Assignment 3: Tutor Feedback and Reflection

I was so pleased with the feedback I got from my tutor and so happy that she liked my work, I worked so hard on this particular assignment and I am glad it payed off.

Below is my tutor’s feedback for assignment 3 and my reflection in blue italics. For a PDF file of the original feedback please click here.

Overall Comments
A thoughtful, well-conceived, well-expressed and beautifully-shot assignment Ghada. The work successfully conveys an emotional experience that is simultaneously universal and intensely personal. You have achieved this by working through the creative process quite organically, from the germ of the initial idea, through experimentation, development and finally some thoughtful editing/presentation decisions. Well done.

Assessment potential
I understand your aim is to go for the Photography 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, providing you commit yourself to the course, I believe you have the potential to pass at assessment. In order to meet all the assessment criteria, there are certain areas you will need to focus on, which I will outline in my feedback.

Feedback on assignment

You’ve produced some very beautiful and evocative images here, Ghada. The series communicates a universally-recognisable sense of loss and grief.

Bereavement creates a desire to somehow revisit or recapture the past, and this is conveyed extremely well through your choice of location and in casting your daughter as your younger self. The location itself is incredibly rich with the impression of layers of personal history, and with traces of the passing of time – the atmosphere is palpable. The interior shots worked particularly well with the wide-angle lens, and you’ve directed your model with confidence throughout – great stuff.

This time I very much agree with your decision to present the images in black & white – it greatly heightens the psychological effect of the images and suggests the innate surreality of memory (and, perhaps, dream?).

What makes this a successful series is worth summarising for your own future reference:-
• Your initial brainstorming of ideas
• Your trial-and-error approach to shooting
• Your experimental approach
• Your research and preparation
• Your willingness to be more self-critical at the image-selection (editing) stage
• Most importantly: the very personal resonance of the subject matter (- you wanted to “express something” rather than simply “photograph something”).

In terms of the final edit, I might question the inclusion of the first image – clearly a strong image in itself – but does it fit with the atmosphere of the others? Perhaps you just need to pin down the idea behind the image more in your written summary.

In terms of sequencing, there is some visual repetition across images 2 and 3; the poses are very similar at first glance, so I would possibly avoid placing them together in the sequence.

Similar repetition (of pose) between 4 and 7. Consider removing image 4 from the series – it doesn’t seem to add much to the series, in comparison with the others, so has the effect of diluting the work just a little.   (See post here for the sequencing and the inclusion of first image).

Coursework
• Again, some good work produced through the coursework exercises, at times illuminating your desire for self-expression through photography (as in the ‘window’ exercise).

Research
• I’m glad to see that you have taken on board some of the advice from the book Behind the Lens – this has clearly had a beneficial impact on your way of working.
• I would highly recommend a reading of Camera Lucida in connection to this assignment in particular, as here Barthes meditates on the elusive nature of memory in relation to his deceased mother.  (See post here).
• Please do continue to reflect on how your research is feeding into how you think about and take photographs.

Learning Log
• You’ve made a particularly good learning log entry here, Ghada. This is what the learning log is all about: asking questions, working through an idea via research and then testing it that idea within your own practice.
• It’s evident that the learning log is beginning to function more as a blog or notebook for your thoughts and ideas as they develop; including tests, experiments, independent research, self-reflection.

Suggested reading/viewing
• Camera Lucida by Roland Barthes, as above – a small but dense book that I think you’ll enjoy re-reading as your studies progress (essential text).
• Are you aware of the work of Francesca Woodman? She’s an important artist for you to be aware of and able to reference in terms of this assignment.  (See post here).

Pointers for the next assignment / assessment
• Would you mind sending me a brief (200ish words) proposal for your next assignment please, Ghada, articulating the kind of images you hope to create and why (and also how). As you know, this can be very helpful in focusing initial thoughts as well as giving me the chance to suggest relevant references.

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