Review Assignment 1

Yesterday I had a Skype conversation with my tutor about assignment 1. In the last course I would only receive the written reports, which was always very helpful. However, I really enjoyed being able to talk about my work, the course and photography in general. It is a very inspiring way of assessing what I have been doing. 

In general, my tutor seems very happy with the assignment. There was a suggestion of cropping out an image a bit more, but after that the conversation was mainly focused on the narrative part of the images. 

I've got some suggestions for books to read and he asked some questions about my work and attitude towards photography that made me think more about it and even better, gave a nice motivational boost! Below is the report my tutor sent me:

Overall Comments

From our initial conversation I’m sure you do want to go for assessment , if not, let me know.

I’m glad you found our Skype tutorial useful, I felt we were able to cover a lot of ground. Very happy to continue to work like this again.

Assessment potential (after Assignments 2 and 4)

I understand your aim is to go for the Photography/Creative Arts* Degree and that you plan to submit your work for assessment at the end of this course. From the work you have shown in this assignment, providing you commit yourself to the course, I believe you have the potential to succeed at assessment. In order to meet all the assessment criteria, there are certain areas you will need to focus on, which I will outline in my feedback.

Feedback on assignment Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity

Notes from Skype tutorial :

Excellent interaction between subjects and camera
Showing good control of subjects and your camera
Impressive ability to construct open narrative

Now is the time to try adding elements that come from you, you are capable of engaging an audience so use that power
Take confidence from the work so far and experiment

Good research and application within images
We discussed minor changes to only a few images, the three that are ‘in the style of’ show good awareness of other artists
Good reflections on your blog – extra reading below


A recent show that had good references for this module is -

Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays Context
A good clear blog with evidence of reflection, if you haven’t already have a
look at other OCA students’ blogs to see best practice in research.

Suggested reading/viewing Context

Useful initial reading list -
John Berger: “Ways of Seeing“ *
Graham Clarke: “The Photograph”
Ian Jeffrey: “Photography: A Concise History”
Susan Sontag: “On Photography”
Roland Barthes: “Camera Lucida”

Five relatively old but excellent entry points into discussing photography

John Tagg: “The Burden of Representation: Essays on Photographies and Histories”
Abigail Solomon-Godeau: “Photography at the Dock: Essays on Photographic History, Institutions and Practices”
Martha Rosler: “Decoys and Disruptions”

Trickier and more in-depth ‘classic’ texts

Susie Linfield: “The Cruel Radiance: Photography and Political Violence“

Contemporary, personal and easy to read, much of it in response to Sontag and Rosler

Liz Wells: “Photography : A Critical Introduction“ and “The Photography Reader”
David Bate: “Photography: Key Concepts”
Stephen Bull: “Photography“
Charlotte Cotton: “The Photograph as Contemporary Art” *
Susan Bright: “Art Photography Now”
David Campany: “Art and Photography”
Ashley la Grange: “Basic Critical Theory for Photographers”

Essential, (at least the first four) contemporary general photography works

Gerry Badger: “The Genius of Photography: How Photography Has Changed Our Lives“

* also on DVD or online
Steve Edwards: “Photography: A Very Short Introduction“ * It really is short!

[no author / Phaidon]: “The Photography Book“ *
Martin Parr / Gerry Badger: “The Photobook: A History“
Geoff Dyer: “The Ongoing Moment” *
Mary Warner Marien: “100 Ideas That Changed Photography” *
For when reading gets too heavy

Anne Jaeger: “Image Makers Image Takers” *

Insights from photographers, commissioners and writers

* Asterisked books are the most accessible

Pointers for the next assignment

Some of the photographers/artists mentioned –

Tom Hunter, Mark Neville, Jeff Wall – we’ll save up some more once you get into the ‘place’ parts of the module.


Tutor name:

Les Monaghan



Next assignment due