the images, which I have taken on board. I essentially ‘killed my darlings’ for this final assignment.
The feedback this time was less in terms of technical work and more in terms of coherence and meaning. I see now that the images I put together did not necessarily go together and made the final assignment somewhat disjointed. I have already looked through the shots I took and didn’t use as well as taken a few more shots. I also plan to add some with artificial directed light at night but I am not sure how they will fit in the final series, but it is worth a try as my homage to Crewdson.
There were also some suggestions for tightening up the blog, which I have done.
But as I said in the beginning, I have really learned a lot thus far and this has been the most important thing for me.
The feedback for this assignment was pretty good. The first comment was that I needed to be more careful of cropping, as the images were different sizes. I didn’t quite understand this since some where in landscape and some portrait, hence the different sizes. Also she said that it would be an issue if they were to go to exhibition or be printed in a book. From my experience, it isn’t uncommon for photographs to be in different sizes. My watched my friend Lorraine’s images roll off of the printers recently for a show in Halifax, Canada (quite a big one) and her images were all different sizes. So either I misunderstood the feedback, or this is a preference of this tutor.
The other feedback was that they last two images on the nature side were too cold. Having looked at them again, I can see what she meant so I will re-shoot before I submit for assessment.
And the last feedback was that I was shooting in my comfort zone. She is right and while the idea behind the images was interesting, it wasn’t much of a stretch for me. I hope by the time I am finished with this course that I will have addressed this issue.
She didn’t comment on my coursework or research as she said she could find it, however, it was there and I directed her to it in a later e-mail. However, she didn’t give any feedback other than it was looking thorough and on the right track.
Demonstration of technical and visual skills
This assignment wasn’t to take a photograph but instead to analyze someone else’s photograph. I feel comfortable analyzing and deconstructing texts of all kinds, so I think I did an good job of looking at the image and analyzing what is there. With all of the samples we were directed towards, I think I managed to find an analysis style met the requirements of the assignment.
Quality of outcome
I feel confident in my essay skills so I feel I did well on this part in terms of communication of ideas and coherence. I am not sure how my theory of analysing Mann’s childhood will go over, as my tutor noted it needed more research to back it up. I did go back and support it with research, but I realize I am maybe taking a risk in keeping this theory in the final essay.
Demonstration of creativity
This is an academic essay therefore creativity does not necessarily apply. However, I guess you could say that the way I approached the analysis was creative. Comparing Mann and Arbus, if I successfully stated the case well enough, could be considered as a creative endeavor.
I did a fair amount of research on this essay and I think I chose the best sources to support my analysis. Contextually I think I set the essay up well enough to have a balanced sense of who Mann is as well as my analysis of the photograph.
As far as reflection goes, I have been in a constant state of reflection. For one, I used my usual approach to writing which is to do it step by step and in between give it time to ‘cool off’ so that my brain can process what I have written. After the conference with my tutor, I gave it 48 hours before I went back to the paper, and after that I added and subtracted parts. I feel this reflective process is the best way to write and I hope it shows in the essay. It was also helpful to have feedback on a very rough draft, so I hope I can do that for future assignments at level 2.
Otherwise I have been thinking a lot about assignment 3 and my tutor’s suggestions and assignment 5 has also been on my mind a lot as I am planning to photograph myself again. I was advised to make it a work that springs from the previous work, so I am thinking a lot about that and trying to decide how to conceptualize my ideas.
I re-watched Sally Mann’s movie after my skype call with my tutor. I picked up a few more things that I might add to the analysis that is assignment 4.
One thing that Robert nudged me towards was on substantiating my analysis that Mann photographed her children because of a lacking of being seen as a child herself by her father. Because I didn’t have anything to back it up, I needed to go back to the drawing board.
This inkling I have is pretty strong for some reason, so I don’t want to drop it. This morning, I spent a couple of hours reading interviews, articles, etc., about the Sontag quote on Arbus that sparked this idea about Mann and her father. I wrote something up and I will further develop and add research to after I give it some time to cool off and let my brain digest what I have written. Plus, the paper is up to 1300 words at the moment, so there is some editing in my future.
In the film, there are bits that I missed regarding her father as well as the way that her husband defines her as a photographer. Her mother also adds some interesting tidbits about Mann’s childhood that could further develop my analysis, though I think I might be going a little overboard on context.
I also need to come up with a question to frame the essay as well as add the image.
He also have some more reading suggestions, which I shall do straight away and hopefully be able to use in my analysis.
Back to the drawing board! Well, not entirely, but I do need to go back and re-shoot some shots.
The two main things I need to work on are making the shots more crisp by being in more control of the camera. I am not sure why the ISO was so high on the ‘Lost’ shot, so I will need to go back and figure that out. Also, on my favorite shot, “sun worship” my face is out of focus, so I need to re-shoot that one as well.
The leaf image did not fit according to my tutor, so I have scheduled to Skype with him for some further clarification, but essentially I think that because the write-up was too long my rationale for doing what I did was lost.
Also, I will need to re-shoot without so many different outfits. I though at first it would be better to have different clothing–not sure why I thought that, but I think what I will do is shoot in all black and barefooted.
Also, I think I will take some shots when I am down on the coast this spring as that location would be ideal. But then my guess is the mixture of woodland and beach will be an issue. =)
For assignment 2, I am going to try and take some images this weekend of MUNDP since it will be white shirts galore.
The last one that I need to focus on is trying to shoot each day. This causes me some anxiety because my days are pretty full. But I figure if I just start taking pictures at school each day, it won’t cut into my time at home with my family and myself. I will get started today on this, because I know that “I’ll start tomorrow” is a slippery slope. Upwards and onwards!
After my results from EYV, I am feeling a little less confident than I was a few months ago about my work and how I am progressing, but I know as a teacher myself that this is all part of the process of learning, so I will persevere.
Demonstration of technical skills
I feel mostly confident with my ability to compose an image. I think my eye is good in that I am able to see what makes a visually appealing image (to my criteria at least). I still am working on the technical part of photography. I have a lot to learn I know in regards to post-production especially, but I am working on it, I am just not ‘there’ yet.
Quality of Outcome
I think this is a strength. I have a lot of experience in writing and communicating my ideas so I feel that I am able to compose a coherent piece of writing that clearly gets my ideas across. I also think I used the course content well in thinking about the visual narrative and what that means to the different ideas out there in the world of art photography.
Demonstration of Creativity
One of the things I have noticed about my own photography is that I am drawn to a ‘clean’ palette and these photographs definitely have this. Though I know there is a fine balance in finding my own voice and style and doing work that is different. So I see myself as still developing the creative side of my photography. One thing I struggle with is authenticity in my work. Some of the work I see is, to me, contrived, and it doesn’t appeal to me. So for this project I felt that posing was more straightforward and honest in the sense that both me and the subject knew it was an unnatural situation and I make that very clear in my write-up. So what I need to work on is creativity that to me feels and looks authentic–whatever that means.
Again, after the assessment feedback I feel not quite sure about my self-assessment in this realm because I considered it a strength in my work. I spend a lot of time reading books about photography and I feel I use this effectively in my assignments. For this assignment, I took a risk and didn’t create a typical narrative. I did this one because I am a literature teacher so I wanted to try something that was different than the classic plot line but also because in my research I found people talking about the non-linear visual narrative. I am also still navigating my way through the term post-modern and how it applies to my work, so I tried to incorporate some of those ideas into my work. Regardless of the feedback, I have learned a lot research wise, so it has been a meaningful experience.
Going into this, I already had the idea that nothing is objective. The EYV course made that very clear to me, but also just my life experience has shown me that images are never fully telling the truth.
One only has to think of the recent debacle of the US elections. Daily my FB feed is saturated with images pro and against both candidates and each time there is a certain shot juxtapositioned with a certain text to create a certain effect. In fact, I so acutely see this that I am shocked and appalled at what some of the web sites and ‘news’ sites are publishing. My grade 11 IB students are better at deconstructing texts than many voters in America.
The camera is so easily manipulated by its handler that simply moving it to the right or left can make a difference. I had a discussion with a colleague last year when we were recording our classes to use as a reflection tool. He insisted that someone hold the camera and walk around but I felt strongly that this would create the narrative of the person holding the camera and wouldn’t show the entire story. I felt that the camera should have been placed in one area in the classroom where it wouldn’t move so you could see all of the action in the classroom. He insisted it wouldn’t work as well, but I still feel that it does make a huge difference because when he came in there were about three minutes of film where he focused on the only student that wasn’t on task and left out the 20 others that were working productively in their groups. I feel it portrayed an environment that doesn’t exist in my classroom. Had he been stationary at the back of the classroom he would see how I was attending to the other students, but keeping an eye on this student, who I then walked up to after he took the camera off of him.
As for the terms explored throughout part 1, I feel that documentary, reportage, and photojournalism have become quite blurred in the current media. However, art photography stands out to me as I see art photography being art because the artists has created a context and a concept, and without this, dare I say it isn’t art, and it would fall back into another category.