Course: Expressing Your Vision
Assignment two – ‘Collecting- The Middle (following on from Assignment two – ‘Collecting’ – The Beginning)
Self Assessment / Strengths and Weaknesses:
It’s always hard to judge the strength and weaknesses of your own images as you place a degree of protectionism on them, maybe because it was a technique you hadn’t used before and we’re pleased with the outcome or the subject matter was/is close to your heart. I do ask my family and friends for constructive feedback, however, for them it’s more about the aesthetics rather than the technicalities of the image they assess, so it’s difficult to get a rounded critique of an image as a whole. That said by using the specific criteria as set out within the course material you can get some guide as to how you measure up and what is required. Part of the Assignment requests a self assessment against the course objectives and you will find this towards the end of this page. I guess experience plays a large part as well in ones ability to critique ones own work, after-all we are all only the sum of our own experiences which could be the biggest limiter.
Now back to the Assignment text, as submitted:
The photograph I like the most from the collection, from an aperture, focal length and composition perspective is Image 3. It appears to be the most natural using an aperture of f/5.6, a focal length of 100mm (full frame c. 160mm) and a close viewpoint. These settings give a good depth of field, with the face and fringe in focus and blurred background, and I think it looks like a reasonable representation of face shape and size. I think all the images in the collection are representative of the people I photographed but as I did not use any extremes of aperture or focal length I expected them to be representative. As discovered in the exercises for this part of the course, a wide-angle lens used close up for a portrait would have been very unflattering. If at the other end I had used my lens at 300mm, camera shake may have been an issue. In aperture priority mode you do not have any specific control over the shutter speed, the only way you can affect the camera’s shutter speed in this mode would be to increase (or decrease) the ISO. Using a well-lit position would help maximise the shutter speed used in any given situation.
What worked well? I think the compositional aspect worked well. I wanted to achieve: a blurred background and managed this in all cases, natural looking subjects and believe that in the main I have achieved this and, a consistent look and feel and believe the colouration and composition are consistent.
What didn’t work so well? I think I needed to explore taking images at different times of the day or employ another pair of hands to help hold a diffuser. When the sun goes in and out behind clouds the lighting conditions can change a lot and in a short space of time, so being able to control light and knowing your equipment so you can make quick adjustments is key to working with natural light.
So now to the course criteria:
Demonstration of technical and visual skills:
I think I provide back up to technical exercises: confirming the materials and techniques used, what I observed and the potential reasons why outcomes are such. I try to keep responses concise in relation to the practical tasks set but where a more rounded explanation is required this is also provided. I do find I am a bit more controlled when working through the specific course instructions compared to the work I produce for non study ‘for fun’ projects. I think this will change as I become more comfortable with the style of study, understand what is required and learn more about what my camera can do and how I can control it.
Quality of outcome:
I learn quickly from what has not gone well in the past and work to put it right and improve for the next time. I take pride in my work and aim to provide a quality submission for my tutor to assess. Ultimately if the tutor can understand what I have done, the thought process I have followed and can see the results from that process easily, that makes the tutors assessment process more effective. I think where I am going to struggle is that I do not have anyone at the moment, apart from my tutor, who can give me feedback on the quality of outcome especially when quality relates to physical prints. This issue comes with distance learning, not having other students or a mentor on hand who understands photography, what is required from it and can help you to navigate any uncertainties face to face. In time I will ask my photography club members to critique my work and although I have entered digital competitions I have not yet entered any print competitions, which I will when the new season starts again. Saying that the critique is generally more geared to individual images as opposed to a series which seems to be the preference for the coursework on this course.
Demonstration of Creativity:
I felt this instructions for this Assignment were a bit ‘straight’ up. The parameters to work within were quite specific and I’m not sure there was a lot of scope for creativity, maybe I’m wrong. I felt I executed the brief as written. Did I do it creatively? I’m not sure. I certainly feel that at the moment I bring more creativity to my non-course photography because it feels freer. I certainly know what I like in my work when I see it and know I have a lot more to give in respect of imagination and creativity. How I present this within the confines of a brief, however, is still largely untested.
I am finding it more difficult than I thought I would to juggle the time I need to do my research and the time I need to write it up on my blog. So far I have prioritised my reading and research as opposed to providing a demonstration on my blog that I have done this. I completely understand that from my tutor’s perspective all they know is what they can see. I have read so much at times my head hurts but I think that’s how study goes. Since February I have been to more exhibitions than I have been to in my whole life to date and have read more about any art practice than I have ever done before. The problem comes with demonstrating that I have done this and the value which I have no doubt got out of these new experiences and further reading. The next challenge for me in this area is to do more of it so I can improve on the critical thinking and reflective areas that the course requires.
Please follow this link for the next section – Assignment two – ‘Collecting’ – The End.