Assignment Three Feedback

I was very happy with my feedback for assignment three. I found this to be one of the most difficult assignments so far as it was very far out of my comfort zone having not had much experience in capturing buildings or spaces previously.

My tutor’s initial comment was that I was completing my assignments quite quickly now, and I needed to take more time to reflect on my journey. I am a full-time student, and so therefore have a lot of free time to put into this course. I am able to do a lot more work than most people on this course each week, and so therefore I am aiming to complete the first year in 15 months. I do however intend to spend more time each day in reflection of my work and photography journey, as well as in further research and practical work.

However, my tutor also stated the following of my overall work; “An energetic submission and you have practiced and considered the images taken. You are an active participant in your journal entries, and you are honest in your initial reflection.”

Below you will find some positive feedback from my tutor for this assignment:

“Cow shed: Initial images set the scene of the space giving an overview of the space and the contents. The images of the animals are engaging, the row of sheep works well with the selective focus leading you into the gated housing environment. The cow through the fence is bold and really gives an idea of the confinement of the beasts.” I was very happy with these comments. I loved these images, and spent a great deal of time in this shed considering the appropriate framing and compositions for these shots. The sheep image took a lot of patience, as I tried several attempts to try and get all three sheep to look at the camera at the same time! This effort paid off, and I was very happy with the finished result.

IMG_5567 (2)1          IMG_5543

“Church: These are strong images. They do invite a story and you begin to get an atmosphere of the place. I would like to see these as prints as they have a sense of clarity and composure about them that lends itself to the buildings purpose.” Again I was pleased with this comment. I deliberated on this building quite a lot, and planned in great detail which approach I would like to take. I took several variations, including the church from the congregations perspective, and a more calculated and serious perspective as if for a magazine. I finally decided on the church from the minister’s point of view, as I felt it was the most interesting and insightful. I intend to get my tutor prints from this building and a few others within the next few days.

IMG_6418 IMG_6422less IMG_6427

“Factory: Good research into the building and the events surrounding it. This was an area with lots of potential for a photographer. Some nice images taken; again a good selection of near and far. I almost wanted to see more images, the real sense of the abandoned building demonstrated in different light and from different angles. It actually looks a bit like an office building rather than meat processing . . . an interesting location!” This was one of the less planned buildings of the set. I was simply driving by the building and impulsively pulled over to see if I could get in to capture this interesting building. I would have liked to have gained more access to the inside of the factory, however, I had to work from the outside doorway of each room, due to the dangers of being directly inside an unsupported, burned down building. I was very pleased with the finished result of these images, and did a good bit of research to support these.

IMG_6601 (3) IMG_6602 (2) IMG_6611

Below you will find a few aspects of my assignment that my tutor felt needed work:

“Coffee shop: You have explored the space and created a linear narrative. The mix of approaches does work well, the near and far observation. Why was this set of images not in colour? Think about why you made this choice.” I was a little confused by this comment, as my two previous tutor’s each advised me that all images for an assignment should not be a mixture of both monochrome and colour, as assessors did not like a project being mixed like this. Therefore, for this assignment, I felt that the majority of images suited black and white best due to the strong architectural lines of the buildings, the historical feel of the church, farm buildings and factory, and the stark tonal contrast in many of the shots. I acknowledge that some would appear stronger in colour, but this contrasting advice has confused me. I will get my tutor’s advise on this matter.

IMG_6345black and white     IMG_6347 (2)

IMG_6350black and white     IMG_6354edited

“Farm Buildings: You have looked into the history of the building and noted when it was built and the function; look also into considering the deeper reason for the building. The shed is to shelter animals in harsh weather but also so the farmer has a commodity to sell on either for dairy/ wool or meat production. This could be thought to come about for food production that has become more controlled and mechanized. These are some of the things you could explore, they will inform you as a photographer and you may want to share your thoughts on how this makes you feel or tell someone else’s story.” I never thought of the buildings in this sense, and really appreciated this advice. I added the following onto my assignment in accordance with this: Sheep Shed: “After the winter months, the sheep then get sheered for their wool, which is bagged and sold on in large bulk. Some of the lambs are allowed to grow up to have the same purpose as their mothers, whilst others are sold to be slaughtered for lamb meat. This is quite a harsh and unpleasant idea, as I remember feeding lambs at this farm from a very young age. However, farms are predominantly there to produce food for human’s to eat, and this unfortunately needs to be done.” Cow Shed: “Most of these are dairy cows, and are used to produce and sell large quantities of milk from the farm. Others are bulls, which are mated with the cows to produce calves. This enables the farmer to grow their herd and build their business further.”

For further reference, below you will find my tutor feedback in full.

Overall Comments

An energetic submission and you have practiced and considered the images taken. You are an active participant in your journal entries, and you are honest in your initial reflection.

Good to see you working on areas suggested by your tutor, this developed your work.

You are completing the assignments quite quickly now, do take some time to reflect on your journey. The assignments are leading you to becoming less reactive and more reflective, you need to consider the story you are telling in your image making and research these.

Assessment potential 

I understand your aim is to go for the Photography/Creative Arts* 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, and providing you commit yourself to the course, I suggest that you are likely to be successful in the assessment.

Feedback on assignment Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity 

Exercise: Exploring function

You have analysed the space and function of the building design. The first image is an overview of the centre and is cleanly presented and very balanced. Think about the exposure of the sky, see how to the left of the image, there is no detail and information is lost. The interior image is again pleasing to look at with the eye drawn to the centre of the image. This is well exposed and crisp.

I wonder if you could have gone further with this investigation, I know when I go to a garden centre I always notice the mass of plants, the regimented rows of things, the way plants are presented on mass which is not usually suitable

for most gardens. Also you are guided around the space with paths and walkways to make sure you are tempted! So unpick the building intention further, yes it is a garden centre but it’s real function is to sell.

Exercise: The user’s viewpoint

Your exploration into the view of a space is informative. The change in approach from the wide shot almost setting the scene to the attention to detail begins to reveal a story. Keep working on your exposure, the image of the lock is well seen but the detail left in the white areas of the bolt would make this difficult to print. A weakness of digital photography is that it is sometimes easy to capture an image with a wide range of lighting but even though you can darken the overall image there is not enough detail or information left in the highlights.

The net curtain image is interesting and the change to a vertical format enhances the interest, I wonder if a slightly different composition would have been interesting? Less of the blank black area to the right of the image? The other detail images give an idea of the shed purpose. The saw is interesting, as you are initially confused about the angle.

Building 2, Bright and colourful images and you have chosen definite points of focus. I would like to see the shelf image taken from a lower angle? Don’t forget that although the shopper may be using the building at standing height, the salesperson may have made a conscious decision to place objects at their function height, so the shelf may be more at an occasional table height/ cushions at sofa height? Lots of this type of thinking is used in sales environments.

Exercise: How space changes with light.

This exercise was an interesting exploration of the play of light in a space. You have reflected on the denseness of the shadow in each image, consider also where the shadow fails ie the tines of the rake are in a different place in the first image and this could inform how you compose the image. In some ways the exposure of these images is the greatest change, it becomes more about the light quality. I suggest you experiment with the white balance on your camera as you can see one image is quite warm and the other is more dull and cool. I would also suggest in this circumstance it would be interesting to use a reflector, this would again add another result and could enhance the exposure/ depth of field for even greater control.

Your second experiment including the window is a pleasing composition and you have spent some time reflecting on the issues which you considered ie the angle/ exposure balance. The first image was a difficult balance but the use of a tripod may have added some more choices for you with longer exposure times?

Your silhouette image demonstrates another view of the same space. As you have indicated this moving around a space and using the light can really change the feeling and look of a place.

Assignment Three: Building in Use

Cow shed: Initial images set the scene of the space giving an overview of the space and the contents. The images of the animals are engaging, the row of sheep works well with the selective focus leading you into the gated housing environment. The image of the cow eating is amusing and the focus on the eyes works, the very big slightly out of focus nose is a bit distracting! Experience with your depth of field to see if the different areas of focus change the image. The cow through the fence is bold and really gives an idea of the confinement of the beasts.

You have looked into the history of the building and noted when it was built and the function; look also into considering the deeper reason for the building. The shed is to shelter animals in harsh weather but also so the farmer has a commodity to sell on either for dairy/ wool or meat production. This could be thought to come about for food production that has become more controlled and mechanized. These are some of the things you could explore, they will inform you as a photographer and you may want to share your thoughts on how this makes you feel or tell someone else’s story.

Coffee shop: You have explored the space and created a linear narrative. The mix of approaches does work well, the near and far observation. Why was this set of images not in colour? Think about why you made this choice. The image of the woman is interesting you feel you want to know more, the other images are more descriptive. It may have been interesting to sit in one place and see the different characters who used the same table space? They may all reveal a different story.

Church: These are strong images. They do invite a story and you begin to get an atmosphere of the place. I would like to see these as prints as they have a sense of clarity and composure about them that lends itself to the buildings purpose.

Factory: Good research into the building and the events surrounding it. This was an area with lots of potential for a photographer. Some nice images taken; again a good selection of near and far. I almost wanted to see more images, the real sense of the abandoned building demonstrated in different light and from different angles. It actually looks a bit like an office building rather than meat processing . . . an interesting location!

Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays Context 

You are using your learning log well. Continue to reflect upon your journey. When doing either an exercise or assignment take some time to look at other artists work, they may inspire you further.

You are doing the assignments quite quickly, do spend time to really explore your ideas and the thoughts that arise from taking this time to observe. You should be gaining confidence now into looking at your photography with an eye for not ‘how’ you made the photograph but ‘why’ you took it.

Suggested reading/viewing Context 

Look at the work by Andreas Gursky for your next assignment, this work gives another scale and measured observation, which is fascinating to see.

Duane Michals, Arnold Newman, Matta Clarke also have challenging images on people and place.

For technical support

Prakel, D (2009) Basics Photography: exposure. Laussane: AVA Publishing.

Pointers for the next assignment

I see you take a mixture of black and white images and colour images. I would like you to really consider why you make these choices. Is it to enhance the narrative of the body of work or because the lighting is difficult to control? Be really sure about the choices made, both approaches are valid but as you are the photographer you need to sure about the choice you made. When you take black and white images you take them differently from colour, look at a variety of artists to see how they do this.

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