Jayne Taylor (tutor) and I spoke on Friday. Before discussing the assignment we discussed the coursework. Jayne pointed out that there was one stand alone photograph from my coursework that stood out. Abbey View, in the style of Walker Evans.
It’s strengths were the layers, the subtlety, and foreground.
Formal and Informal Feedback
The following formal feedback word document is published in full with the consent of my tutor Jayne Taylor.
Jayne felt that my assignment was a very good start to the course, and there were five photos which thought were most promising from the assignment.
She thought that this one was the strongest.
The first photo had a depth that meant something to me, and Jayne commented upon the evidence of the connection. The personal connection was present in all of the photos that Jayne thought were good. There was a strength in the composition of the Clifford’s Tower photo (1st). Jayne stated that the photo could have been improved by two things. The use of a tripod, and going back a different times of day and different lighting conditions, to ensure sharpness and detail throughout the photo, and to capture the lighting as I want it rather than leaving it to the digital darkroom. Jayne initially felt that the photo was underexposed, but when I explained that I had deliberately developed it so that there was a cold and foreboding element because I wanted the photo to make a statement about the isolation and massacre of the Jews who were killed there, she was in agreement that I had developed it properly.
The two major learning points from this are:- go back to the same place repeatedly to ensure you understand how it is affected by lighting, and use a tripod.
Photo 2 – river’s Ouse and Foss
The composition was strong in this photo.
Photo 3 – Dick Turpin’s Grave
Good composition and exposure. Simple but strong photo and a strong sense of history.
Photo 4 – York Minster
Strong composition. The amount of windows and their prominence added to the composition. The composition highlights the strength and symbolism of the Minster and the influence and power that it had upon society. A sociological statement.
Photo 5 – Jayne wasn’t keen on the man in the background and felt that he took away from the good use of colour and the lines from the paneling and paving. A good photo which could have been improved if I had taken the scene without anyone in it and had then reduced the exposure upon the shops.
There’s a good learning point there for me and shows where I currently am with my photography. I like the alley, its lines and colours, but felt it didn’t have a point of interest without the man there. I had a good photo without of it without people. If a photo speaks on its own then I don’t need to wait for a secondary point of interest. At least it was strong enough to be mentioned as a good photo.
However, Jayne wasn’t enamoured by my photos which had people in them. She felt that they fell into the category of advertising and promotion, something the council or tourist board would favour. Jayne was clear that if you get commissioned for that type of work then go for it, there is nothing wrong with that kind of photography. But it doesn’t fit in with making a strong series for this assignment.
I discussed how I had tried to demonstrate the different elements of the coursework with my series. The response was clear. Make use of the skills practiced during the coursework for your assignments, but allow only your strongest cuts to go forward for the series, regardless of whether they demonstrate coursework skills or not.
We discussed why the photos of people didn’t work, and Jayne thought there was an overt disconnect between me and the people. I explained my reticence to photograph people without their consent and agreed that this had come out in the photos. However, the flipside is that we both have a strong sense of where we stand ethically in relation to only photographing people with their consent.
The presentation in the book format was good, ant the square format worked well. But in future limit the font to 12 point and 80% grey rather than coloured.
A good assignment that was nicely put together and presented.
Jayne has recommended 4 photographers for me to review, and preferable to buy or lend their books if possible. Anthony Levera, Bill Brandt, Chris Killip and Alec Soth.
A particular point of interest is Jayne’s comment about how good my photography is with larger scale photography. She pointed to the photo I had made of Whitby Abbey (top of page) and also from the assignment the landscape profile of York Minster (below). Although I particularly like those two photos, I had previously considered that I struggled with a broader working canvas. I had felt that there was too much space for me to adequately control.
With the feedback relating to my learning log, I am now continuously updating a log of all my posts relating to Image the Portrait, which I can then add to my completed assignment for ease of access.