Assignment 1 - Tutor Report

I received my tutor report last week and was very happy to read it. First of all, I like the fact that we get a new tutor every course, because I notice that each one has a different way of giving feedback and looking at my work. Taken all the feedback of the courses together, it has really helped me to focus on different issues and look at my work from different perspectives. So here's the report and my response.

Overall Comments

 Many thanks for submitting this first assignment Leonie.

This was a really interesting series of images that explored the notion of segregation between male and female, using an Indian metro station as a location.

Overall, this was a positive start to exploring this module, which should offer the opportunity for further development of both technical and conceptual skills.

As this is your first assignment submission, there are no previous feedback issues to reflect upon at this point in time.

 Assessment Potential

You may wish to get credit for your hard work and achievements with the OCA by formally submitting your work for assessment at the end of the module. More and more people are taking the idea of life-long learning seriously by submitting their work for assessment but it is entirely up to you.  We are just as keen to support you whether you study for pleasure or to gain qualifications.  Please consider whether you want to put your work forward for assessment and let me know your decision when you submit assignment 2.  I can then offer you feedback on how well your work meets the assessment requirements.

I do want to submit my work for assessment and am interested in getting specific feedback on how to do that most successfully.

Feedback on assignment

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity

  • I liked this body of images and thought they worked well together as a series of pairings.  As mentioned below … it was quite difficult for me at first to try and understand what you were trying to achieve through these images … probably more due to the chronological nature of your blog posts.  I’d try to complete an assignment submission as one set piece and submit this in its entirety if possible. Including references and a bibliography (see below)

I think this is a good idea, I was already thinking that it might be a bit unclear if you have to start reading from former blogposts to get the idea all at once. Especially because the differences between the sets are very subtle and there are no captions, you do need to have some information at hand straight away.

  • Your chosen subject matter was not easy by any stretch of the imagination and took confidence and vision to achieve.  I feel you definitely left your comfort zone here, which was great to see. You mentioned that you shot it fairly quickly in the Metro before being moved on …. a project like this takes times really and you get to know what you are looking for and become quicker and less obvious at capturing with practice … avoiding those who don’t want you taking photographs there !! This was a great effort though !

Thanks! Next time I'll just do it the official way and get permission. I don't think it is that hard and it makes taking photos there so much less stressful!

  • Some of the images worked really well for me … especially the first shot and the third shot in their own right. The light on the first shot coming up through the escalator was really well seen / captured.  The symmetrical and graphic nature of the third shot worked well also … with the crammed carriage and all those eyes on you and also the figure entering the frame to the right.  It reminded me of a project one of my Slovakian full-time students conducted on the London Underground last year … he called it ‘Transit’ and he focused upon collections of the different types of commuters and their poses etc.  You can view it here  Some of these shots were heavily influenced by both Walker Evans and also a Liverpool based photographer called Tom Wood. (Check out his ‘All Zones Off Peak’ publication shot on Liverpool Buses during the 1980’s)

I'll have a look at their work and reflect upon it in an other blog post.

  • Other shots such as images 7 & 8 (aerial) show a good eye for composition … I also think from a technical perspective you are very competent … so I have no major concerns here.


  • My only criticism would perhaps be that I’m unsure how successful you have been in regards to showing / visually demonstrating gender segregation through the imagery.  I think this was present … but in order to have achieved this objective I think you might have been required to shoot over a much longer period of time …. which this assignment doesn’t really offer.  There is therefore plenty of room here to revisit this idea and perhaps make more of an extended project of it at a later date.

I agree. I think this is mostly true because the image that show only men or women don't convey that message too much, since there are not so many of them. But maybe there are other ways to show it even better. At first I was thinking of photoshopping the women in the images of only men in such a way that you would see a clear pattern of men and women in the images. But I would have to spend much more time taking photos to get enough material to do that.

  • Academic Reference - As I’m sure you are already aware, it is crucial to start including citation within your written work.  The reason why we cite ‘academic reference’ is to demonstrate you have engaged in wider reading of secondary sources IE: Books, Journals, Films, Websites etc.  Quoting from, or alluding to these sources to back up the points you wish to make, shows a sophistication of writing and expression, which is what is required at degree level study.  By referencing clearly, you can show which ideas are your own and which ideas you have borrowed from other sources [thus avoiding plagiarism].  By relating the work of others to your own, you establish a ‘Critical Position’.  The quality of these sources are always very important so forget Wikipedia, which should really be avoided if possible.  These are just on-line encyclopedia entries by anybody with an interest and don’t hold any academic rigour, scrutiny or peer review.  Make sure you are looking at relevant sources and always include the full ‘Harvard’ reference in your bibliography, which you are doing within the ‘references’ section of your blog.  This does sound a bit heavy, but as already mentioned, you need to balance the level of practice to theory on a visual arts undergraduate programme of study – which is why the inclusion of your referencing from the outset if so important.

This is so true. Thankfully I have found a good website that creates the references for you, which saves me a lot of time and hassle and makes it much easier to do.


Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity

  • I have taken a good look at this via your blog and it appears to be progressing well.  I’ll try to suggest some good reading for you to engage with throughout the course of the module … which should hopefully try and strengthen your critical position. 
  • There is some strong work being conducted through the exercises on the blog which I had a look at. I particularly liked some of the Old Delhi street shots ! With regards to the Colour versus Monochrome debate … see Flusser in the suggested reading section below.



Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis  

  • Your written work reads well and is very reflective … but keep a close eye on grammar and punctuation if possible.  Perhaps have the posts proof read prior to posting. 

This is a good reminder to read and correct my posts a few hours after posting them.

  • The submission also included some good research by practitioners such as Walker Evans / Chris Walker / Garry Winogrand / Helen Levitt etc.

Thanks! I want to make an effort to post many more of these. I realise that in my other courses I kept myself from writing about other photographers because I didn't know where to start or end. Now I just write whatever comes up and whether that is only a bit or half an essay, it doesn't matter, as long as I show what I'm thinking about.

  • I feel confident in your ability to conduct a comprehensive level of in depth research for these assignments.

Learning Log

Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis  


  • I have enjoyed reading your thoughts for both this assignment and your research and exercise work on the blog.  Try to insert more in-text citations and references if you can.
  • The blog works really well for me and I can’t fault what has been included so far.  You are working your way through the exercises and creating some strong written work alike … some good photographers research is also included.
  • Navigation is fine but just keep an eye on how you present the actual assignments … I had to dig around quite a bit through older posts to find what was actually being finally submitted. Maybe once complete, set up the assignment post with a separate link.  The posts seems quite chronological and could perhaps do with some other links that could perhaps slot things into separate categories for easier navigation … such as assignments / exercises / research / practitioners / readings / feedback etc etc

    I noticed with categorising my other courses what works and what doesn't. I'll set up a structure and stick to it throughout the course so that the blog becomes easier to navigate.
  • Try to get involved in some of the student forums and also any study visits that you can attend would all add to the experience. (Probably too difficult given your current location !) I am running one for a show I am putting up in Liverpool on 16th Jan 2016- perhaps check the OCA website to look at any comments or feedback for this event.

Suggested reading/viewing


  • For the next assignment … take a look at this website which details the work of Mark Klett.  It is called Third View and shows landscapes that have been re-photographed in the US, with gaps of a century or more.  I think you might like this work …. the functionality of the website really adds to the viewing experience and there are plenty of ‘views’ that have been re-visited.  Try to drill down into some research about this genre of  ‘Re-Photography’ which was all the rage a couple of years ago !  There should be plenty of academic result / journals and papers written about what has been going on here.


  • If you don’t already know her work, Nicky Bird is worth looking at … especially her ‘Tracing Echoes’ project which can be found here:


  • Lastly, I have just finished a powerful little book by Vilem Flusser called ‘Towards a Philosophy of Photography’ – It’s relatively cheap … so perhaps give it a try ! It also has some interesting thoughts about the Monochrome / Colour debate which may be of use in your research.

“The camera is structurally complex, but a functionally simple plaything. In this respect, it is the opposite of chess which is structurally simple, but a functionally complex game.”

Flusser, Vilem.1983: Towards a Philosophy of Photography. Reaktion Books. London.

ISBN: 978-1-86189-076-4

Thanks! My resolution for this year and course is to become a better reader and researcher. It's good to have a few starting points and head off!


Pointers for the next assignment / assessment

  • Once you have had a think about which option you wish to pursue and how you intend to go about visualizing it … drop me an email and I’ll get back to you with some more research / practitioners to take a look at.

Thanks for the feedback Keith!