EYV Assignment 1 ‘Square Mile’ Reflection on tutor feedback

I was surprisingly nervous when I received my ‘end of part 1’ feedback email from my tutor and hesitated before reading it. My first reading of it was rushed, in an attempt to quickly get the main points, hoping that I could then relax enough to read it again more slowly.

I will not reproduce the whole report here, but I will pick out the main points:

I will start with the positives:

  • Good reflection
  • Conceptual thinking
  • Researching around topics
  • Good to keep hard copy learning log
  • Good to be getting involved in the OCA community
  • Two particular images

Areas for further development:

  • A few technical issues – thumbnails were square, some images too big, hyperlink style
  • My images lack depth – they look squashed
  • My images rely quite heavily on text for their meaning

My initial reaction was that I first wanted to address the technical issues, and I did that immediately. I was disappointed in myself that after trying so hard with a steep technical learning curve, I made stupid mistakes.  Rectifying the square thumbnails really is as simple as un-checking a box!  I didn’t know this at the time but it is now sorted.

Next, my images: yes, they are squashed.  My tutor explained that this is an unwanted effect of a long lens – the foreground and background appear nearer to each other in distance than they actually are. I am aware that my longer lenses are my ‘go-to’ and favourites, and my 16-50 is my least favourite. However, I had not been particularly aware of the squashed effect, only the ability to zoom. Robert showed me the effect  by pointing out the difference between my ‘squashed’ photographs and two ‘industrial landscape’ images from exercise 1.3 that he preferred for their ‘wonderful space’.

I looked again at these two images and something surprising happened. I began to really like them. I had included them in my exercise as something of an experiment, separate and additional to my main sequence of images. I can see now that the sense of depth and space really draws the eye into the image. Robert sign-posted me to John Davies whose photography includes industrial landscapes, and I intend to have a look at his work soon.

In terms of storytelling, my tutor explained that, without text to guide the viewer, the meaning of my images is unclear. I love the idea of telling a story through photographs but I am currently more of a writer than a visual artist and can see that my experiences lead me to rely on the written word.

I decided to take a few of my assignment images again. My intention was to see if I could make any of them tell a story that was less reliant on text, and to create more of a feeling of space. I chose not to re-do the whole assignment since I felt that, if I were to do that, I should want to start again with a completely different story.

Here are my re-taken images:

Club new 1

Schoool new 2 School new 1

Pub new 2 Pub new 1

These images are taken at three of the four original sites included in my assignment. I was surprised by how the landscape had changed in just a few weeks. I have not included any text but I hope that my wider angle and altered composition tells a clearer story.

I re-read my initial written analysis that accompanied my assignment:

‘Although I like this approach, I feel that I should have taken the opportunity to experiment and a wider angle may have helped to contextualise my story’

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