Assignment One – Tutor Feedback

I was pleased with my feedback 🙂 I’ll respond to the remarks as I go through the report and add my reflection at the end.

Tutor Feedback PDF

Overall Comments

This is a very good start to the course.  You produced a thought provoking set of images to deal with the subject of learning difficulties for the theme of Local Communities.

You have met both the aims of the brief and achieved much of what you set out to do from a personal perspective, and this has been accomplished through an element of technical and aesthetic curiosity, exploration and backed up with some focused research.

You explored some interesting methods of presentation, triptych, diptych, in addition to a single square format, all of which work, but perhaps, for better consistency, you might just choose one of those?

A good point and one raised by some of my peers. I wasn’t sure if the variety would make for a less coherent set, I shall have a look through my final choices again as it may involve swapping out a few images to ensure I still keep 10 for the final set. I wanted to show experimentation, which I guess I did in my research and development so could have stuck with just one option.

I can’t criticise the amount of work you’ve put into this assignment, a thorough and detailed submission.  It would be useful to separate the assignment images and two hundred word overview from the rest of the learning log, best way is to create a separate development section to be accessed online (you don’t need to print this out).  Similarly, for the self-reflection and any other information  – research for example – as separate elements in the Learning log.

This has now been done .

Assignment 1

Feedback on assignment

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

This is a good set of images, evidence that you are clearly immersed in the community and the subject.  Learning difficulties is a difficult idea to get across at the best of times, and this visualisation of the barriers that young people face in their daily lives works very well. Finding a way to deal with this without including people is also tricky, and I think you do that well. :o)

I’ve commented on some of the images you submitted in previous emails, so now I’ll focus on the new material.

The Dyslexia Diptych works very well. The red filter is a graphic and literal way of demonstrating the solution, although I feel the first image is enough, and clearly shows how (we might imagine) some who suffer from this problem might see text. An alternative might be combining these, with red filter revealing a part of the unscrambled text.

I need to decide what route I am going to take with re-jigging the final set. If I make this a single image I will probably not merge the two as I wanted to keep this set as ‘straight’ photographs.

While it’s useful to read an account of your technical approach on occasion, the EXCIF data tells me how you prepared the shot, probably best to keep this to a minimum.   You use almost five hundred words to reflect on your approach to this one image (including feedback from peers), perhaps a shorter comment would let the image speak for itself (see my note about this at the end of the feedback). The peer feedback is interesting, but again, in a separate section.

Details removed and information on separate page.

‘Cushion and foot rest’ also points out the postural problems some students may have and how special needs equipment can help, the separation between this chair and the others behind the desk creates a divide that many may not be conscious of.  An angle from the end of the table emphasising this further would be an alternative composition – an ‘us and them’ point of view.

Space for furniture shifting and camera angles can be tricky but I can see the benefit of the suggestion so at some point will see if this can be done and compare shots.

With ‘Extra Time’ again, I’m not sure you need two shots – although it is an interesting mode of presentation – the different colour type makes the viewer ask the question.

Can see this is a valid point so will lose the shot of the PC screen and make it a stand alone image.

‘Task Boxes and Boxes Triptych’ – the latter works better than the former – a very strong idea to show both compartmentalisation and identity.

Agreed. I think I will lose the first shot and keep the second…decisions…will keeping it as a triptych throw out the consistency of the set? Alec Soth successfully managed to combine one triptych in the  Broken Manual section of his Gathered Leaves exhibition…so I shall have to see.

‘Ghost in the Background’. I’m not sure about this. In the context of the set (for me) it doesn’t feel like a particularly disturbing or unsettling image. The shadowy figure in the foreground is a little too indistinct and the background fencing too far away.  This kind of image has to have the right balance between a lack of visual cliché and a subtlety that allows for the image to be evocative; this seems to fall somewhere inbetween.

Ok, can see the logic in this, again was experimenting but if the image doesn’t work….dump it…find another to replace it with :o) Again similar point was made by my peers. Note to self to take peer feedback into consideration more.

From a technical point of view, you’ve used your skills and knowledge well to articulate a range of ideas, from the use of depth of field to some well defined subject matter; and good use of light and colour to evoke a feeling of isolation in an everyday environment.

You also explored various creative approaches using a range of angles and shot sizes to create strong compositions to visualize a range of problems experienced by these young people.  I particularly like some of the strong graphic images, such as the black gate with the cropped sign; the plastic crates from overhead and the garbled text from the two overlapped signs.  Most of all, the set, and additional information, reveals a high level of engagement with both the concept for the assignment and in particular the subject matter.


Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity

 Part One is complete with some well-considered responses to the ‘exercises’.

There’s some very good work here; again, a high level of engagement and evidence of independent research – Alec Sloth, Danny Lyon, Burtynsky etc.

On the prints, they were very good, good detail, colour balance and exposure.


Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

You followed through with my research recommendations – Steel-Perkins et al, and make reference to Short’s ‘Photographic Brief’.  For the next assignment you might try to focus the research further and make direct links between theory and practice – influential practitioners directly influencing your approach – technical, narrative and aesthetic.

Aghhh I have several theory books, which I have made a mental note to read to be able to link photographic research with the theory and actual photographic practice, but I hope Father Christmas can give me the gift of more time! Having said that the school holidays are here and hopefully I can get on with writing up about the exhibitions I have seen, the exercises I have completed AND do some independent reading…

Learning Log

Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

Your Blog is in good shape.  As I mentioned earlier, with your assignment work, it’s better to separate the development material and the actual submission.


It’s good to see images posted from your physical log, good examples of your working methods.

Have another pile of things to add and stick in and comment on ….

Good evidence here of independent activity to show a wider appreciation of the medium.  See if you can create an additional tab on the Blog Menu to link to research and exhibitions.


Suggested reading/viewing


Take a look at the work of Gary Winogrand, Arthur Fellig otherwise known as Weegee, and Martin Parr.   They all offer something quite different in terms of narrative.

As you begin to develop ideas for A2, we can discuss reading/research further.

Pointers for the next assignment / assessment

The next assignment is Single Image Narratives.  There are many examples to choose from for research purposes; Gregory Crewdson et al, take a look at The Guardian’s series ‘That’s Me In The Photo’.  But it’s also worth looking beyond the photographic medium to see how other artists approach this subject, painter Edward Hopper, or much more challenging, the installations of Edward Kienholz or Louise Bourgeois.

All added to the growing to do list…


A very useful assignment report which I was pleased about. Most of the points raised I already had doubts about in my mind, but ran with them anyway not wanting to play too safe, so I over cooked it slightly, but nothing that can’t be altered and have done some of the amending to my blog already. Also am thinking about which images could be amended and replaced. I’ll probably tweak my blog research page further as I’m trying to play catch up with a backlog of exercises and visits, meaning that it’s not refined atm. Onwards and upwards….

Assignment One – Rework

The main question raised by Russell was on the choice of presentation:

You explored some interesting methods of presentation, triptych, diptych, in addition to a single square format, all of which work, but perhaps, for better consistency, you might just choose one of those?

I explained in my response that I was attempting to show experimentation and exploration but agree that mixing so may ideas don’t make for visual coherency so have decided to stick with single images.

Another good point was to consider the composition of one of my shots:

Cushion and foot rest’ also points out the postural problems some students may have and how special needs equipment can help, the separation between this chair and the others behind the desk creates a divide that many may not be conscious of. An angle from the end of the table emphasising this further would be an alternative composition – an ‘us and them’ point of view.

Unfortunately by the time I went to re-shoot this image the student concerned had already sat his final exam and taken his equipment home. I therefore reconsidered its inclusion in the final set.

Final Image Choices –

New – The new images were the cropped text and the open book. The open exercise book helped the continuing narrative of struggling to write down and express ideas and TA assistance provided.

The cropped text is a communication aid – posts and help signs on the wall to help students communicate, one is a numbered list that they can indicate at what point they are ok, or stressed. This image was deliberately cropped  with negative space in the centre to underscore the difficulties they may have with their social skills and how we try to close that gap.

Removed – Although I feel that the removed lone chair image highlighted the physical problems experienced by some, I thought the composition could be improved, but was unable to re-shoot so it was removed.

I recognised that the ‘corridor’ image was not particularly strong so it was also removed.

The task boxes image was more or less a duplication of the individual images and did little to add to the narrative and was therefore removed.

Amended – To maintain a visual coherency the triptych and diptych images were reduced to single images with the stronger images remaining.

My final 10 images are:

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Assignment One Rework