IAP Assignment 1: Reflections Before Tutor Feedback

Reflection pre-tutor feedback

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

Assignment 1 was not designed to be a technical challenge. Whilst, of course, one would be expected to take competent photographs, the test was to overcome the natural reluctance to engage photographically with strangers. Interestingly, the current situation means that time seems more precious. Maybe before I would would have ducked opportunities, but for now, those will be fewer. I took all the shots with a Canon DSLR whereas previously I would have perhaps used a smaller, less intrusive camera. I think the results show. But shooting in Sander’s style with a short depth of field means that my focusing needed to be spot on. It wasn’t but I’m improving.

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

I am reasonably pleased with the results. I set out to imitate Sanders and I feel as though that has been achieved. There is clearly a compositional similarity. More importantly, I feel as though the overall images hint as to the circumstances/roles of the subjects. But perhaps most important, especially for the first two (pre-isolation) images I felt a real connection to the subjects. I feel as though, to me at least, that shows in the images. The first two are not snapshots of people.

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

I had originally spent time thinking of a theme to run through the five assignments for the IAP unit. But my tutor wisely suggested that I should allow my thoughts to develop as the unit progressed. Nevertheless, I felt (and still do) that Training Humans is such an interesting idea to apply to this module that I still harboured aspirations of using it.

But that was before the world changed.

I found the work of August Sander to be fascinating – I guess as an accountant, typologies would naturally appeal (I mean, it looks like a spreadsheet) – so given the new constraints, Sanders slightly distanced style seemed appropriate.

I can’t say that any of the images or the ideas are particularly imaginative, experimental or inventive, but I feel they are a realistic, coherent and contextually strong response to our new reality.

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

I am determined to improve the quality and quantity of the reflection, research, and critical thinking that, not only do I undertake but that I record. I discovered towards the end of CAN that I truly enjoy the research side of the degree. And that the more I do the more I like it. Duh!

I feel as though I’ve made a strong start. The abortive work (if that’s actually fair to say) on Training Humans was fascinating. And scary!

It was fascinating to see how Dr Keith Roberts had incorporated the Spence/Martin (including Kuhn) and Bate models into his PhD thesis. And interesting to see how much of his thesis seems to have been interwoven into the IAP module.

I read Tina Campt’s fascinating book ‘Listening to Images’. I can’t pretend to fully understand it yet. She isn’t saying one can actually audibly hear an image (obviously) but I do get her point that one can feel an image.

My portrait ‘Richard, the kiosk attendant with no kiosk,’ really resonates with me. Just look at the life drawn on his wonderful face.

Richard. The kiosk attendant with no kiosk.

But my biggest takeout so far though was a beer I had with the artist Richard Sweeney. Richard is a young guy who is exhibited around the world and makes a living out of his art – a subject I am interested in, especially when achieved by young people. What I remember was his apparent daily obsession to create but most of all his utter, unbreakable determination to succeed. A remarkable guy. Very inspirational.

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