Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Finally in the post

I'm not sure how to embed a pdf document, so I cannot at the moment post the actual document (edit 26.03.10): you can see it here).  However, today I have posted my APEL submission off. What a huge relief. But like with all these things, on completing, I'm left feeling a bit lost and without a focus. No pleasing some people eh!!!  

Just before Christmas I got an email from the OCA suggesting that I may like to consider going for APEL and recommencing with a level two course. Up to this point I had completed TAOP assignment one and received feedback from my tutor. My experience so far had been extremely positive and I was finding the learning process to work well for me. I was improving, enjoying the millieu that other keen photographers shared and had started reading more widely. I found my tutor feedback to be extremely helpful too.

I was flattered that my work had been considered, but also a little concerned to alter things as the journey had been so positive.  I also hadn't seriously considered completing a degree given the lengthy time scales involved with part-time study. I was enjoying the journey and for once studying without thinking about my career, job or future prospects and learning for the sheer joy of it! 

However, on reflection, I considered it a great opportunity and one worth pursuing.  Since then, I have spent a good deal of time putting together a coherent portfolio for my apel submission for TAOP, PAP and DPP.   Once again, I am very appreciative of the support, feedback and prompt responses from my tutor and Gareth Dent. 

Looking forward a couple of months, I hope my submission is successful. However, I must accept that it may not be in its entirety, in part or at all. So I am tentatively looking at the level two courses, aware I ought not plan too far ahead. This post on the 'We are the OCA' blog resonated with me.  Looking at the level two courses I can't quite decide which to go for. One issue that is in the back of my mind is that I may in the future consider experimenting with different formats of camera and possibly even with film (a suggestion made by my tutor) so PWDP is perhaps the least relevant for me at the moment.

This leaves social documentary and landscape photography.  My portfolio is heavy on the landscape side and spartan on social documentary, although I have done a couple of weddings and quite a lot of child portraiture.

Over the past nine months I have grown tired of photographing the landscape.  This was one of the motivators for enrolling with the OCA.  I am currently more interested in the 'altered landscape' and how you can change the meaning of the landscape by how you photograph it or how you contribute to it. However, I am far from confident with this and could do with experimenting much more.  I'm also not sure whether the landscape course would help me progress with this type of 'hybrid' photography.

Part of me is also wondering whether I may learn more from the social documentary course as I am starting from a lower level than with landscape photography.  In some way I also feel what I learn from this course may bring a new dimension to my landscape photography. I am currently erring towards the social documentary course even though my interest in photojournalism or documentary photography is not what I am immediately drawn to.

Another slight concern about commencing with a level two course rather than continuing with the TAOP is that I don't want to 'pigeon-hole' my own photography preferences or styles just yet.  Part of what I like in studying photography is the experimentation, mixing the genres and style of my photography.

Anyway, it is not a decision I have to make yet.  So I guess I will cross that bridge if or when I come to it and mull it over further in the meantime.     


  1. Hi.
    I note you've dismissed PwDP as it's least relevant to you as you may well be using film in future. Don't be too dismissive straight away - look at the works of Kelli Connell for example - taken on a medium format film camera, scanned and then manipulated.

    I'll admit, I wasn't too enamoured with the exercises in PwDP, but the assignments were really quite interesting...

  2. Thanks Rob for the advice. I'm still undecided. I've checked out Kelli Connell and she has achieved some interesting results. I will also look carefully at PWDP too before or if I have to make any decisions.



  3. Hi Penny,
    Congrats on being put forward for APEL - that's fantastic. I'm sure you'll get it, but good luck anyway.

    Regarding choice of course, I think there's more leeway for individual interpretation in the Landscape course than I realised. On re-reading the info from my tutor, he says that landscape also encompasses rivers, seas, towns and cities. I'm hoping to do one assignment of mine on a city theme and I think you probably could use your 'altered' landscape idea although you'd need to check this out first.

    The assignments are actually quite interesting, but I have to say the projects are very dull and I haven't been doing them all. I'm now wishing I'd gone for PWDP as it looks a lot more interesting, from what I've read of others doing it (grass is always greener I suppose). Even if you start with Social Documentary, I guess you'll have to choose between the other two at some later date unless you can get APEL for Landscape.

    I do agree with you about the problem of being slotted into a genre. I find myself instantly rebelling against this and wanting to integrate different subject matter into my images. I don't like categorisation as I think it blocks creativity; one of the things I loved about TAOP was that it left the field wide open.