Assignment 1: Response to Tutor Feedback

I was pleased with the positive feedback for my first assignment and had a motivating 30 minute tutorial with Wendy discussing a wide range of subjects. My tutor report can be viewed here:

The aspect of the feedback that resonated the most, immediately made sense to me, and made me question how I had presented the work was Wendy’s challenge to my description of my choice of location for the source photographs I took as “nondescript”. I deliberately attempted to downplay where I decided to set up my camera but this is disingenuous – as Wendy states “choices are very important.” I can only explain my lack of consideration of what the images meant as being focussed too much on the form of the work, and its technical and visual aspects, rather than the content and context. It would be accurate to say that in the making of the work I tried not to become sidetracked by over analysis. When it was complete however, I should have considered more closely what it means both to me and to someone who is unfamiliar with the area I have photographed. For Wendy, the images are a comment on urban demise and the downturn of the British High Street and I can certainly see how this wider theme is present in analysis of the work. It also strikes me that I have failed to explore fully the ambivalent feelings I have for my home town and the people who live there. This is something that I need to consider further and ultimately rework into a revised written introduction for the assignment.

We did not really talk a lot about the visual content of the work, of which my main concern is how I will present this for assessment. At a recent study day for the OCA North group, I took my prints for the assignment along for critique and was struck by the immediate reaction of OCA tutor Andrew Conroy who said that the pictures would look good displayed as huge prints. He also mentioned that revisiting the selections and scattering them randomly could be an interesting way of arriving at a different composition. There is also a clear division in the two parts of the assignment with the ‘cut and paste’ images making it obvious that they are constructed in a physical way. This difference is something that I enjoy about the two parts, however, I found myself having to explain that the digital collages are constructed – I am not sure if this is significant as I was presenting them without the context of my introduction but it does seem to be important enough to require consideration.

Wendy also pointed me towards two artists she felt would be of interest to me as they have made composites by weaving together photographs: Samin Ahmadzadeh and Dinh Q. Lê. I had not heard of either of these artists and have enjoyed looking at their work – I particularly like the way the physical presentation of their work is such an integral part of how it should be read and how their art making process is driven by a need to understand their personal history and the wider world in general, and yet, defies simple reading and retains ambiguity.

Here are some notes about key aspects of the feedback alog with my thought sabout what to do next:

  • Assignment 1:
    • Introduction – rewrite introduction to incorporate my personal feelings about Stanley and how it could be read by the audience by incorporating wider themes such as urban decay and the current economic situation for small towns like Stanley.
      • I am going to give myself some time before going back to this as I am currently too close to the work and need some time to consider what this looks like.
    • Presentation – consider how I will present the work for assessment. Considerations:
      • Size of prints.
      • How would the images be displayed in a gallery setting and how do I show this in my presentation?
      • Should I present the physical composites or rephotograph and print these?
  • Blog:
    • Increase size of images in future posts to make them less dominated by text.
    • Include more draft images and contact sheets where appropriate.
  • Research:
    • Samin Ahmadzadeh (see here)
    • Dinh Q. Lê (see here)

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