Assignment Three – Tutor Feedback

Again I was really pleased with my feedback.

Tutor Feedback PDF

Overall Comments

This is a comprehensive and detailed submission at every level; research; practical application and exploration; revision and reflection; and self-assessment.  It would be worthwhile in preparation for assessment submission, for this assignment (retrospectively – just the images) and for A5, sending me a set of hard prints so we have a chance to discuss quality, presentation etc.

Something to consider.

Feedback on assignment

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

Visual Storytelling

This is a sensitive subject and a most topical one, with the continuing issues of underfunding and lack of provision for mental health in the UK, and for you a personal and clearly important subject.  Many of us have been touched by the sudden and unexpected suicide of a friend or colleague, and the lingering and conflicting emotions that follow. A better understanding of why this happens, some insight and awareness would help everyone and bring to light the shortcomings and lack of funding for those who suffer.

The range and breadth of research undertaken for this assignment has allowed you to both address the facts (extraordinary statistics for Kent County) and to bring a personal interpretation to addressing the issue.

The additional information is essential for providing the viewer with a context for the narrative and to support the images; your texts, minimal and complimentary, work very well. For the method of presentation, you looked carefully at the work of several professional practitioners to get an idea of how it might work – very good practice. I think for this subject, the use of a single consistent format helps the viewer move through the narrative without having to make compositional adjustments – a small thing perhaps, but effective.

The front and back covers are images from the set. The former, the divided path is an invitation to consider the decisions we have to make alone and perhaps the consequences even though seemingly innocent at the time. The latter offers a sense of hope, and perhaps a different reading of the shot from its first appearance (I wonder if you might lose the superimposed text from this?)

I had included the text so that the layout resembled how a book would possibly be printed but it isn’t a deal breaker and I can lose it.

One of the staged shots that used to very good effect; the silhouette of the young man, semi anonymous and symbolizing the predominance of men ‘in a dark place’, with so few aware of the turbulence they are facing (I have lost three male friends and acquaintances over the years).  From a technical point of view, the shot works well with the rim light and the strong, shallow three quarter back; I was once advised by a top director of photography that it’s always worth considering just a touch of fill, a suggestion of form in the dark areas.

The second constructed image, a shrine, is subtle memorial using elements that reflect the boy’s interests.  It’s good to see you trying out ideas and revising your approach to see how effective variations might be. From a compositional point of view, I might give a touch more space at the left and right border, bringing the bowl and pebbles closer together to reduce the negative space in the centre of frame.  Also, it might be worth trying a shallower depth of field (or greater separation of elements) with this to make the foreground flowers softer – rather than only just soft?

I think I have some images that are shallower depth of field due to experimentation, I will have to check. Could re-shoot the image but given the fast approaching final deadline date I may not be able to do this.

The following two images work together quite well, one is a sense of loneliness and isolation in a public recreational space, the following is a boy alone – probably the most literal image in your set.  As you say in your notes, it seems strange to many that people choose a place of beauty as to commit suicide, but it is common worldwide.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/life/2011/06/26/general/inside-japans-suicide-forest/#.WcTJy9N97fY

I read too much into images at times, but the following shot with the young girl at play, a sense of continuing life, and the three static stone sculptures resemble ancient tombs or memorials.  This is a tricky shot and obviously a personal interpretation that works well in the set, but perhaps not as a stand-alone image – something you discuss in your reflection.  An unidentified suicide is a very hard image to recreate with any approach.

In the context of the theme, the following shot of the bridge across the busy dual carriage way is full of menace; especially with the motion blur of the lorry passing by. It does feel a bit at odds with the earlier images which tend to the pastoral and isolation.

I agree it is a little at odds, but works in that respect in that the locations for suicide does vary, they are not all pastoral and isolated they take place in very public and busy spaces for example the people who fall onto train tracks.

The shot in the shopping centre doesn’t really work for me.  The idea behind it is clear, and the accompanying text does help to explain the circumstances and the unexpected choice of location (which is an important factor).  It would be interesting to see what alternatives you were looking at for this shot in particular – are they the high angle shots over the car park?

I have some high angle shots taken from the car park but they were tricky to get the shot I wanted as they have now installed a very high safety fence to prevent similar incidents and I felt they did not really convey the message I wanted. I will have to re-visit my thumbnails.

The shot of the ‘Mind’ offices sums up what I said at the outset about lack of investment and consideration.  Works so well.

A really interesting idea and information about an organization that I’d never heard about. From a compositional point of view, I’d go slightly higher to reduce the amount of forearm and maybe a touch closer to the tattoo.  But I like the subtlety of the soft focus head in the background.  Looking at your contacts I prefer 2789 – personal choice.

Again I shall look at either cropping closer with the shot I have used or look closer at the thumbnails.

Further feedback given later was that the brightness and colourfulness of the images could be perceived to be slightly at odds with the subject matter but my intention was not to be ‘obvious’ with colour cast or darkness of the images. The locations were used by the public all the time and did not always have a sombre atmosphere. I hoped to show the juxtaposition between the overall perception of the place rather than a one off incident to permanently taint a location.

Coursework

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity

In addition to my comments above, for this assignment you have produced a very good range of images demonstrating your technical abilities and creative versatility.    See my notes for A5 below.

Research

Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

I discussed your excellent approach to research earlier; one that allows you to combine factual information with a distinct personal approach and interpretation.  Don’t forget, where you can, to explore the work of artists from other media.  This applies particularly to exhibition visits and articles/journals you might be reading – although I note that your research section is comprehensive.

Learning Log

Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

Your self-assessment is a confident and honest account and highlights your continuing progress as you progress through the course.  You write:

‘I wanted to use: Joel Sternfeld’s images came across as very sombre and Donna Wan’s too romantic. The disparity between the different approaches really underlined the individual subjectivity, reflexivity and authorial control of each photographer and how they used their photographic style to create a mood and put across their interpretation of a narrative.’

I think this shows how aware you are becoming of the photographer’s voice an attribute that you are developing in your own work.

Some excellent work in your Learning Log, a detailed and cogent report on Post Colonial Ethnography, well-structured and with good examples – quite a fascinating area of study, especially when compared to contemporary portraiture and social study in the west.  Similarly, for Ethics of Aesthetics, evidence of thorough and detailed enquiry and understanding.

Suggested reading/viewing

Context

Let’s discuss this when you have a better idea of what you’re going to do for A5.

Pointers for the next assignment / assessment

A4 is already complete.

I think for A5 (in contrast to the requirements of the A3 brief) you might look to produce a set with a consistent creative voice – something that is distinctly Janice F.

We have already begun to discuss potential projects for A5

Assignment Three – Re-work

Again some really positive feedback with a few suggestions:

The front and back covers are images from the set. The former, the divided path is an invitation to consider the decisions we have to make alone and perhaps the consequences even though seemingly innocent at the time. The latter offers a sense of hope, and perhaps a different reading of the shot from its first appearance (I wonder if you might lose the superimposed text from this?)

This can easily be replaced

BackCover

with this

20170610_Assignment 3 AW and DP_0065

The second constructed image, a shrine, is subtle memorial using elements that reflect the boy’s interests. It’s good to see you trying out ideas and revising your approach to see how effective variations might be. From a compositional point of view, I might give a touch more space at the left and right border, bringing the bowl and pebbles closer together to reduce the negative space in the centre of frame. Also, it might be worth trying a shallower depth of field (or greater separation of elements) with this to make the foreground flowers softer – rather than only just soft?

So this

20170903_Enter Ass 3 Photoshoot 5_0010

will be replaced with

20171014_0005flat

The candle has burnt down more and illustrates how often the memorial is used. This image was re-taken twice. The first time the miniature rose was in bud, rather than full flower, and there was a lighter lilac pansy to the side which I felt drew the eye. I waited a few days for the roses to open and the lilac pansy to be passed its prime. The burgundy red pansies are also in full bloom, which they weren’t in the original, emphasising Jamie’s favourite colour. Taken from a slightly different angle the composition is better and the passion flower in the background has also filled out more providing a better backdrop.

Shot at 2.8 the shallower depth of field

The shot in the shopping centre doesn’t really work for me. The idea behind it is clear, and the accompanying text does help to explain the circumstances and the unexpected choice of location (which is an important factor). It would be interesting to see what alternatives you were looking at for this shot in particular – are they the high angle shots over the car park?

This

20170901_Ass 3 phootshoot 3_0182

will be replaced by one of these…

and on further reflection I have decided on this one as it shows the location, the height of the car park, the low wall which was ‘stumbled over’ and the safety barrier which has been put in place to prevent a similar accident. I think it fits well within the set and is less conceptual in its approach.

20170901_Ass 3 phootshoot 3_0174

Project Semicolon – A really interesting idea and information about an organization that I’d never heard about. From a compositional point of view, I’d go slightly higher to reduce the amount of forearm and maybe a touch closer to the tattoo.  But I like the subtlety of the soft focus head in the background.  Looking at your contacts I prefer 2789 – personal choice.

I also like the soft focus of the head in the background, but was unsure if the tattoo was lost in the shot due to the amount of forearm. Cropping to ratio meant I lost some of the composition and cropping closer still to lose parts of the face that then drew the eye meant the final image included in the mock up made the arm too ‘amputated.’

IMG_2786

I looked very closely at the remaining thumbnails including the image favoured by Russell…

IMG_2789

But I wasn’t happy with the prominence of the face in the foreground, its straight angle, and the piece of hair slightly covering the thumb. I spent ages examining and rotating images or cropping and decided that if given the chance I would have re-shot the image, but my daughter, the subject, lives in Manchester.

This is my final choice, with reasons bullet pointed below.

IMG_2782

  • The subject is no longer anonymous, appearing as an ordinary young woman
  • Her relaxed posed is in contrast to the mental stress she occasionally suffers
  • The party text on her t-shirt and colourful ‘alternative’ dreadlocks also suggest a happy-go-lucky outlook on life, at odds with depression
  • The semi-colon, whilst clear, is more subtle, representing subtle and hidden personal difficulties
  • the portrait suggests ‘the whole picture’ whilst the very opposite is usually the truth

Assignment Three re-work can be found here.

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