I have now received formative feedback from Garry, my tutor. Edited feedback and responses below. Garry’s notes in blue, my responses in black. PDF document here
Garry has also sent an annotated copy of my essay. Word document here.
Digital composites and staging of the ‘invisible man’. Its a comprehensive submission with the materials including the final image, inclusion of contacts showing selection and a detailed visual outline of the different elements and technique involved in constructing the final assignment image are clearly documented. To integrate the Learning log with this final outcome even more: perhaps some more ‘signalled’ references within the write up/evaluation, particularly paragraph 6 when you begin to outline the technique used :” Lighting proved to be a challenge…etc”
Additional cross-referencing to learning blog required. However, not always appropriate when I am describing existing skills rather than something learned during the C&N course.
Make the links that you have made by showing them rather than ‘telling’ them just in the written evaluation. Perhaps a reference to either the learning log (or the companying ‘set up’ document)? Documentation of these f-stop and lighting diagrams and settings and any instructional manuals etc on fill in flash and balancing exposure (dynamic range, exposure triangle etc). You can then use this as a reference link in this write up so the reader/assessor is aware of your ‘reflective learning’. So, make it obvious what you are linking to by providing an in text citation reference within the text of the write up (as well as referencing your blog within the actual bibliography).
I had not really considered referencing my own documents in the bibliography, assuming that binding them into the main document would be enough. Easy enough update to do where the documents exist. I’m still not convinced about the value of a post-hoc rationalisation of existing skills, though.
Contextual write up is solid with reference to two major ‘Tableau’ practitioners, although you should define these critical terms in the intro – as well as popular misused terms such as ‘surreal’. Differences in approach of these artists are sound (but neglect their similarity of ‘staging ’ strategy?). Could include other references on representation/reality (Lorca di Corica? – assignment 3) as well as those that you may have drawn influence from in your chosen approach, which is much more – as you mention – a constructed composite technique rather than staging/strategy. Perhaps someone in Szarkowski’s ‘mirror’ strategy (such as Jerry Uelsmann) rather than the ‘directorial mode’ windows strategies you have mentioned.
I enjoyed the Uelsmann images (and recall seeing them in the photographic hobby mags when they were new in the 1970s) which are all the more impressive for having been created in the darkroom, pre-Photoshop. Some definition of terms to be added, though not in the intro paragraph.
Feedback on assignment and supporting work
Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity
I have made notations on the original word file with a summary below of the key points.
Word file linked at the top of this posting. Good suggestions for additional explanations and referencing, but with the standard problem of attempting to fit it all into the set word-count. Some amendments will be made to text.
Great write up and evaluation. Just add more detailed rigour and cross referencing – so perhaps when explaining a certain technique (you do refer to the supporting document on ‘set up) but also refer and make a link here directly to the ‘Learning Log’.
“Show your workings”
• Detail: for example, A DSLR with 24-70 standard zoom lens, 50mm? 35mm – each have their own framing and focus ‘looks’ as well as hinting at more psychological ‘about looking’ aspects (for example 50mm being naturalistic perspective and more contemplative and ‘still’ or static; whilst wider lenses being more ‘dynamic’. Hitchcock for example, used a 50mm lens as much as possible. More ‘expressionistic’ film makers (Marneau) or photographers such as Jerry Uselman (see – Readings) wider lenses with dynamic foreshortened angels. All this is relevant to the choices and selection of materials from your ‘arsenal’ with which to highlight the mood and concept.
In a way, I was emulating Julia Margaret Cameron, whose strategy for focussing was ‘adjust it until it looks beautiful’. Maybe not beautiful in my case, but I do tend to adjust until it looks right. Focal length for all images in the composite was 55mm, which is toward the long end of ‘standard’ once a minor crop is taken into account.
Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays
• Blog is really comprehensive and full of technical and contextual research.
• The technique based material that you mention in the write up and self-reflection is all there in the blog / learning log.
• If there is a way you can simply summarise in bullet point at the beginning as well as make a cross reference link from the self-refection to the material in the learning log that shows the planning etc for the assignment that would make it easier for assessors to get a really quick overview (in limited time) to pick up on the relevance of your research and refection in a more direct easier way.
Otherwise its pretty comprehensive. Some reference to pre-planning and ‘real world’ practice based research you may use such as Depth of Field (mentioned in Assignment 1); planning shoots before execution (Weather Underground and TPPE – The Photographers Ephemeris so you can gauge time of day/direction of light before final shoot: https://http://www.photoephemeris.com
I know abut TPE and use the iPhone app. I had checked light direction by practical observation a few days previously, and set up shoot timing to suit. Unfortunately, the weather was not with us on the scheduled date.
Engaging writing style with detailed description of technique.
Placing this work in context with other practitioners who use similar staging strategy.
Photoshop / composite technique
Contact print selections annotated.
Areas for development
Could reference more rigorously in write up to blog where technique is explained and shown with reference to technical workbook etc.
Tendency to neglect rigorous definition of key terms and assume reader will understand them. Surrealism, Directorial Mode, Tableau etc.,
Standard question: am I writing for a lay reader or for an assessor with an appropriate level of knowledge?
(Technique) match this in preplanning so exposure notes are taken to match much more ‘in camera’
Contact print selections annotated. Say why? by perhaps making notes either on the sheet or referencing elsewhere where you bullet point summary the reasons for the choice – technical .