Assignment 1: tutor feedback

I got my feedback report from my tutor Derek last week but it’s taken me a few days to get around to writing this.

Generally the feedback was good. The covering email summed it up well:

“I liked a lot of the images – many from the ‘long list’ too. The set is good as it is, but I’ve made some suggestions of other images that you could use that I think would make it stronger.”

So my main issue is selection. I am not surprised by this, as I found the selection process to be very difficult this time around. Derek suggests both selection approaches and specific images to consider in a re-edit.

Overall comments

“Your log gives reasons as to why you’ve developed the project in the way that you have, and your strategy for the editing choices. You indicated an aversion to showing people, to save repetition and clichés. 

I’m not convinced that this is altogether necessary. Yes, repeated shots of people engaged in every activity would appear forced and contrived, yet there is a wealth of creative possibilities beyond that; many of which you’ve demonstrated in your ‘long list’ selection. Such images don’t have to appear similar or clichéd.

Although the images on this long list are too small to make definite decisions on, I’m going to attempt to make suggestions based on a different approach and a re-worked edit. I’m making these suggestions as I feel some of the best images didn’t make it into the final edit. Of course this is only my opinion: if you disagree, and you may well do so, you can defend your choices in your log.

I wouldn’t necessarily say it was an ‘aversion’ to showing people, rather that I wanted to mix it up a bit to avoid too much repetition, but I do concede that I might have taken this approach a little too far and could relax about including more people-activity shots without fear of repetition.

It’s good that there are stronger alternatives in the long list; at least they’re all photographs that I took, and it was my discernment in the edit that was my weakness rather than my photographic skill!

More detailed comments

I’ll paraphrase rather than quote everything:

Technical and visual skills

  • Don’t worry too much about colour rendition variations, these are to be expected in these conditions
  • Prints were good quality; some highlights and shadows clipped, consider revisiting the raw files
  • Some odd framing decisions – unconvinced by my cropping of heads in half (which I tried to justify) as too distracting, takes the eye out of the frame
  • Final edit pics OK but contact sheet showed lots of underexposed shots (lighting conditions – I figured I could retrieve detail in post-processing)

Outcome and creative input

  • This is where the selection point comes in
  • Derek suggested more general images rather than the four specific activities I included
  • More interaction shots
  • He suggested keeping four of the set unchanged (below) and considering alternatives for the other six
  • A keeper rate of 40% was a bit disheartening! Although I realised I don’t necessarily need to take all of the tutor’s advice…
  • He suggested specific replacement shots under a few categories:
    • Establishing
    • Dog
    • Food + music
    • Still life
    • Quiz interaction
  • However, on his advice I am not going to go straight back in and do a re-edit now; instead I will give it a few weeks and come back to it with a fresh pair of eyes

Coursework and learning log

  • Good feedback here:
    • “demonstrates engagement and creativity”
    • “thorough and invites exploration”

Suggested reading/viewing

  • On Being a Photographer by Hurn & Jay
    • I confess I have read this and didn’t really get on with it; I found their approach to photo-essays overly prescriptive and a little unimaginative
  • Photographers and projects:
    • Tom Wood’s Looking for Love
    • Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen’s Byker
    • Paul Reas’ Flogging a Dead Horse and Can I Help?
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3 thoughts on “Assignment 1: tutor feedback

  1. Anne Bryson 19 April 2016 / 11:13

    It is really dificult isn’t it. You are asked to be creative, you research some very odd photographers then when you try to bring a different style into your own work isn’t always well received. He has been quite constructive though and overall the feedback is very good. The trouble is that we tend to focus on the negative and skim over the positive comments.

    I am absolutley dreading my first lot for this course, not nearly as creative or objective as you are!

    Like

    • Rob Townsend 20 April 2016 / 14:03

      Thanks. I think his feedback was fair, it’s really about my selection and I wasn’t 100% sure about it at the time.

      Don’t stress too much on this first assignment – and I’m sure you’re creative :-)

      Like

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