LIGHT STARTS TO BREAK THROUGH THE MIST AND CONFUSION
A week is a long time in politics – and also in OCA photography courses it would seem. Since I published my ‘last post’, in which I said that I had decided to leave the C&N course and the OCA, a lot has happened. After posting about my intended departure from the course on two OCA Students FaceBook pages and a Student forum, the OCA community, both tutors and fellow students, have been wonderful in coming forward with views, advice and experiences which have triggered some interesting and valuable discussion and new ideas. I can’t thank you all individually, but you will know who you are and I thank you all for your open, generous and revealing contributions. The new perceptions and insights that you have given me (and others!) together with the fact that I have found it as difficult to sever my connections with the OCA and the course as I had been finding it difficult to stick with it caused me to rethink my decision. Life then gave me two messages via Medium.com (see links below) and I realised that I didn’t want to walk away and feel like a loser.
So I am going to reverse my earlier ‘final’ decision and have decided to shelve my resignation form and return to the fray with the C&N course but with a different approach. With the help and advice of some of my fellow students and tutors I have come to recognise that some of my perceptions about the content of the course and how I was expected to respond to it, although having some basis in truth, were not the full story and that there was scope for me to do things differently. It helped for me to discover that there were some fellow students previously unknown to me who were working in styles and had subject interests similar to my own (the natural world) and who were still being considered by the OCA as pursuing acceptable and appropriate artistic paths. I look forward to gaining learning and inspiration from other students and hopefully eventually providing some of my own back into the pot.
If I am to maintain my sanity and my progress towards a successful outcome on the course I will need to introduce some changes to the way that I address the course and my work for it. These will include : –
- re-finding some sense of fun and not taking it all so seriously.
- accepting that, although I will not enjoy all of the research and assessment elements of the course or ‘get’ the work of all of the artists, this is OK as it is a learning opportunity and will help me to be clearer about what I do want to concentrate on and why.
- not judging myself negatively against those students who, for instance, spend two weeks or more on designing and shooting one image for an assignment or fill pages on the research that they have carried out.
- keeping a healthy balance between the academic research and written assessment side of the course and the application of my learning to practical photographic experimentation so that I retain the ability to develop the quality of my artistic photographic work.
- seeking the advice of my tutor on a more regular basis and working closely with him to ensure that the needs of both the course and also my own development can best be met.
- not pressuring myself to try to complete the work too fast. Whoever suggested that 40 hours was the length of time required to complete a Part of the course was very wide of the mark! More like 40 days!
- not getting hung up on whether work is ‘art’ or not.
- being more objective and not being hung up on whether I like a piece of work or not. The question is whether it will be an influence on my own work or not and that might not be immediately obvious.
- remembering that I am working for me and not anyone else.
- trusting the process.
I feel considerable trepidation about moving forward mostly because it is a major step into the unknown, but I no longer feel alone. I hope that some will sign up to my Blog and take an interest in my progress.
A NEW DAWN
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