CG Assignment 1: Reflections Before Tutor Feedback


There is a requirement to reflect upon my work based on the university’s Assessment Criteria, and each Unit’s Learning Outcomes. For this first Assignment, I will document these guidelines in full.

Assessment Criteria

  1. Knowledge
    Demonstrating a deepening awareness of practical and theoretical knowledge and a recognition of subject knowledge and boundaries.
  2. Understanding
    Selecting, testing and interpreting focused research and applying developing critical thinking and creativity to produce effective and increasingly individual ideas and outcomes.
  3. Application
    Applying developing personal and graduate skills to initiate and sustain studies and growing practice, and increasingly relevant, practical, technical, and communication skills, to articulate ideas and outcomes effectively.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Compare the theoretical features, characteristics and histories of different photographic genres.
  2. Deconstruct a given genre’s conventions and create visual material informed by that knowledge.
  3. Produce new visual work informed by your research.
  4. Analyse the wider global contexts surrounding contemporary image-making.

Reflections using Assessment Criteria

I started Level 2 Part 1 over a year ago, but for various personal reasons, my studying failed to regain the momentum I had during level one. That is not to say, however, that my knowledge, both practical and theoretical, has not deepened. It has, and my passion for photography (and art in general) remains undiminished. But my university work stalled badly.

Since late 2020, I have taken to using analogue rather than digital cameras for most of my work. This involved a huge learning curve. Initially, I purchased a fully manual 35mm camera. I then acquired a medium format Hasselblad, a 4×5 field camera, a light meter and all the paraphernalia that goes with analogue photography. I have learned to develop film (not C41), and I use a flatbed Epson scanner to digitise developed negatives. I have acquired strobe lighting and now use this facility to shoot portraits and still-life photographs both digitally and on film.

I would certainly say that my practical understanding has greatly increased over the last eighteen months. One area of weakness is the use of Lightroom and, more particularly, Photoshop for the post-processing of my digital and digitised analogue work. This must be improved before I can finish work to the standard required.

In terms of the application of my knowledge and understanding, I am pleased with the image recreated for Exercise 1.2. Based on Felix Gonzalez-Torres’ empty bed image, I recreated a contemporary expression of loneliness suffered by many during the Covid lockdowns. But perhaps the best example of application (shot without a light meter on Kodak film) is the series of my images ‘Samos Doors’ shown in a small exhibition of local artists at St Mary’s Church, Portchester. The photographs seemed well received, and I was delighted to sell five prints for £500.

The Artist Statement accompanying the sold images said:

‘In October 2020, the Greek island of Samos suffered a huge earthquake. The effects of the earthquake and the steadily declining population have caused a gradual abandonment of properties in the mountainside town of Ano Vathy. Taken in the spring of 2022, the photograph symbolises some of the challenges facing this beautiful historic Greek island.

Smos Doors #1 Signed Edition 3/10. Image taken with a Leica MA camera on Kodak Portra 400 film. A3 print on 285gsm Fotospeed Platinum Etching paper with archival pigment inks.’

Learning Outcome Reflections

Within Part 1 Exercise 1, the conventions of historical landscape paintings were compared and contrasted to those of landscape photographs.

The David Bate ‘Key Concepts’ reading task allowed me to explore Bate’s idea that ‘different genres have different functions’. To me, Peter Selz’s comments on the Rothko exhibition are relevant. He said, ‘they (the paintings)… serve as echoes of our experience’ and resonate with Alan de Botton’s thoughts on the therapeutic functions of art. Put (too) simply a landscape to you, maybe a portrait to me etc.

So what is the Gonzalez-Torres work? To me, it is landscape, portrait, documentary, and still life. It can be viewed from so many perspectives. But perhaps the genre chosen adds a personal framework for its deconstruction.

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