Tutor feedback reflections: Assignment 4

It took some time for me to select the photograph I wanted to focus on because I knew it needed to be a strong image that I would want to spend some time reviewing. I was pleased to find Dara Scully’s work and knew immediately I wanted to look at one of her images, they seemed so multi layered. The choice of the image was noted in my Tutor Feedback.

…you have chosen a really interesting image for this and explored it and other appropriate images in an informative and interesting way.

I looked at a range of advice on reviewing visual arts and photographs and worked through a number of drafts to shape the final version, while the comparative work came later in the process I found it particularly helpful in focussing on why I had selected this particular image. I am pleased my Tutor felt this approach was appropriate.

…an interesting piece of writing relating to this image and similar and indeed very different representations of childhood in photography. Very competent technical and visual skills

I am grateful to the other OCA photography students for their feedback during the drafting process, which helped me refine my thoughts and writing. I think this really helped strengthen my writing and I am glad it came across.

Your work has shown an application of knowledge in terms of both your research and your own interpretation of this image and what it shows. … Highly effective work presented in a professional way, showing strong judgement.

In initial feedback from other OCA photography students there was some debate about the appropriate balance between personal voice and the views of others in the field. I wanted to include an auto-ethnographic element as I felt it was pertinent to both my selection of and response to the image. I took a risk in leaving in my reflective comments and my tutor acknowledged them positively.

…strong evidence of personal voice. Your own opinions on this image stand out as well as using references from other theorists to provide a grounding to your essay.

This was not an easy assignment to achieve within the word count, there was so much I could have said about this image and throughout I had a concern about whether I was pursuing my points clearly. I was very pleased that my tutor felt the review was of an appropriate standard and quality.

Very articulate and self aware, very well researched, demonstrating a developed intellectual understanding

I found this process incredibly valuable in both looking at the work of others and in taking a more critically reflective approach to my own work.



Studio Playtime

After a week where I seemed glued to a keyboard and screen it was a real treat to pack my photography bags and head over to Wokingham and 10-Studio to meet some of my fellow OCA travellers. I haven’t spent very much time in a professional studio so it was a great opportunity just to be in the environment and see what happened. There is a lot to be said for serious play and plenty of evidence that adults need to do it as much as children.

The studio is in a small industrial park in a good size unit with plenty of space to work. When we were there it had two portrait studio type areas and two product areas. I met up with Holly, Richard, Sarah-Jane and Catherine and we had already had some conversations beforehand about what we might work on – I wanted to have another go at my veil portrait series, Richard wanted help throwing things into shot and Sarah-Jane decided to try something with movement.

It is surprising how much you can cram into two hours! We experimented with the lights, with the skylight blinds closed and open, with shutter speeds, apertures and angles. Sarah-Jane kindly agreed to be my veil wearer and I am pleased to now feel like I have completed that Gestalt. It was something I started as a possible self-portrait project for C&N Assignment three but never quite materialised and I got more interested in the composite work I eventually submitted. It has however niggled me ever since that I didn’t really finish the series so this was a prime opportunity.

Everyone graciously helped me set up and we all took some shots. We then moved on to the other projects, which allowed us all to take photographs we might not otherwise have taken and to hear more about what each of us was doing in terms of developing our photography as well as working on our course work. I tend not to do much work with movement so it was really helpful to see Richard and Sarah-Jane develop their shots and hear about what they were trying to achieve.

Apart from having the opportunity to pick up the camera again after what feels like a few fallow weeks given I am now working on C&N assignment four, the trip reminded me of the value of social learning. While we share a lot through the OCA Facebook groups there is nothing quite like being with other people and hearing different perspectives on photography. An important part of finding our photographic voice seems to me to be about putting our ideas and work out there to see how others respond – however scary that sometimes feels.

Thanks to 10-Studio for allowing us to use the space and to Sarah-Jane for organising the session. I really appreciated the opportunity to work with everyone and look forward to the next one!