Assignment Six – Tutor Feedback

As this is my last opportunity to comment on tutor feedback I would like to also comment on the wonderful support provided by Russell. He allowed me to run with some very different ideas, pointed me in the right direction of similar practitioners and made me question my motives behind all the work being produced. The coursework gave the foundation stones upon which I could build my flights of fantasy. Some areas I really enjoyed whilst others I found frustrating. These were mainly down to personal circumstances, working too many hours, illness, looking for a new job etc etc etc.

Without Russell convincing me to carry on, helping me see through the maze of self imposed obstacles I don’t think I would have got here. Whatever the final result, thank you Russell.

Tutor Feedback PDF

Overall Comments

We had a brief conversation about what might be reworked for assignments 1-4, much of which followed the suggestions I made in the feedback.

Straight forward feedback which when reflecting on my work was pertinent and on the whole I followed, occasionally with my own interpretation. Any alternative views I had, I mentioned within my responses.

For assignment 5, we discussed, in more length, both the video submission and the portfolio of images that would accompany this and both are complete, give or take a few tweaks. They work very well as standalone pieces and complementary work, each a different vision of the original concept and a very good demonstration of your technical and creative versatility.

With the video I spent far too many man hours on trying to get it right, and I am still not totally satisfied, but that is the issue with trying to self teach! If I decide to pursue the creative ideas of videos I will DEFINITELY get some help/lessons. Despite the satisfaction of knowing ‘I did this’ I lost far too much sleep over it. Sometimes literally.

As always, even though I know you would have preferred to spend a longer time on this, the research and development for this assignment is excellent and once again shows the depth and detail of your preparation which reveals the level of engagement in both the coursework and your personal fascination and involvement with the documentary genre and the photographic medium.

I would have liked to have included more portraiture/shop interiors but I also had to recognise that there was a time to draw a line and crack on with what I had.

Feedback on assignment

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

From the outset, you had a pretty strong idea about what you would be exploring in this assignment and over (a fairly short) period of time, consolidated your approach to explore two quite different, but linked, outputs. For me, there is a real strength in your ability to be able to visualize the complex concepts at the core of your personal work and you have achieved this through technical skill, a strong imagination and deep research into practice.

I like my ideas, sometimes I initially struggle with how to express them, but with research, contemplation, plus bouncing potential ideas off tutors and peers helps a lot. 

The video piece works much better now. You explored the suggestions I made about producing a less literal interpretation of a ‘walk down the street’ to create more of an impression of the ethos of this place, its purpose and its people. We also discussed the soundtrack and the way the haunting flute melody that accompanies CSP’s Tsunami Sidewalk adds to the atmosphere of the images. The soundtrack with your video certainly creates a more evocative piece, ‘live’ sound effects bring a sense of reality and presence to the work.

With anything creative it is always best to be open minded and flexible, my initial response was too much of a direct copy of CSP’s and I knew this, but it was a good starting place. I was unsure of how the final video would eventually end up and it took a few incarnations to get there. I watched several documentary videos and attended Magnum talks which also assisted with my train of thought.

The stills work very well, you capture a sense of the purpose of each (empty) place consistently, almost as if the invisible clients and owners are passing phase (even with the pub interior where the regulars have their backs to camera) and the addition of the owners’ comments – a little personal and historical context – brings them to life.

Many photographers choose to not include captions or text but I felt that within this body of work it was necessary to complete the narrative. The context of the quotes and the changing faces of the buildings and people for me highlight the transience of life. 

In all the assignments for this course, you have embraced the new and pushed yourself to learn new techniques to advance and articulate your creative vision. You have never been afraid to try something and revise and rework until you feel satisfied with the result; this practice and independent learning and research has been a real strength throughout the course.

It would have been easy to ‘just take photographs’ and whilst this is a photography course I think it important to explore new ways in which it can be developed to express an idea or to send a message. Hopefully I have succeeded in visually expressing mine. 

I think it is always easier to recognize the ‘voice’ of another practitioner, and to be honest, if we are too conscious of our own I feel it might result in conceit and cliché. I can see a real development over the five assignments, moving towards something that will eventually be clearly identifiable as JF’s work. As you say in your reflection:

‘Whilst the stills are more ‘straight’ documentary, the video has more of my expressiveness and openness to explore more creative ways to convey a body of work set in reality.’

What you have done in A5 is identify the key elements that might be expressed through the embrace the form to deliver your subject matter in the way that you feel is appropriate.

Coursework

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity

See above

Research

Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

As always, excellent. Once more for this assignment you have researched a wide range of different sources to support your practice, including primary and secondary methods. VG account of your visit to the Black and d’Agata talk at the Barbican.

Interesting reflection on Zackmann, can’t remember if I pointed you in that direction – his Magnum in Motion essay Un Jour La Nuit is excellent.

I was lucky to have a friend spot the talk at the Barbican and to get tickets, although I possibly saw his work through you pointing out the Magnum in Motion link.

One thing that you might consider in your reflection is the difference between a straight video of this subject and this photo-video; do you feel the latter engages the viewer in a different way; from that sense of time and movement; what extra dimension of experience does it bring?

Good point. Will put my thinking cap on.

Learning Log

Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

The Blog/Learning Log is in very good shape; right up to date, all sections of the course well-documented, with research and exhibition sections reflecting a high level of engagement and proactive and independent learning.

A few tweaks and images to upload to my physical learning log…but that will be done before submission.

Summary

Strengths

Research into practice
Range of research
Exploration and evaluation of concepts

Areas for development

Reflect further on unique properties of medium and impact of stills into moving image.

The response to this will be put on my original assignment 5 page.

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