Thursday, 6 September 2012

People and Place Assessor’s Feedback

In full it reads:
Continue to develop your practise alongside contextual research to create more consistent and clearly resolved bodies of work. Build upon your strengths of reflection on your work and the work of others. Focus future research around some of the key themes you have identified in your projects
A couple of things jump out at me here. The first sentence in some ways parallels the advice of Sir Joshua Reynolds which I identified in my previous coursework:
A student unacquainted with the attempts of former adventurers is always apt to overrate his own abilities, to mistake the most trifling excursions for discoveries of moment, and every coast new to him for a new-found country”.
Given my scientific background I had assumed that research would come naturally but, in the context of an arts degree, it doesn’t. Fortunately the course reading list has a potential solution so I’ve got hold of a copy of Behind the Image: Research in Photographyby Fox and Caruana to give me a framework. I’ve also resolved to make more effort to get to significant exhibitions so that I can view more photography. All this ties in nicely with my tutors suggestion to do a bit of mind mapping and identify some threads to follow.

On the back of this I also need to take a rather more analytical approach to my photography – rather than just machine gunning and selecting. The latter has its place, but if I’m trying to develop a theme I perhaps need to be a bit more focussed.

The last sentence relates to this as well. If I look back at my response to the projects in People and Place there is no clear link between them – I’ve simply gone with what I fancied at the time rather than developing a clear photographic path. This doesn’t mean I need to slavishly follow one path though – I was listening to Jeff Wall on a Tate Gallery video yesterday and I was struck by the fact that he followed several different threads. The key issue was he understood why he was following them – they weren’t, ultimately, just a set of whims.

I’ve already made a bit of this mistake with Assignment 1 where I’ve settled on an idea and gone with it in isolation. I think it stands alone reasonably well, but I shall have to see what my tutor makes of it. I’m hoping that I can start again with my final portfolio as I have a much clearer idea of how I would like to develop it than I did 2 months ago. All I have to do now is stay focussed – not really one of my strong points – but I need a challenge.

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