Assignment two (self assessment)

Demonstration of technical and visual skills

For all my images I used a fixed 50mm lens; in a relatively confined interior setting, a wider angle lens would have included too much distracting background matter and I needed to carefully frame the images to include a limited subject. In addition, the portrait lens gave me a maximum aperture of 1.8 to allow sufficient light for the inside setting and allowed me to blur the background in those images where there is a sense of depth. I  wanted the backgrounds to have a less sharp focus in order to concentrate the viewers attention on the words within the images. I used my tripod in all the images.

Visually, I was very much aware of showing, not telling and felt for the first time that I actually ‘created’ and ‘staged’ all the images, rather than seeking out appropriate opportunities, as I have in previous assignments. I felt that this assignment had moved into the realms of creativity when I found myself cutting and gluing knitting patterns around jars of coffee.

I spent a lot of time on planning what type of images I wanted beforehand and took quick photos on my phone first, to roughly determine if I thought they could work, before taking them properly.

I also felt that I engaged with Hurn’s comment that ‘photography is only a tool, a vehicle, for expressing or transmitting a passion in something else’ (Boothroyd, page 58). I feel that I am aware of my literacy and numeracy skills everyday. I work in a finance office and very much like numbers but I love words and both are a source of satisfaction and pleasure in my life. Illiteracy is something that I can sympathise with but also get annoyed with; annoyed with the standard of education that means that ‘English teenagers are some of the least educated in the developed world’. (Ross, 2017). As such I am aware that this assignment has resulted from an interest of mine which hopefully, one day, may be the start of me being a photographer and not ‘someone who is interested in photography’ (Boothroyd, page 58)

Technically, my tutor, Derek, said of my last assignment, ‘that I am still finding my feet’. I still feel that this is true but I hope I am moving in the right direction.

Quality of outcome

I have used objects in my images to suggest a daily domestic situation. The doll and book for instance is a metaphor for a child’s bedtime and the image, with narrative, is leading a viewer to consider the effect that having an illiterate parent may have on the child’s future.

7 pm ‘It’s too late for a story tonight’

The link between all the images I feel is coherent with close views, narrow depth of field and colour palette. I have used relay narrative in the form of ‘excuses’ that are often made regarding not being able to read and feel that this adds to the impact of the portrayal of daily life. I think that I have produced a photo story of a subject that I am very interested in that works in delivering a message in a coherent way.

Demonstration of creativity

I had many ideas of subjects that I thought would fulfil the brief and considered them all before deciding on a final one. I also considered and rejected a few ideas regarding my chosen theme before settling on one. To me, this shows how my creativity is developing as I am thinking more around ideas and how to articulate them. I have used images, and narrative in a way that I haven’t done before and I have staged my images, also in a way that I have not previously done. I feel that I have ‘made’ my images rather than taken them.


My images were taken in the context of appreciating and considering what it must be like to find reading difficult, and in the context of  highlighting a serious issue in the UK. I had never really considered the great extent of illiteracy in this country before. As a result of this assignment I think I will be more mindful of reading difficulties. I work in a college and I have had people ask if they can take a form home to complete and I now recognise that this could actually be an excuse for not being able to complete it themselves.


Boothroyd, S. (2014) Context and Narrative, Open College of the Arts

Ross, E. (2017). English teenagers ‘are the most illiterate in the developed world’. [online] The Independent. Available at: [Accessed 28 Oct. 2017].


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