EYV Assignment 2 Reflections and feedback

Reflection pre-tutor feedback

Demonstration of technical and visual skills – Materials, technical, observational skills, visual awareness, design and compositional skills. (40%)

Photographically this assignment doesn’t demonstrate great technical or visual skills. Having said that I’ve not previously used the self timer and I’ve never included myself in any images. I had an idea and I was pleased that I could technically fulfil it very quickly.

Quality of outcome – Content, Application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner, discernment, conceptualisation of thoughts, communication of ideas. (20%)

The basic pictures are simple. I was pleased with my postproduction. I think square format suits the images. I wanted very harsh grainy appearance and with a combination of camera settings and Silver EFEX Pro presets I believe I achieved visually effective shots.

I chose to present the images in two ways. Firstly as a bank of images and secondly as a rolling slide show. The slide show version is almost film-like and could be seen as a slow motion punch.

Demonstration of creativity – Imagination, experimentation, invention. (20%)

As I’ve said before the images are not complex technically, and I don’t fulfil the brief strictly speaking. However I’ve not seen the a series of images like this before so I guess it is imaginative, it is experimental and does show some invention.

Context – reflection, research, critical thinking. (20%)

The brief calls for series of photographs reflecting a single coherent idea. It also requests the use of combinations of focal lengths, aperture and viewpoint. Unfortunately the idea I had required, in my mind, the repetitive use of the same basic image with merely the hand gesture changing. The point of this idea was to show increasingly aggressive male hand gestures against a female face and to find out what emotions those images invoke.

In addition to the photographers mentioned in Project 2, I carried out research into the work of Antoine d’Agata, Larry Clark, and Nan Goldin. These three photographers share a similar no-holes-barred approach to depicting the harsher realities of life. Domestic abuse both mental and physical is an insidious part of modern life. I have come across it too frequently recently and it demands that more attention be paid to it. It’s a subject that is hard to identify and discuss so the role of photography is important in stimulating debate.

On reflection I don’t suppose I’ve really hit the brief on this assignment because I have not demonstrated the focal length, aperture and viewpoint combinations requested. However the brief also calls for a series reflecting a single coherent idea. Once I got the idea it seemed so powerful that I wanted to explore it rather than follow the strict brief.

This is only my second assignment so I really don’t know what latitude I have to depart from strict briefs. I shall find out shortly…

Tutor feedback

Overall Comments

Your response to Assignment Two is quite different and unexpected; it has resulted in a mature and very topical subject, that evidences a responsive, risk taking approach, well done. The final piece works, where the quality and overall aesthetic is textual; it is supported by an interesting catalyst, which has potential for developing. The research is taking shape, where there is evidence of some pertinent practitioners, yet the reflective commentary to support your contextualisation is underdeveloped. It is advised to rework the series through some further shooting and experimentation.

Formal Required Comment From OCA Guidelines Assessment:

I understand your aim is to go for the Photography Degree and that you plan to submit your work for assessment at the end of this course. From the work you have shown in this assignment, providing you commit yourself to the course, I suggest that you are likely to be successful in the assessment. In order to meet all the assessment criteria, there may be certain areas you will need to focus on, if so, then they will be noted in the tutor report feedback.

The above passage is required by OCA as an indicator of your progress and potential for formal assessment. You have stated in your email that you intend to finish the degree; the procedure is to respond to the feedback and make any adjustments as/if required. If there are recommendations, as part of the rework process, it is expected to experiment and reflect upon them; when you formally submit, it is then your decision, whether or not to submit your original or the reworked pieces.


Your technical approach is strong; the high ISO and the processing technique via Silver EFEX Pro, have resulted in a set of images that have a good texture and an effective ambience to them. In terms of the grainy B&W look, it appears that you have drawn visual inspiration from d’Agata’s work; if this was a conscious decision, then perhaps it would be good to comment directly on this in your reflective commentary.

The grainy monochromatic conversion is strong, which although it is synonymous with documentary subjects, perhaps it can be too suggestive and dark. To support your development, produce the series in colour and make a side-by-side comparison; after looking at the suggested reading section, perhaps colour may be the ideal method.

Although you have stated ‘I did think of redoing them but it’s not a great feeling taking these shots particularly from the model’s viewpoint!’ If possible, it is recommended to reshoot this series, with some further compositions to suggest a range of hand gestures. The way you have shot them, is akin to stop-frame animation; you are aware of this, as you mention about gradually clenching your fist. Try some alternative gestures; for example, the hand underneath the chin, a single finger outstretched as if wiping a tear from the cheek.

Aim to produce a total of nine images; experiment with the idea of having three sets of triptychs, where there is a narrative in each; or three levels of suggestive emotion/action. For example, produce three images that clearly depict a caring and nurturing hand gesture, three images that are ambiguous, then the final three, where the action is clearly sinister and aggressive.

Learning Logs or Blogs:

Your learning log/blog is still taking shape; you have produced some very good examples of the various exercises, but it is recommended to make some further reflective comments on their successfulness and pertinence to your progress. An area to develop is your commentary, specifically on your research. For example, the post titled ‘Project 2 Lens work’ does not fully evidence your engagement into the research task. The copied/pasted text on Ansel Adams is superfluous; ideally, a reflective research approach, would involve breaking down the source material and writing a personal commentary on your views and interpretation of the work.

Refer back to my email from December, where I suggested to examine the learning logs of other ‘EYV’ students, such as https://wendyrose.blog/ Take note of the research and reflection section; where the student has examined and reflected upon the material in their own words, giving insight into their understanding.

Suggested reading/viewing:

The topic of domestic violence, may not be an area you will likely investigate again, yet it is still very pertinent in our current cultural climate; more so with the aspects that your female friend stated of ‘control and aggression’. Have a look at the series ‘Just Between Us’ by Valérie Mesquita: https://goo.gl/4ny2DG

A Lebanese non-profit organisation, commissioned an advertisement agency to produce a campaign on domestic violence, where they explored the visual representation of verbal abuse. See: https://goo.gl/KGNWfw

Although it is not photography, the following artist has represented domestic violence through cartoons; more specifically, altering Disney Princesses and Princes. Through doing so, their message may reach a wider and younger audience, which also highlights, that it is not always women who are victims. See: https://goo.gl/upJypN

Pointers for the next assignment:

Assignment 03 explores the ‘decisive moment’, a key component for creating photographic, micro-narratives. Typically, this notion is usually represented through ‘Street Photography’, where narratives are suggested through the timing and juxtaposition of people within the urban environment.

Have a look at the two photographers below and examine their different approaches, note how the compositions differ. With Braden, you get a sense of careful planning and distance; with Higbee there is more spontaneity and a closeness to the subjects. See:



Overall Strengths

  • Examining a very mature, topical subject.
  • Good risk taking and creativity.
  • A strong, self-reflective report.

Action Points/Rework

  • Shoot some further compositions.
  • Consider submitting them in colour.
  • Develop research/contextualisation.

Assignment assessed by Russell Squires

Assignment assessed on 17/02/2018

Next assignment approximately due 17/04/2018

Reflection post-tutor feedback

Firstly, I’m pleased to learn that the assignment was acceptable. Although being a coherent idea, the assignment did not hit the brief in the sense that it failed to explore different camera settings. The lesson I take from this is that I have considerable latitude as to how to interpret these briefs. That’s a good lesson learned.

Generally I’m satisfied with the feedback. My tutor regards the subject choice as mature and topical. He considers the approach to be responsive and risk taking. He also regards the technical approach as strong.

However he feels the work lacks some subtlety and has suggested ideas for reshooting. On reflection I’m disappointed that I didn’t consider these ideas. I seem keen to finish the assignments too quickly and don’t spend enough time reflecting and contemplating alternatives.

This haste also partly explains his observations that my exercises lack sufficient commentary and that my research requires a more reflective approach.

It’s many years since I studied. I haven’t got into a rhythm of working either in terms of taking photographs or academic work. I’m serious about this degree and I want to do very well (if possible). I need to up my game!

With that in mind I will consider the colour alternative, reshoot the assignment and revisit and enhance the research.

Over the next couple of months I intend to redesign this blog site to make, in particular, the research sections more accessible to myself and the assessors.

Further thoughts

My tutor suggested the original images were perhaps too dark and suggestive. I take from that he feels that colour might leave more room for interpretation. Here are the colour images set against the black and white images used in the original assignment submission.

Having reflected on the two series I do feel that the B+W images are too suggestive.  In particular, images 1,2 and 3 might be signs of affection but the B+W treatment suggests otherwise.  In any event I feel that the grainy treatment (shot at ISO 6400 with tight cropping) also lends an unnecessarily sinister edge to the images.  Too suggestive.  I will re-shoot all these images hopefully leaving room for more viewer interpretation.

Assignment 2 reshoot

At the suggestion of my tutor I reshot the assignment to produce three images depicting a caring affectionate hand gesture, three ambiguous images and three showing obvious sinister aggressive gestures. Having selected, sorted and adjusted the nine images I produced two versions. The first version is a basic colour set. With the second set I wanted to produce a more dramatic almost cinematic effect.

I have spent time considering which set I should finally submit. I prefer the second darker set. The images are more dramatic, artistic and moody. Yes, they may be more suggestive but to me they better depict the personal nature of a relationship.

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