Sunday, October 30, 2011

Assignment 1: Tutor Feedback

My tutors feedback was both positive and informative, providing background and additional context to the assignment I had just completed.  In particular he related the architectural style of many of the buildings I had imaged back to the Bauhaus movement of the Wiemar republic, a movement repressed in the 30's, but reinvigorated in post war Germany.  I notice, as I walk around Munich, that the clean, functional design pioneered 90 years ago is still very visible in newly build apartments.  Indeed in a country dominated by apartments versus houses design has a much greater play in building.

Moving onto the specific feedback, I was on the whole very encouraged by the feedback, it seems that I am making progress and developing a degree of my own style - perhaps not a voice, as of yet, but a beginning. Two photographs needed amending, one by re-framing the other by replacement.

Roofs (Legacy-6):

This image was seen as weak, the support to the right leading the eye out of the frame.  I tried reworking it to a better crop, however, I could not make it work.  At this point I had the opportunity to add another photograph that had been rejected as it was in portrait form and I had decided to go with identical framing for all but 1 shot:

However, it was strongly suggested that I consider a very tight crop to bring the focus of attention into the architecture rather than the sky:

This is now the image that I will submit for assessment, it has the same narrative as the former image, but is better structured and also capture two extra elements that tell more of the story of the park, firstly the rather odd car shaped peddle boats that people can hire in the summer and a mounted policeman.

The other photograph needing work was Primary (Legacy-9).  In this case all that was needed was a more intelligent crop to a square form, better defining the strange structures of the student village.

In moving onto the next few assignments I feel that I now have a choice to make, whether to continue with a very bold composition reinforced with strong colour, or to start exploring other forms of photographic expression.  Whilst I am aware of needing to development personal style, I do not think that now is the time to do that.  These Level 5 courses offer me a chance to explore ideas and styles, before having to commit to greater consistency in the Level 6 courses that bring me towards the final grading.  I am already working on both assignments 2 and 3, each of which has the potential to be very different to this submission.  Assignment 2 is in the city, a study of a small area, and currently targeted for a B&W treatment, retaining strong geometric composition, but abandoning colour.  With my early thoughts towards Assignment 3, I am working in the early morning mist looking at how the light interacts with space in a local park.  This requires delicate colour management and results in very soft forms that have little geometry.  Whether this becomes Assignment 3 or not, will depend upon feedback from my tutor, however, I feel the need to explore a more lyrical compositional style.

Learning Points:
  1. In this submission my goal was to generate a uniformity in the size and aspect ratio of the printed photographs, very much determined by the A4/A3 destination of the final output.  It was clear that this is not necessary and that experiment with aspect ratios is part of my development.  However, I find that this will work for certain subjects, others need the uniformity of shape to drive the message of the photographs; I will explore this in future assignments.
  2. A key comment made several times was that there was an absence of people in my shots.  I take that point, especially in photographs that look at inner city spaces and how people inhabit them.  Again this is not always going to be appropriate.
  3. I need to be more careful about the placement of the edge of the frame and how it interacts with the subject matter.  I am also a little careless about composition, I need to very clearly work on tightening up my composition, these are supposed to be interesting photographs, not photographs of interesting things.

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