The main thrust of the report was focussed on ways to improve my methodology and process. There was some general advice on how I should be working at level two, reiterating the assessment criteria and the importance of contextualising my work at this level. There was advice as to how to reference other work on my blog and a suggestion that there was a lack of documented research, exploration and analysis of other photographers and influences on there. And that there was too much emphasis on technical aspects of my own photography. Fair enough. Easily remedied. Although sadly this doesn't reflect the reality, in which probably the reverse is true, at least in hours spent if not documented.
He strongly advises that as I have decided to embark on a 'self-directed' project and have diverged from the brief, I need to prepare carefully in advance and state my intentions formally, by writing a project proposal. I am not totally convinced that my concept is diverging dramatically from the brief, however, I can see the value in this and have put together a detailed proposal for him to peruse and comment on.
He says that on the face of it there is the beginnings of a well grounded project but there appears to be 'fundamental issues' which may inhibit its progress. He also writes that I may be struggling to find 'form in my work' or a 'way forward for it'. Yes true. He suggests the proposal will help me clarify my intentions. And this is where I feel like I'm missing something. I accept I'm struggling to 'find form in my work' so how will writing a project proposal alter this when it's me who's writing it? Articulating can help clarify ideas and help others understand it, but I know what I want to achieve from the Domestic Sublime concept...articulating it isn't my issue...it's how to execute it to my satisfaction. As has been documented on here, I keep trying different approaches and I am currently exploring yet another for the purposes of assignments two and three. Sadly, the feedback hasn't edged me forward on this, perhaps I was expecting too much...I tend to!!
With regards demonstrating creativity, he warns it is veering off in to the path of being 'heavy-handed', hackneyed and bombastic...ouch! Perhaps my work needs to be much more subtle? Replace the trolley for a till receipt, the kids in the woods for random items of clothes, the hide for a doormat? He suggests that, again, a well-written project proposal, with a developed conceptual framework, will avoid this outcome.
He points out, quite rightly, that the use of the large format camera is causing delays and suggests I work on smaller projects with shorter timescales and use cameras with more immediate feedback to explore my ideas. The 'Barbed' project was all taken on a digital camera, over a short period of time following this advice. And all large format images will be duplicated on the digital.
He recommends I look at the work by Jeff Wall with regards 'surreal narratives, manipulations and more', and Kurt Caviezel by way of an example of a 'simple disposable concept that can build in to a significant piece of work' and the book Place edited by Tacita Dean and Jeremy Dellar to showcase a variety of different approaches to landscape'. So I bought this, this and this. Fortunately I could pick up a used copy of Jeff Wall's The Complete Edition. I am not unfamiliar with the work of Jeff Wall by any means but am enjoying dipping in and out of this huge 280 page monster of a book. It is full as much by interviews and essays as it is with pictures, which I am very pleased with. It will take some time to work my way through this and I am sure I can learn huge amounts from his work processes and indeed theories that support his work. 'Place' I have now been through once cover to cover. It includes, within it, succinct chapters, with fresh and interesting examples of work that I hadn't come across before. Great. Kurt Caviezel's book I found to be a perplexing choice and one I want to sell as quickly as it has arrived. I'll have to revisit this one in due course.
With regards tutor feedback in general, very rarely have I read blogposts on fellow student sites that criticise tutor feedback. To do so you run the risk of coming across as defensive or obstructive. Equally there is the danger of inadvertently misrepresenting tutor views or taking words out of context. Given that feedback is offered in goodwill, why would you? However, is it really always the case that students endorse all the views of their tutor? I have actioned my tutor's recommendations as best I can, tried to respond positively and raised any issues directly with my tutor. So I'm not being duplicitous here, but to say I'm entirely satisfied with the feedback would be an untruth.
I have hesitated for a number of weeks from publishing this post, have edited, re-edited, aware I leave myself exposed to criticism now and indeed in future. I appreciate the importance of a project proposal but I'm just not convinced that a 'retrospective' project proposal will be a 'cure-all' to all my Domestic Sublime woes. It feels like it's scratching the wrong itch.
...but it's fair to say this is all my own doing and my own vision so if I feel no further on in terms of how to develop the concept, refine it or indeed whether the implied advice is to 'can' it, that is my own problem. I've certainly lost momentum and desire for it...but I suppose I've imagined this 'quagmire' for myself. So it's up to me to keep researching, looking for ideas, trying different approaches until I know how to visualise my way out of it...no tutor feedback can resolve that for me!!