Assignment 6 – Pre-assessment Review

Here is a summary of my video call I conducted with my tutor for Assignment 6 – Pre-assessment Review:

I had a useful and engaging discussion with my tutor regarding presenting my work for assessment as well as going forwards with my course after the documentary module is complete. Key points we discussed were the presentation of all assignments but in particular Assignments 2 and 5. These incidentally posed the most difficulty for myself in preparing for assessment.

For Assignment 2’s presentation I purposefully left large white borders on the prints to imitate Polaroid/Instax borders. This was in order to further convey the picture-in-picture message and also lead up to the final photograph where all the images appear with my hand holding the frame. The reasoning behind this was that it remained consistent from image to image in the Polaroid/Instax style where each possessed a thick white border around two sides of the image and thinner borders on the other two sides. My tutor appreciated this nod towards the Polaroid/Instax style and the fact it continued into the final photograph where all the Polaroid/Instax images appeared together (complete with white borders).

Assignment 5 I had presented as a photo book initially to my tutor and on my blog. My tutor and I had discussed in detail during the video call for Assignment 5 whether it worked as a photo book, in particular whether the diptychs worked as a strategy for displaying the images. At first I was quite adamant that the diptychs did work. However, after my tutor’s suggestion that the initial composites produced were the ‘standalone’ images and my own experimentation with how to present the ‘supporting documents’ where I featured heavily in self-portraits, I am of the opinion the initial composites are the ‘centrepiece’ and merit their own space. Therefore I’ve printed them large (A3-sized) for assessment whereas the ‘supporting documents’ for each standalone image have been printed together on one piece of A3 paper but with smaller individual print space.

We then briefly discussed the other assignments. I described to my tutor how I had plans to make Assignment 1 into a handmade photo book, where I was just getting materials and equipment for the book. The reasoning for making it handmade was because I felt it suited the organic qualities of the brewery itself and the subsequent pictures. In contrast I had also presented Assignment 3 in photo book but it had been produced by an online photo book publisher and so was of a professional (and therefore a somewhat more synthetic) quality. I felt suited this type of subject (gentrification in Deptford better). I also showed how I had taken care to pay more attention to the formatting in the photo book produced for Assignment 3 than the formatting for the initial submission of Assignment 5. This included bigger borders for the photographs as well as more attention paid to the text and placement of the text on the front cover/introduction.

For the critical review editing, I had completed three quarters of its revision. I intended to make another paragraph showing how with a lot of contemporary photography, including Thomas Ruff and Bettina von Zwehl, appearances can be deceptive. This was where through use of the existing genre of say portraiture as a template, they introduce seemingly subtle variations which subvert that genre. My tutor acknowledged this was a common strategy in contemporary photography and would be a good idea for my own photography going forwards.

We discussed Daido Moriyama, particularly Bye Bye Photography (1972) which I had been struggling to incorporate into my critical review. My tutor’s insights into Moriyama’s Bye Bye Photography where he suggested to look at the book as a whole as a kind of flowing text rather than individual images was a concept I had begun to develop beforehand. This backed up my thoughts and I now could be more confident including my reasoning into how Moriyama didn’t in fact use emotion directly in his photography (as I had first suggested). In fact Moriyama’s consistent aesthetic (are, bure, boke) and subject matter (or lack of) indicated that it was strangely appealing because it went against all that was traditional photography and made a bold, stark and haunting statement.

Like with the video call I conducted with my tutor for Assignment 5, I found that post-conceptualisation and subsequent experimentation would likely be key to my progression with the course and indeed my photography going forwards. This would mean shooting more frequently and without a clear concept in mind (or at least without my usual preconceptions) during the early stages of a project and allowing the idea to develop through experimentation. Another aspect of experimentation my tutor noted was that of taking risks with the experimentation. He used the example of experimenting with different types of film like slide film (E6 process) in order to differentiate my work. On the subject of taking risks, I asked my tutor whether it would be enough to stick with what I had been experimenting with in both the Documentary and Landscape modules – where I had been interested in the way people inhabit the landscape and how they add vitality to it. My tutor said this was a difficult question but answered it by saying that I could use elements I had been building up in the Documentary and Landscape modules going forwards but to remember to keep on experimenting and pushing outside of my comfort zone. This answer was very helpful and pushed home the need for experimentation and refinement in order to develop.

References:

Moriyama, D. (1972). Bye Bye Photography. 1st ed. Tokyo: Shashin hyoron-sha.

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