Well done for reaching assignment 2 Nick.
This is a difficult subject choice, which you approached positively and professionally (contacting the museum for permission and arranging your shoot). Overall, your weaker area is your learning log at the moment, as it isn’t documenting the extent of your efforts or coursework and skips over important stages of your creative decision-making.
I know you have been busy recently with setting up your studio and photographic business, which is fantastic and will benefit your practice long-term. However, if the large gaps in the learning log are not addressed, your work risks appearing rushed and incomplete at assessment, which I fear might jeopardize you achieving your potential. It might also mean you won’t get the most out of a tutor during CAN, as time will be taken up back-tracking or repeating feedback. When I speak to you, all your decisions and research are there – you just need to get it written down and on your log! So just keep pushing!
I understand your aim is to go for the Photography Degree and that you plan to submit your work for assessment at the end of this course. From the work you have shown in this assignment, providing you commit yourself to the course, I believe you have the potential to pass at assessment. In order to meet all the assessment criteria, there are certain areas you will need to focus on, which I will outline in my feedback.
Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration
• Strength: Prints are presented in a professional manner and it’s great to see labels on the reverse on this submission – they are sleeved and arrived in good condition. Treatment of prints is consistent too with even borders. This allows for an accessible and focussed viewing experience.
• Tip: Take time to really study technical qualities of the final images, especially in printed form as this emphasises any potential flaws. From looking at your prints I observed some blurring/possible camera shake on Images 2, 3, and 5… did you take a tripod with you? Were you able to use a tripod in the conditions you had? How did you deal with this challenge? Are the shooting techniques you used telling us more about the subject, do they help to create a certain atmosphere or message above and beyond the literal objects/scenes within the frame?
• In shooting you had taken a few images of the same object/corridor/area… what made you choose one over the other? Summarise your editing decisions in another Assignment planning post which explains your decisions from the contact sheet to final edit stage.
• Tip: Experiment with giving your project a title and image titles or captions. To help inform your ideas, think about the contexts where you see images like yours – When do they appear without any captions or titles or credits? Perhaps advertising could be one example, where the text is actually slogans or calls to action, but are your images advertising images? Think about (and document) the appropriate context for your images. How would they function in the ‘real world’ – what is their main agenda or indeed your mission? (Try to apply these questions to future projects too).
Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity
• Upload your coursework for Part 1 and Part 2 – this includes any reflection and notes in response to each exercise, research point and project. If you have written the WordPress posts, make sure they are visible to external viewers and not set to private,test your website with others or on other computers to check things are displaying correctly.
• Make sure you write-up your notes as separate posts on your online learning log, which are clearly labeled as Exercise 1.2, Research Point 3 (for example).
• If you are struggling for time, read ahead to each assignment brief and use the exercises to trial ideas, techniques or subject matter you are considering. I can’t stress enough how important it is to show evidence that you have responded to the coursework, if it is not there, you risk failing the unit.
Research Context – reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis
• Great to see the photographs of books you have read on Auschwitz – however, you need to evidence your reading in more detail. Assessors are looking for you to reflect on the material you are consuming and show how it influences your decisions – ie; summarising key points made in the texts, any questions they raise for you, what aspects of the reading or viewing stay with you or relate to your own ideas and intentions for your work.
• Your learning log doesn’t document any photographic research for A2. This is very important.
Learning Log – Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis
• In A1 feedback, I encouraged you to upload all of your previous coursework and assignment planning, reflection and research before submitting A2. I can’t find this. Try to do this asap whilst the work is fresh in your mind and so it doesn’t become an overwhelming task at the very end of the unit.
• Review A1 and A2 feedback – write up some reflection on tutor pointers from each feedback report on your learning log and make your changes and reworks. Document your process on your online learning log.
• I also suggested making some changes to the wordpress navigation of your log – it would be fantastic to see you refine the site to optimize accessibility and ease of the assessor’s viewing journey – they don’t have long to review your work, make things as synced up and simple as possible.
Suggested reading/viewing – Context
https://www.saatchigallery.com/selfie/ ‘From Selfie to Self Expression’, a Saatchi Gallery exhibition OCA tutor Dawn Woolley won the ‘Saatchi Selfie’ competition which ran alongside the show, with her work ‘The Substitute’. Dawn’s work primarily uses her own image and would be great to explore further during your research for this next section of CAN. http://www.dawnwoolley.com/
http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/performing-camera This exhibition from last year (there’s still some content and interviews you can discover from it online) features works where the photographer or artist has expressed themselves or their position on subject matter through self portraiture and performance. Personally, I never tire of looking through Vivian Maier’s self portraits, they have so much variety and the square format allows for balanced framing of geometric forms http://www.vivianmaier.com/gallery/self-portraits/
Pointers for the next assignment / assessment
• Try to get into the habit of emailing your tutor a notification with links to your learning log on or before the assignment deadline, alongside your postal submission. Exactly like you did for A1. This formalizes your submission, acts a prompt incase your prints haven’t arrived and provides the direct links to your work.
• Try to think laterally about your ideas and images in this next section, research will be really important in exposing you to the different approaches photographers can take to documenting themselves or their world. Try to challenge yourself and conduct as much brainstorming and research as possible. One useful way to approach it might be to explore three initial ideas through test shoots and see which one starts to resonate. Then refine that idea further with more shoots to allow you plenty of images to choose from in the edit.
• Try to put in place at least two or three developments outlined above for when researching, planning and producing Assignment 3. Try to conduct any re-work and uploading of additional planning notes from A1 and A2 as soon as possible.