Assessment Criteria Evaluation:
Demonstration of technical and visual skills
Not applicable – written assignment
Quality of Outcome
I think my assignment essay represents a good quality of outcome. I thoroughly researched my chosen photographer and the era of which my chosen photograph was taken, among other research lines, to help me to understand the intentions and background of the photograph and I edited each paragraph of my essay as I went to make it as short and concise as possible (due to the limited word count I didn’t want to waste any words). I am very pleased with my essay as I wasn’t sure how I was going to write everything that I wanted to say about the work in an articulate way and I think I did manage to do just that so I am very happy with it.
Demonstration of Creativity
I’m not sure how to cover this heading as it was a written assignment but I would like to say that I think I showed a creative approach to this assignment in that I chose a photograph which was not super easy to read and really pushed myself in that way, using my imagination and my own creative understanding to help interpret the image in question.
If there is one thing that I wish I had included more of in my essay it would be that I could’ve used some of Barthe’s way of interpretting and quoted some of his terms for deconstruction of the image and if i had had a larger wordcount I would have pushed this in for sure. I must admit I am still struggling to get my head around Barthes but will keep trying. I have bought a copy of Barthes Camera Lucida and have read a few pages so far, will keep at it!
This is my response to feedback given to me by my tutor in relation to my fourth assignment for Context and Narrative.
‘This is a well-informed and well-structured piece which gives real insight into the work of photographer Guy Bourdin and its transformation from fashion to art over four decades’
I was really pleased and relieved with the response that I got for this assignment as I have never done a proper essay of this level before and therefore wasn’t sure if I was doing it correctly or not. My tutor’s very detailed and in depth feedback really helped me to see where I had done well and where I needed to add to the information in the essay or change aspects of it.
Some of the suggestions that I found most valuable are:
‘I feel your essay would be better for a deeper critical analysis of the work. Barthes would have had a field day with this shot.’
- I absolutely agree with my tutor in regards to this. I should have included a reference towards Barthes in this essay and I didn’t because I couldn’t get my head around it enough to be able to give it a go. I didn’t want to invalidate everything in the essay by getting this bit wrong so I left it out but I understand now that it is crucial that I spend more time learning about Barthes’ theories and I will do see in a re-work of this assignment.
‘I think that you need to be very careful with your definitions.’
- What my tutor meant there (and which he goes on to write in a paragraph too big to post here) is that I used the word documentary when the image I was writing about was constructed in every way possible and therefore the furthest thing from documentary. I understand this completely and in my re-work I will change this terminology and be more careful in future. What I actually meant by the use of the word is that the image could almost be taken for documentary because of its open and honest style. I will rethink how to word this part.
Does the image really reflect the idea you mention, of a ‘women’s sexual and professional freedom’? Some might suggest this shot – like much of Bourdin’s work is deeply erotic, a male fantasy, and very much a part of the ‘male gaze’.
- I understand what my tutor is saying here yet the reason I said that the image reflects the sexual and professional freedom of women at the time is because women wouldn’t have been portrayed in this way at an earlier period in history and the period of time in which this image was published was the beginning of such an era where it was okay for women to be seen in a new light, women were allowed to show their sexuality now. The models in this image by Bourdin are dressed in very skimpy bathing costumes, a relatively new concept. So although timeless in many ways this shows that it was no longer unusual for women to be able to show their bodies when bathing at the very least. Also the market that this image (advert) was intended for at the time was upper class women who were interested in the latest fashions to either work or attend social events in and this also shows that women were free to chose outfits that didn’t necessarily please men foremost or keep themselves covered up. However I can see how the way in which Bourdin has taken the photograph, as with much of his work, is very erotic and represents a very male gaze but could he not do that only because society now allowed that? He was very sexist and not very pleasant to his models so that does imply that the women who worked for him weren’t very free… these are all points I will consider in my re-work although it will be difficult to fit everything that I want to include in to my essay.
‘Good notes on the market for Bourdin’s work via Vogue and other fashion and lifestyle journals, and how the images have now become iconic and exhibited as works in their own right – something that you might want to support with a quote from a historian or creator.’
- A good point made from my tutor. In my rework I will try to find a quote from a historian or a curator so that the point has more weight.
There are more excellent points to consider within the tutor report and I will use them all in a re-work of this assignment. I need to be more analytical and add more critical theory to the essay to show my knowledge and understanding in this area as it develops. Definitely I need to look at Barthes in more detail to advance my own knowledge.