Feedback: A1

A week ago Wendy and I had a chat via Skype about A1. She confirmed my concerns that the assignment was overly convoluted but said there were lots of very strong ideas and my picture-making skills good (reassuring!) Her advice was to simplify it either by re-editing or even reshooting using myself as the model acting out each of the 6 people. I totally agree with simplifying but I am having a think about whether to use me in this work or return to one of the models I used and and getting them to ‘perform’ all of the characters. I favour using Lottie and her masks if possible if I go down that route but will need to revisit as I only photographed her with three of the people/masks in her garden – a conversation I need to have with Lottie. Wendy also said she really liked the surreal quality of the cover photo with the chicken and the cat which pleased me as that is the direction I hope to head in – somewhat odd, ‘oneiric’ images.

Here are my notes from our meeting:

A1 Tutorial Feedback 4/8/2017 

Main take-home message

  • Don’t be so hard on yourself
  • Keep it simple
  • Be clear
  • Be economical

Interests that emerge from the work are shifting identity and multiple personality (My clarification for my own understanding – not in the sense of ‘madness’ e.g. Sybil but rather how we all have various masks in different situations and in particular how social media and technology impacts on that).

Survey – the data set was very broad (because I didn’t really know what I was looking for)

Narrow the frame of inquiry – what is it you are trying to say?

Look at Natasha Caruna’s ‘Coup de Foudre’:

Also Claude Cahun and Gillian Wearing again

Gillian Wearing’s ‘Confess All on Video’:

Return to Sophie Calle’s Suite Vénitienne:

We discussed using my self in the work and I recalled thinking about it, indeed being asked by a fellow student from my UVC group if I would ‘do a Cindy Sherman”. Although I thought about it I was concerned I’d already done so much of this in TAOP and felt I should avoid going down that route immediately again. Wendy suggested I should in fact go for it and perhaps reshoot the series with this in mind. S

There was another work Wendy suggested I look at reshooting for the 21st century for A2 using myself (I think some early work bHans Eijkelboom was mentioned but I am not sure exactly which work it was)

Gideon Mendal’s DZHANGAL was also suggested. (Brief. initial look at this is so exciting to see as I did not know it before.)

Key points extracted from feedback document: 

“You mention in your ‘thoughts at the end of the process’ that you feel frustrated by the limits of traditional documentary and portraiture photography. Good! This questioning is all very useful and it is this aspect of photography and portraiture that indeed you are exploring in this assignment.”

“I think the key thing to ask yourself is ‘what and why’. What do you want to say? How are you going to go about this and Why are you using your chosen methods or medium? If you ask your self honestly these three simple questions, things may become clearer. It does seem to me that the role of technology (ie. the internet) plays a rather large part in your ideas, as that is the vehicle that often allows us to assume multiple identities at the click of a button.” It seems odd to still be influenced by my acting training as it was so long ago now but the way I learned to work creatively seems so different from this. The most influential director whose methods I truly loved encouraged us to discover what, who , why over time rather than start with it. In a rehearsal process we would not try to be ‘good’ at the beginning of it. In fact, some super ‘bad’ (whatever that means) broad brush strokes to help get you going are useful early on and over the course of the exploratory period we would begin to find what I thought of as flags which we could put in key places to guide us. Perhaps the director had to consider ‘what and why’ at the beginning and in the sort of photography work I am aiming for I am both the director and the performer (even when I am using others, who let’s face it very often represent me in some way). In my current work outside of the OCA (although I may use it to save myself some precious time and, more importantly, my sanity for A2) I have taken Wendy’s advice and tried hard to think of one sentence that sums up what I am trying to say with the work. I have also made a short list of words that communicate what the work is aiming to encapsulate. 


See main body of the text


Excellent research and reflection

Learning Log

Very well laid out log

Suggested reading/viewing

See main body of the text

Pointers for the next assignment / assessment

Don’t over work things – keep it simple and build from each assignment.”


The feedback was very encouraging and useful, constructive but without being patronising, for which I was grateful.




6 thoughts on “Feedback: A1

  1. Mendel’s work is so good in recognising the refugees’ reservations about the value of photography whilst finding a way to represent their situation. You have taken a similar approach in your work I think.

    • Well, I can’t speak for anyone else, but I know from my relatively limited work in France you have to develop a level of hardness otherwise you’d spend all your time crying and you can’t – over-sentimentalising isn’t helpful. I once said I could not go on a trip that was planned just after the Dunkirk camp burned down, which never happened anyway in the end due to that event, but even if it had I knew I needed to give myself a break from it all although I’m very aware I’m in a massively privileged position to be able to be able to dip in and out as I do. I’ve accepted nothing changes directly but over long periods of time and through history, social advances are made and recording history is valuable.

  2. after some time, I want to share with you my thoughts, as I had the pleasure to be somehow part of it: very sensible and I can feel that the quality of relationship truly matters, as your comment on your tutors’s feedback. Perhaps, because of my own prolific and wide interest it resonates very much the struggle with over-working and simplification. Asking three questions at the starting point (What message to get across?, How to tackle?, Why this medium?) good points of departure, Nevertheless, it could seem as restrictive and narrowing down, being blocked for other perspectives? Not sure if this is your , but I do see sometime it like that. I can see some relation to the comments from assessment on UVC. Wish you all the best for A2. In the forum one posted an upcoming exhibition on Kathe Kollwitz and I am wondering whether this could provide some insight for you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.