My tutor will be keen to see that I am progressing towards the course outcomes. I have therefore provided this self reflection to explain how I feel that I have developed so far:
Creation of images that demonstrate a practical and conceptual understanding of the appropriate use of techniques
When I first started studying photography about eighteen months ago my main worry was that I couldn’t use my camera instinctively and I was concerned about shutter speed and aperture and ISO and so on and being ‘quick’ enough with all the buttons. I then became worried about composition and exposure. Now, although I am still not intuitive I am much more concerned about having something to say than being super fluent in my camera. I feel that this fluency will come with practice.
My greatest move forward regarding the appropriate use of techniques was with the poem exercise where I chose to represent the dream like quality that I feel when reading Kubla Khan. I knew what I wanted to ‘say’ and made sure that I chose the right outdoor conditions and purposely chose a sunny day (well in advance of my deadline, in case I didn’t get another sunny opportunity.) and a location that felt right in representing the ‘stately pleasure dome’. It was my intention throughout to join two images and amend the opacity to give a hint of both scenes so I ensured that I took images that I felt would work together well.
I also knew that I wanted the final image of the series to be a ‘hint’ of a feeling as the poem slipped from Coleridge’s mind; here the colour was more important than the subject, to depict a hazy dream line trance. I always ‘felt’ this poem to be green!
My assignment submission on Illiteracy was very well received by my tutor but he commented that my exposures needed some attention. I will lighten my images for assessment and be more aware of histograms at the taking stage in future and I will try to be more objective when looking at my final images. I think I took my eye off the ball and concentrated more on the message that my images were giving and didn’t notice the under exposure. I do now though.
Demonstration of an emerging critical awareness and ability to translate ideas into imagery
As stated above, I particularly liked the poem exercise for its non literal interpretation and learned a lot from this. I have also become aware of different practitioners and their approaches to narrative in photography and am particularly interested in story telling with relay narrative. I also realise that to be successful I need to create images within areas that I feel passionate about. I feel that I have many interests: gender, stereotyping, mental health, women’s issues, literacy etc. I am keen to look at the work of others and use these as a springboard for my own ideas. I found Kaylyn Deveney’s’ The Day to Day Life of Alfred Hastings especially engaging and as influenced by this in my illiteracy assignment to use everyday situations and colloquial language in relay narrative. Below is an image from Deveney’s series and below that, one of my own images that resulted from my research.
Image above by Kaylyn Deveney
7 pm ‘It’s too late for a story tonight’
In my last assignment on the Dark Arches in Leeds I used an outdoor setting and the first series of images were presented in black and white. Here I chose a domestic location as a deliberate choice to convey ordinary life in homes across the country and how that life may be affected by low reading ability.
Conduct research, development and production in response to the themes raised in this course
I have studied works of all the practitioners in this section of the course and feel that I have engaged and learned from their approaches. ‘Photographing the unseen’ and the research that I did regarding Peter Mansell’s work, showing how he lives with his disability, and Briony Campbell’s The Dad Project as well as Deveney’s Alfred Hastings directly influenced my work on assignment two. I have developed in my approach by looking at the work of these photographers. I was influenced to chose a domestic approach to reflect a subject that can affect any one of us and to use relay narrative to add to the meaning of the series. I couldn’t have produced the images for my assignment without developing from the learning around these subjects. I look back to my Square Mile images which show ‘things’ connected to my home village and the mining industry, they are ‘of’ things and not ‘about’ them and I can feel that I have moved on in my development and my approach is not the same as it was.
Show a critical understanding of contemporary imagery in relation to historical practice and theory
I particularly liked Campbell’s’ series, The Dad Project and Smith’s Country Doctor for how they tell a story and I can relate their traditional linear storytelling approach ( think Jane Eyre) and how the post modern approach challenged all this (think Wuthering Heights … or Virginia Woolf). I can see how by looking at the work of others (some I engage with and others that I don’t) I am starting to think about my personal voice. I am thinking about concentrating on subjects that interest me which may be the starting point for future work.
What has pleased me the most however is the way that I am thinking more creatively and having more ideas. Part of the preliminary work surrounding assignment two was to think of eight or so ideas relating to ‘photographing the unseen’. I surprised myself by having several ideas for he one project. My tutor commented on this and said that he liked the way that I ‘had lots of ideas and thought them through’.