Assignment 4 - Tutor Report

After a very informative Skype conversation with my tutor, I received the following report. It's always very encouraging to talk to my tutor and I always feel like I've learnt something or have gotten a new and different view on things. Here's the report, with my comments below:

Overall Comments

 You are going for assessment.

A good critical response to the brief you set yourself. You have again challenged yourself by experimenting and allowing yourself to be influenced by research.

Thanks! It is interesting to notice how looking at other photographer's work influences my own photography and style. I don't have the idea anymore that I have to be original, but rather find my way through the influences of others, which is much more exciting and unpredictable.

 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

 In addition to, or complimentary to the feedback given during Skype tutorial –

You have successfully met the brief with a good set of images informed by local knowledge, previous shoots and taken over a sustained day of shooting.

We debated about how intelligent the travel publication could/should be as your images are informed by a great deal of local knowledge and empathy. You are not simply, illustrating the preconceptions, usually misconceptions, of the editor standing in for an audience, to paraphrase Phillip Jones Griffiths.

I find that especially when working with a brief, it has an effect on what I photograph and also choose as final submissions. It's good to be aware of that and learn to stay true to your own style and working, while at the same time fulfil the request of the client.

The debate about the girl relaxing on the beach was interesting as you highlighted this as a significant scene – it is rare to see Senegalese women having leisure time – yet of course this is a Western commodity to which many of us are over-blessed, so the [Western audience's] interpretation could be of something 'typical' rather than atypical. Context via captions could be important, how do you make the viewer stop and consider an image?

I have added a comment to my selection criteria post and hope it is a bit more clear why I chose this photograph in particular and why the scene spoke to me in this way.

Evidence of experimentation and the influence of photographers you have researched, there is a balance of Bresson moment-catching and Guidi's displays of 'boringness'.

The whole effect is one of the epic to the everyday. The two wide landscapes from the high viewpoint, not only fit the brief, but are sumptuous.

I particularly like the awkward portraits of the fishermen with their catches. Your experimentation has worked here and you've chosen correctly.

I find myself coming back to August Sander's work and feel a strong influence of the way he portrayed his subjects, showing their profession, but also a part of who they were and how their personalities fit with what they do and are proud of. 

I am again drawn to your writing, it would be useful to reflect more on the experience of photographing in West Africa as a whole, something that sums up your varied approaches, the inherent difficulties and your awareness of historical and contemporary practice as well as the political ramifications of a Westerner working in Africa.

I will include a post with my reflections and my ideas on how to continue my work as a photographer living as a stranger in a country and the process of how time makes you look differently at things and your environment. 

Again, as in previous submissions, there are decent compositions with noteworthy attention paid to the fall of light. You pick out colour well, often with travel images this can look a little forced.

Great that you researched Guy Tillim's. His quotes are especially useful in negotiating the debate about 'the right' to represent.

It is important to note that you have paid to photograph in the village

 Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays Context

Reflective posts, good study visits, and evidence of building towards a heightened awareness of where your practice aspires to sit in photography.

Suggested reading/viewing Context

A4 subject matter - Frank Meadow Sutcliffe
George Rodger and Leni Riefenstahl for the wrestlers

Pointers for the next assignment

Your work with wrestlers is likely to form a submission for Assignment 5, note the following from the handbook -

Please note that one of the most important aspects of photography is using discernment in your choice of the images to submit. You need to show both your tutor and assessor that you can project good judgement in your choices.

Take care with fulfilling your own brief. I've put a deadline for a month's time, let me know if we need to talk sooner.

Thanks again for your feedback!