Firstly I feel that my technical abilities and control over my camera settings and equipment, lighting, prop use, editing skills, locations, camera angles etc have improved and overall I have a better understanding of how my camera works and how I can use all of the above to express or portray something. My use of aperture and depth of field to create intimate imagery is something that I feel I have begun to get to grips with in particular on this course although I am aware that I need to put some more time and effort in to mastering other techniques too. My visual skills are improving too in that I am more aware of what is potentially in the frame of any one image and whether anything in the frame will change the intended message of the picture. I have learnt to think about the angles and lines in the picture and whether they are straight, such as keeping my horizon line level unless intended otherwise. I am aware that I need to explore the implications of different lighting, colours and tones in any potential image to make sure that I am utilising the available light and colours to ensure that I am actually sending out the message with my work that I am intending – for example, not using a cool blue image to portray something happy and bubbly or vice versa a red room shadowy room to portray something safe and calm (these are obviously general examples and don’t always apply to every image).
Throughout this course I would say that I have definitely spent a lot of time outside of my comfort zone, as I am quite an anxious person this perhaps isn’t too surprising given that anything outside of my usual routines can be unnerving yet, despite this fear of the unknown, I have never, ever taken the easiest option with any of the course exercises assignments on this course. I am constantly striving for a more interesting option even if it is more difficult or daunting for me and I think this is reflected well in the work I have produced. One point I will make is that I need to be braver with regards to using my camera in public and I need to stop caring about what others are thinking and get in to my zone with it. ‘Don’t be afraid to get obsessed’ as Annie Leibovitz said recently, in the advert for her new masterclass. I have a feeling that Identity and Place will help me to overcome these social photography issues and will push me right out of my comfort zone for sure!
When re-reading my tutor reports I realised something that I hadn’t previously recognised as a strength but now do and that is my willingness and enthusiasm to learn. I would say that the only area that I could improve in regards to this is my willingness to re-shoot material for revised versions of Assignments. I also need to start revising each Assignment in response to my tutor reports earlier on so that I have time to re-shoot sections of it.
Another strength that I have is that I am able to explore several avenues before picking a final subject for Assignment instead of jumping straight in to one line of thought – something that I was previously struggling with but have developed as I have moved through EYV and C&N. I would like to continue doing this and something that I know I need to improve in relation to this is the strength of my ideas – when I pick a subject I need to be clear on what my intentions are and be careful not to go off on tangents that make the final series confusing. For example – Assignment 3 would have been better if the same elements had been used in all of the photographs (one being me as one of my former selves in an archive photo and the other presence a link to the present me). In my final images, although the images were very good and the set very strong, the intentions behind it were not very clear to the viewer. I know at times I tend to forget what I am striving for when shooting and tend to float in to something else and although that flow could have its uses sometimes it is not very good practice for Assignments moving forward. This is something that I am working very hard on changing and for my final Assignment I began to formulate some very strong ideas about what I wanted to portray and what I was inspired by and how I was responding to that.
One of the things that was flagged time and time again in EYV by my tutor was a flaw in my research process meaning that I did not explore enough of the work of my contemporaries and of historical figures within the Photography genre and so throughout Context and Narrative I have tried very very hard to include detailed research pages with both factual conclusions and personal evaluations of what I have learnt and what has inspired or confused me. Through my tutor reports for this course I can see that I have achieved a big leap in this department and my hard work has therefore begun to pay off. I still need to keep working on applying the research that I have done to my own work but I have made a very good start at least towards perfecting my research process.
During this course I have visited double the amount of exhibitions that I did throughout EYV and although I am aware that I need to increase this amount still further I am pleased with my efforts thus far. I used to find galleries and exhbitions a little dull but since I have been studying Photography I feel able to engage with the exhibitions better, they mean more to me now. I wish I lived a bit closer to London because I keep seeing lots of exhibitions on sites such as Artsy.net that would really interest me that are based in London. When I begin Identity and Place I will try to make it up to London for a day of exhibition viewing, the only limitation being that I don’t have very much money for the transport. Recently I viewed Trish Morrissey’s A Certain Slant of Light at Hestercombe house which is only a short distance from me and I made use of a holiday in Wales to visit an exhibition there so it is possible to find exhibitions around me I just need to keep looking and attend everything I come across so that I can build more of a contextual section to my blog and thus expand my own knowledge of my contemporaries.
I have tried to self-appraise after each Assignment using the Assessment Criteria as guidelines and my tutor pointed out that I don’t include enough of what I could have done better or differently and I talk more of my strengths. I feel a bit embarrassed by this as I didn’t want to come across as boastful but neither did I want to talk too negatively as I am a very harsh critic of my self and my work anyway. However I do understand that it is important for me to be able to talk about what didn’t go as well as I had hoped and what I can do about it in the future. I endeavor to improve my self-appraisal as I hope I have done in this text as I write it.
I would say that my best work, the work which I am most proud of is actually Assignment 4 which way the photo interpretation essay. I was very worried about how I would do on this Assignment as I have not had to do anything like it before and it was really daunting but I feel the end result is really rather good considering. It took a great deal of perseverance and concentration and I think this really paid off. Of the physical Assignments I would say that Assignment 3 is my best work, it is my strongest set in terms of material, colour scheme, personal voice and imagination.
Overall I have enjoyed every part of this course, even at its most challenging and looking back at my progress from start to finish has made me feel very proud of myself and my achievements. I am amazed at how much I have learnt and grown in just over one year. I am very much looking forward to the next step, Identity and Place and will take all that I have learned over to this next step of my BA Hons Photography journey.