General Thoughts

The Comments from Sharon are in now and I have posted them un edited to the blog if you want to have a read, I thought I would share them as they came because they may help those that come after me. I know I was very greatful to students that did this in the past.

Its intresting and I guess obvious that almost everyone who follows this path does pretty much the same thing, we all start out so litteral, sweet is something sugery and gooey sour is a lemon or lime etc etc, if your reading this because you just started the course don’t do that go interpret the words think deeper into the meaning of the word or find a latteral meaning it will make your tutor smile as they don’t have to look at the 4 millionth picture of a lemon.

I have to say that I was very pleased with the comments though I started out with the lime and a sticky mess I gradually started to interpret the words and I was delighted with Sharons comments on my interpretation of Dark and light, I basically interpreted the word dark as sinister and the dictionary opposite of that is angelic.

The biggest learning for me during the first assignment has been the quest for a voice, something that Gareth assures me takes a long time to firstly realise you need it then to discover it take a look at my brighton write up which ill be posting shortly for more on this subject as it was that weekend that started me on my path to find it.

I have spent the last two months since I submitted my assignment reading researching and developing a small portfolio, I took a course with a really nice guy called William Neil who worked for Ansel Adams in his studio many years ago and now is a professional photographer and writer who has a regular column in outdoor photographer, the guy is a genius and he got us over 8 weeks to select a topic and build a portfolio on that topic.

I am currently reading the recommended book by Susan Bright and looking into other photographers, this has become a bit of an obsession as I search out some focus for my photography.

All in all I am very happy with my progress and want to thank Sharon for being such an awesome tutor so far I am now working hard on assignment 2 which I hope to base on the portfolio I started in the short course, with some new images taken to fit the brief and the portfolio.

Comments on Feedback

Overall Comments
Firstly, it was great that you came to Brighton and got so much out of the experience. The ‘epiphany’ moments are wonderful and I hope these will continue and help you get as much out of the course as possible. You are already making huge steps towards understanding the ethos of the course and in time this will translate into your imagery.

I have to say that Brighton was a really wonderful experience I had a fantastic time and I think without going I would have spent a lot of time just getting where it left me. It was well worth going and I look forward to the next one in 2014

It was good that you got the opportunity to join in the critique session and well done for putting yourself forward and engaging so well with the feedback as a new student. I know you see the enormous benefit of seeing other peoples work and taking part in the critique both for yourself and for others.

I really enjoyed the Critique session, I wish OCA led more workshops like that as for me they are such a valuable way to develop, I have always been someone who values constructive criticism, I have never felt it was positive to ignore or be offended y this and so have always actively striven to listen and take on board the comments of others. I a session like this with such a lot of experience and the benefit of tutors not listening would be a crime.

Thank you for sending me prints. The prints themselves are very good quality however the window mounts are a little amateur and a better presentation method are simply the prints alone presented in a nice photographic box. You can get them from silverprint. As you progress through the course you can consider different sizes and types of paper and border options to suit your work. But it is a good start.

Comment registered I will fully take this on board, I was completely ignorant on how to present the work for this first assignment, hopefully you will forgive the clumsy and amateur presentation and note the learning I have taken on board in future assignments

You are clearly demonstrating a level of engagement that will serve you well. Your open mindedness and questioning nature is key. I’m sure we will work well together.

All i can say to that is blushing_smiley_stickers

Assessment potential

You may want to get credit for your hard work and achievements with the OCA by formally submitting your work for assessment at the end of the module. More and more people are taking the idea of lifelong learning seriously by submitting their work for assessment but it is entirely up to you. We are just as keen to support you whether you study for pleasure or to gain qualifications. Please consider whether you want to put your work forward for assessment and let me know your decision when you submit Assignment 2. I can then give you feedback on how well your work meets the assessment requirements.

Assessment for a degree is the primary purpose of taking this module therefore I will state now that it is my full and unswerving intention to submit or assessment!

Feedback on assignment

As we discussed in Brighton, your work developed from a very literal way of interpreting the brief to a much more creative and less illustrative one. This is a fast progression and you should be pleased with that achievement. Thinking beyond the initial and most common responses to the exercises is key and particularly bringing a metaphorical interpretation when you can as this helps go beyond the cliché and more obvious way of seeing.

I wish that there had been some briefing either verbal or written that conveyed this requirement, I understand that in a teaching role it is sometimes effective to force the student to learn a lesson by leading them into a particular mistake and I get the idea that we need to be more interpretive and not literal, however I would love the chance to do this assignment with that at the forefront of my intention I fear there will be no time for such things and the moment has now passed for that

I don’t need to labor the point but just to illustrate your first pictures of sweet and sour, as you know, were a very literal example of photographing the brief (although you did go to a lot of effort to make it overly sickly which is more than most!) however your light / dark images showed that you were beginning to go beyond illustrative thinking and going further into conceptually led work, which is great.

Fully understood

I also really liked the opaque / transparent coupling, simply because you executed an idea effectively and I LIKE that they are similar but different! (No matter what Jesse says!) It’s better than taking a picture of a glass and a brick wall! I think this one works better than the poker set. (But that could be because I don’t ‘get’ poker.)

Ha I agree, I really enjoyed the technical bit of getting those shots, especially as they were done in a hotel room. I better be nice about Jesse though you never know he may end up tutoring or assessing me and I would not want to upset “Genius” 🙂 hope that was enough!

The Hard and Soft in one picture, for me is too contrived. It felt like you had to shoehorn the hard and soft into the frame. Perhaps going out into the world and seeing hard and soft in different scenarios would bring a more interesting interpretation. Don’t feel like you have to go and find a specific picture. Allow circumstances and things to pull you in rather than you having to pull them in. If that makes sense.

Makes total sense the whole assignment felt like me shoehorning images into the description as I said going back and doing it properly would be fun but time and the fact its not assessed make the prospect unlikely

Anyway, you are getting there and the first exercise, I hope, has highlighted to you the ideas to push and the ones to leave behind. Of course feel free to keep asking me questions as you go.

It has started me thinking on many things I look forward to the rest of the course

You demonstrate a strong sense of composition and lighting. This comes across very well in the still lives you set up, however I’m not sure they work the best conceptually. You may wish to try some still lives that also incorporate some narrative.

I have spent a great deal of time since coming back to photography getting the technical bit right I feel that the outcome of this assignment is to drive me toward the more conceptual aspects and I really look forward to working with that

Learning Logs/Reflective Commentaries/Critical essays

Your blog is really well laid out. THANKYOU for taking the time to set it up so well!

You are welcome I am glad you like it, I think its an evolution a work in progress

I would like to see an enhanced level of critical analysis of the photographers you mention. Why you like / dislike them. What you feel is successful about them and if / why you would like to emulate the photographers. (Yes, links to Wikipedia are not valid!)

Noted, I will be endeavoring to do more of this and writing up the work I have already done most of which is in notebooks jotted down in the spare moments at airports and during travel.

Your review of Charlotte Cotton made me proud! Well done for persevering.

It makes me even more proud you feel that way there is a certain pride to that accomplishment.

I didn’t see any reviews of study trips, since you have been involved you would benefit from writing them up while they are fresh in your mind. We (tutors and assessors) are interested in your epiphany moments.

They are all in paper notebooks I will have them all written up before any assessment, they are however done in my note books

Suggested reading/viewing

Edgar Martins – To think more about the use of the aesthetic to say something meaningful, rather than for the sake of aesthetics alone.

Here is the interview I told you about:

Now you have finished Charlotte Cotton you could try Susan Bright’s Art Photography Now or Why photography matters as art as never before, by Michael Fried. But I know you have a heavy box full so you could start with them if you prefer!

You may find it interesting to look at how painters used still life and also how some photographers have done it. Try Sam Taylor Wood for inspiration. Her decomposing still lives for starters.

All good pointers I will work my way through your suggestions I als have a lot of other books from the reading list so lots to do

Pointers for the next assignment

Consider picking a theme or subject matter that matters to you and build a series around that. Keep shooting until you start to see something of what you want to say about it come through. You can use the exercises as subtle visual strategies for achieving what you want to say.

I will consider this carefully and attempt to take your wise words on board.


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