Assignment Four – Tutor Feedback

Again I was very pleased with my feedback.

Tutor Feedback PDF

Overall Comments

This is a well-structured essay, articulate and cogent, dealing with a complex and topical subject.  Considering the limited word count, you explore a number of issues very well and provide examples of practitioners work from the 70s (and some earlier) to the present day.  There is evidence of detailed and focused research and an excellent bibliography with citations used sparingly and effectively throughout.

One general point I would make is for you to provide more evidence of the way social media, in particular, has altered perception of the female image – is there any evidence to show that contemporary female photographers have found a wider audience though say, Instagram and influenced informal or commercial photography (for example in fashion)?

In writing my essay I did have a brief look but couldn’t find anything specifically that I felt could be cited ‘academically’ beyond the mentioned ‘Girl on Girl’ publication which mentioned that several female photographers used social media to promote their work.. I’ll have another look about.

Feedback on assignment

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity

You provide a good historical context and perspective for the way women practitioners have engaged with the medium and how their work and writing has influenced current thinking and practice. This is especially the case in academia where there is a greater possibility now for women to explore gender issues in the Media – e.g. Jansen’s ‘Girl on Girl’ (really unfortunate title as you say), and critical theorists like Liz Wells.  Throughout, you demonstrate a good understanding of how modern critical theory – Foucault et al – has also influenced (or liberated) ideas and approaches.

The role of women has clearly influenced the medium (Sherman, Opie, Brotherus et al), but disappointing that there is still a large degree of ignorance or lack of regard in the way many men perceive the subject.  Only last week Nikon announced a group of 32 photographers would be invited to test the new D850 – they are all male.

And of course cultural and gender based pressures are still prevalent even among women (see my note later about China) – hence the Sarah Vine article – albeit under the instruction of the Mail’s Monster in Chief.

You quote Wells: ‘the shift in focus has influenced new themes within the work of male photographers’, it would be useful to include a couple of examples outside of fine art, maybe from portraiture or fashion?   The battle, as you suggest, citing Charley Murrell’s   ‘Constructed Childhoods’, is wide ranging – look at the flak that J Lewis too this week over their gender neutral labelling for kids clothing.

Will look for newspaper reports re this and cite them.

The Mail again:

It would be interesting to see who Cindy Sherman’s recent Instagram portraits are reaching and what, if any, kind of debate are they creating outside of the arts.  At the moment she has 134 thousand followers, quite a number for a niche fine artist.

The Instagram data about narcissism is interesting but feels a bit dislocated here and would certainly be fuel for further research and study.

As per the suggestion above about looking at something outside of photography I wanted to show I had look at different types of social media and academic study, but it isn’t a deal breaker to remove.

In addition to the good research you’ve done, it’s worth taking a look at the early influence of the late Francesca Woodman as a feminist icon, and in more commercial practice whether the late Linda McCartney’s work in the music world, Annie Leibowitz’s portraiture (especially as much of her work is constructed), and Sally Mann in her semi documentary and auto biographical work.

Finally, while acknowledging that women have clearly changed the face of contemporary photography and the ground on the ‘female gaze’ has shifted, I think there might be other cultural issues coming to the fore in Social Networking.

For example, in China, anxiety and insecurity about self-image in young women is very high, and this is reflected in images posted on Weibo and Instagram, with the manipulation of selfies to copy/emulate an aesthetic ideal of large eyes, long face and pointed chin – the ‘look’ of  famous actor Fan Bingbing – now a mere 16th in the Weibo list of popular celebrities with a mere 56 million followers.

Alarmingly this goes much further with would be TV celebrities undergoing plastic surgery to create a ‘perfect look’, with young women in their tens of thousands travelling to South Korea in pursuit of the perfect face.


Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity



Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

As Above

Learning Log

Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

Your Learning Log is up to date with excellent and detailed responses to the exercises.

At some point you might want to revisit the research and exhibition section and provide a chronology of what you have seen/been doing and when, to give some idea of progression.

Suggested reading/viewing


For A5

A quick search:

Some historical context


Excellent focused research…and research into practice. High level of reflective skills