Well, this has been a long time in coming this assignment. But length of gestation does not necessarily equate to quality of work. The feedback was generous and fair. Not quite at the standard of my previous work but given this is the first piece of work I completed with the large format camera the work was still considered to be very good and I was satisfied with his response.
There was a belter of a comment that amused my other half no end. Unbeknown to my tutor, (or perhaps he did - very perceptive either way!), there was a self-portrait in there with my youngest daughter. Our youngest, how can I put it, is strong-willed at best, stubborn and difficult to manage at worst. She is a wonderful mix of boundless enthusiasm, dogged determination and independence. His comment was:
I guess the first thing one notices with parents and children is the similarities. This could be a photo of a woman with her child-self. Her grasp is very possessive looking, but the child’s body language speaks of the same independence that is written in the woman’s face.Well what can I say? There is no defence!! My husband smiles from ear to ear with an irritating 'I-told-you-so,-she-takes-after-you' smugness. Vindication at last. Hmmm. He's won, thanks to an innocuous comment from my tutor. How can he possibly have hit the nail so firmly on my head. Very funny!
Without photos to demonstrate, it will be a fairly dry post I'm afraid. So I'll probably come back to this when I work out why my scanner refuses to scan. My tutor wasn't sure about the long exposures with portrait work and wondered whether I should have used fill-in flash. From my point of view, this was an issue of preference and desired aesthetic and I intentionally wanted to minimise my influence in each image. Nevertheless, I would like to know how to use flash with the large format camera for portrait work in future as its damn hard getting clarity with 1 or 2 second exposures.
He was generally very positive, but one suspects he wrote this feedback before seeing assignment four, ha,ha. He's probably changed his mind now. As I'm coming to the final assignment on this course and looking ahead he suggests its time to look at 'getting my work out there, where it can be useful'. He included a lovely quote by Joseph Beuys,
Artists have the responsibility to show what they makeWhich I have not done at all for some time. He suggests I need to start looking at 'promoting my work professionally', he cites Getty Images as an example and enquiring with local arts coordinators and galleries about how to exhibit my work. It is something my husband has wanted me to investigate for some time. His view is that by getting your work seen, purchased and commissions won, will give me the confidence to further my personal projects. I will probably cover this in more detail in another post, but for now I admit I have been fairly reticent.
About eighteen months ago I did sign up and gain approval to submit at two or three online image libraries. However, I quickly came to the conclusion, this avenue was not for me. In addition after completing several commissions through friends and colleagues I found it took the pleasure right out of it. My photography work was relegated to the status of daily chores that I had to do rather than an aspirational and enjoyable time guzzler that is right up there in terms of pleasure and personal development. Commercial photography isn't my motivator at the moment.
Exhibiting in galleries is of greater interest however. But as my tutor puts it, my work is 'an interesting collection of experiments and achievements'. What would I exhibit, as a combined mass it is eclectic to say the least. And as individual projects, I'm not sure which to be the strongest or least flawed!! So I will ultimately delay a little longer...but something tells me I cannot continue in this child-like 'bubble' forever...