While I was considering my approach to the Assignment in Part 3 of the C&N course, I revisited my two earlier C&N Assignments to see what I could learn from my approach to those and, more particularly, from my tutor’s formative feedback that would assist me. This made me realise that I had not revisited Assignment 2 and written a response to the feedback I had received from him which means that this is an opportunity for learning missed. I have therefore decided to do so now and this is the result.
PHOTOGRAPHING THE UNSEEN
Of the two options given in the course text for Assignment 2 I chose option 1, ‘Photographing the Unseen‘. The brief of the Assignment required me to compile a list of subjects and ideas which might be seen as being un-photographable and then implement one of the ideas by creating a tightly edited and visually consistent series of 7 – 10 images to portray the chosen subject. After considerable thought I chose ‘Relationships‘ as my subject for the Assignment.
The formative feedback that I received from my tutor was generally very good and encouraging. I was grateful for the time and thought that he had put into the assessment of my work and the recommendations that he had made for future work and further study areas. In particular, I was very pleased to receive his positive overall comments on the Assignment which he described as being a ‘well-considered, highly organised and thorough submission’. I was also pleased to receive positive comments on my level of engagement with the course Exercises, and the style and layout of my Learning Log, which is encouraging. He also picked up on the fact that I had taken on board the views of fellow students on the content of the Assignment prior to final publication.
My tutor had clearly given considerable thought to what I was trying to achieve in the Assignment and his responses to the images were interesting and enlightening. He had found meaning and depths that were different to my own which highlights the fact that conceptual images which are not overly pinned down by descriptive / explanatory texts can be open to a wide, maybe infinite (!), range of interpretations limited only by the range and openness of the viewers. I had selected the subjects which I found in my immediate area which spoke to me as being portrayals of aspects of human relationships . Apart from giving the series a title of ‘Relationships‘, I had intentionally not included any descriptive or explanatory text to go with the images as I wanted to adopt the seemingly common practice amongst contemporary conceptual artists of leaving meaning obscure and the interpretation down to the viewer.
It worries me a little , however, that my tutor’s interpretation of the images and my intentions for them whilst having some common ground were somewhat at variance and in many instances his understanding of my purpose for the image was very different. Strange when it was so clear to me! 🙂 I had recognised that this might be the case when writing my reflections and that there was a likelihood that the ‘take’ of others in response to the images would be different to mine, but it was still a bit of a shock and distinctly uncomfortable for this to be confirmed. It will be helpful for me to look at why this might be a concern for me in more detail, but my initial thought is that my natural inclination in my photography is towards the documentary rather than the purely conceptual and therefore whilst I am happy for someone else to add their own personal interpretation it is important to me that they understand why I took the photograph and am presenting it in the way that I am. Maybe I am too attached to the ego and the message and too detached from the purity of the image as an entity in its own right. Food for thought!
What I will helpfully and gratefully take from my tutor’s feedback and my deliberation on it is the following : –
i.) There are elements of my work and its presentation that are on track
ii.) I need to give greater weight to research I have carried out and the influence of other photographers’ work in future Exercises and Assignments
iii.) I will need to look at my purpose in creating the images that I do and my attachment to the images being liked and understood and see if I can develop a different approach
iv.) I will benefit from seeking the views and advice of my tutor and other tutors and OCA students more throughout the course
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