Monday, 25 October 2010

Assignment Three Feedback

No sooner had I pinged my assignment over to my tutor, a couple of hours later an email awaited my attention. Gladly quick, but I hadn't even popped open a bottle of Rioja to celebrate the assignment leaving the building! I'm not complaining however, on no other course have I received such prompt, comprehensive and thoughtful feedback - it is really valuable in my learning. The feedback is sensitively written, careful to include the good bits but also addressing the areas I could have improved on, as well as a few thoughts for the future. 

It is a couple of weeks since I received the feedback which has allowed me a useful period of reflection.  As it was my first written assignment (a critical review of Helen Levitt's work) the feedback was by its nature different to previous.  Also it was the first essay I've written for nigh on twenty years!  The feedback was generally positive although there were areas in which I could have improved - in particular more crit on the photographs and less opinion.

He also makes a comment, that I'm sure he won't mind me repeating here, as it resonated strongly with me and may well do with other photography or indeed art students in a similar position:

.... you need to approach photographic theory and history with your own desire to learn and be informed, but never allow it to diminish the power you find in MAKING WORK.  You’re a photographer and you need to practice, not sit around reading about it.  
  This I know I have been guilty of, of late.  I have become stifled by my 'studying', hardly photographing at all! And as such, I have begun to address this balance this past few weeks!  

I have also taken a leap of faith and attended my first photography group meeting last Thursday, after my tutor alluded to their value.  This is something I have shied away from in the past.  However, the members were very welcoming and a talented bunch.  I'm not sure how or if my current photography leanings will necessarily 'gel' with the competition/salon culture which seems to be a keen motivator for many.  However, I am willing to remain open-minded and see how this involvement develops. 

That's it for now...


  1. Hi Penny, me again... (I'm not stalking honest)

    You make an interesting point here regarding practice and reading/research. For my first assignment at L2 (in PwDP) I was actually told that I should research more so that my photography could be more informed and measured. After that point I very much slowed down, spending far more time looking at others (which I do enjoy anyway) and taking far fewer photographs. In that time my photography has certainly changed and (I believe) improved.

    But earlier in October I went to a talk by Martin Parr at the University of Cumbria and he announced that "people spend far too much time thinking about it. Just get out and do it!" Same sort of thing as your tutor...

    However, I believe it certainly improved my photography to stop and think/read first - but yeah, maybe now it is the time for me to read less and photograph more....

    Catch you later.


  2. Hi Rob

    It is really tricky getting the right balance. I guess as you're studying visual culture and Landscape you can do a lot of both without the same conflict. I know I've become too much of a cyber-worm of late. It has helped of course, but can't categorically say my images have improved - yet.

    I bet the Martin Parr talk was interesting - in Cumbria too, wish I'd known about that one.

    Here's to taking more pics, hopefully better ones too!!