Assignment 2: Feedback

Wendy and I spoke this morning about A2 and here is a summary of her notes followed by my response. The full report is here: Sarah-Jane Field_assn_2_S and O__photography tutor report.

For assignment 2 of Self and Other you have produced an impressive body of research. Your approach is critical, informed and enquiring.

For this assignment, you have presented a new body of work and installation produced for a collaborative exhibition in Bethnal Green, London.

The work itself is supported by: contact sheets. High res files, a sketchbook blog and a page containing background on the project. The LL is well laid out and the research extensive.

Much work has clearly been spent on the setting up – and thinking through – of the project, and this is written up in full on the Learning Log.

You mention feedback from your audience on the night of the PV and that you were happy that someone thought you had ‘bridged the gap between documentary and fine art’.

You have also provided a very good critical and reflective analysis of the project (both its perceived successes and failures).

You have clearly thought carefully about both your approach to your subject and the various ways via which you might represent them.

I was very intrigued by the talk of performance in your text. Unfortunately, the link to some documentation of your experimental performance trials (not used) was broken, so I couldn’t have a look at this). It’s clear from your writing however, that you were very keen to experiment with performance – taking the dancer out to work her way down the street, moving as she went, presumably). However, it sounds like you didn’t really have the time to do this and therefore chose to revert to what I think is your normal way of working (shooting with a model within the confines of the studio).

I would really encourage you to experiment with moving image and performance. Sometimes by picking up a tool or medium that you are not familiar with (such as the video camera) can produce unexpected and very interesting results. It also forces us as artists to question the efficiency of the medium we habitually use.

The theme of the walk (for obvious reasons) is central to performance. In all of the pieces below, the artist follows someone who is walking through a city or a through a space.

Have a look at these pieces of work and think how different your picture of the young girl had been if you’d presented it, for example as a filmed piece of her walking or dancing around the school building.

  1. Piplotti Rist: Ever is Over All (1997)

  1. Francis Alÿs: Sometimes making Something leads to Nothing

  1. You also talk in an interesting way about the role of the school. You might be interested in looking two projects by photographers who have focussed on so-called ‘alternative’ communities (in Clare Richardson’s case (Harlemville), a Steiner community in America)
  2. And in Lucas Foglia’s A Natural Order, a community of ‘isolated communities in the Southern Eastern states of America.


 I recently did a video course with Photofusion so I was really pleased to hear you suggest using moving-image in my work going forward and can see it will be a good way to shift some of the working habits I’ve got into. I have been aware for some time that I may need to unlearn some things, which as you suggest, could be holding me back. I have wanted to combine my performance background with moving image since noticing how much I wrote about it while doing UVC – an indication to me that I was deeply interested. But I have felt a little lost about how to take this forward. I am on the lookout for performance artists who use video, so am eager to take a look at the links you have suggested.

We discussed how much I write, and I mentioned that I love writing perhaps even more than photography at times. I agree I could do with being more succinct, and the reason I set up the Sketchbook blog was to try and keep the course blog as contained as possible. This way I can use my digital Sketchbook without overloading the coursework – or at least that was the aim. (I wanted a pop-up window to tell visitors they were leaving the OCA S&O site but I think you have to pay extra to WordPress for that facility.) However, your suggestion to start using my writing in a more substantial way alongside the images is welcome and it’s great to have that ‘permission’. I wrote about it being important to me in my Sketchbook a few months ago in fact.

I’m not sure I will continue with education as a theme – but you picked up on something I think is important to me. Which is exploring ‘having the freedom to be who you are’.

I am also not sure if I will ever be someone who knows what my aim is at the beginning of a project. But I take your point that beginning with something small and achievable is a good idea.

I do plan to write up the Photofusion moving image course notes and discuss my feelings about it. I will also experiment with moving image for A3 and perhaps in the exercises. I had been thinking about doing that with the first exercise anyway so great to have you encourage it. I will also fix the broken link.


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