2. Feedback

Received 7th March 2021
My highlighting / emphasis.

Overall Comments

In this assignment, due to the difficulties in accessing your subjects you have adopted a novel approach in completing the work through using the on-line services by the relevant clergy. This approach raises some interesting questions in resolving your ideas and you have reflected upon the work that you have produced. You have challenged yourself to engage with working outside your comfort zone and have started to develop work that reflects an individual/novel approach to the medium.
The portrait work demonstrates a willingness to improvise new approaches in your image making as well as a developing confidence in relating to people in an empathic manner. There are a range of contact sheets in the learning log and you have outlined some of your thinking process in selecting the final images
The images indicate that you were comfortable working within your local environment and in dealing with the people there but as in all serious photography it is important to consider the implications of the images that we are making in relation to the culture of people and place.
I would like to have seen a greater critical theoretical analysis of your thinking in relation to the methodology employed in making the images.
The initial contact mail that you made with your subjects evidences a good professional approach and a clear statement of your intent.
Overall, this assignment has produced an interesting development in your image making that could have been explored through further engagement with critical reading.

Assessment potential
Assignment 2

You may want to get credit for your hard work and achievements with the OCA by formally submitting your work for assessment at the end of the module. More and more people. You I understand your aim is to go for the Photography Degree and that you plan to submit your work for assessment at the end of this course. From the work you have shown in this assignment, providing you commit yourself to the course, I believe you have the potential to pass at assessment. In order to meet all the assessment criteria, there are certain areas you will need to focus on, which I will outline in my feedback.

Feedback on assignment

A good range of images are evidenced on the contact sheets and your comments in relation to editing them down are well founded particularly when there are a number of images that could have been used. Good to have some insight into your methodology for selection of final images. Your final selection of images I would agree with although I had a preference for the one of the Revd Liz Oglesby-Elong singing. The quality of the images is generally good but as one would expect the on-line images are poor. Yet these latter images are indicative of (under the present circumstances) a general acceptance of poor-quality images that we have become bombarded with through Zoom and other platforms. It points out the reality that although many have access to technology and cameras that not everyone can effectively use them.
There is an interesting development in the choice of subjects for this assignment in comparison to assignment one. In the latter the subjects to a certain extent were defined by place. In the present assignment the subjects are not only defined by place but also by uniform. You quote Revd. Cook as calling the garb “the clericals.” This could have been an area to investigate within the context of symbol as a signifier of meaning. We need to ask how can the work be interpreted? The images may or may not reveal aspects of the individual’s identity Is the interpretation honest from the photographer’s perspective? Is it honest from the subject’s point of view particularly within the context of the use of symbol? How will the work be used? The images could be used in many different contexts, church newsletters, brochures, newspapers, magazines and a surprising quantity in stock photography. Again, how do we find the person in the portrait when it can be viewed in so many different outlets?
Overall, this is a project that has produced a number of good images and has posed some questions in relation to the nature of the portrait that need to be looked at in greater depth.

Coursework

I was pleased to see that the exercises that you carried out were not done as mere illustrations of a technique but that you clearly sought to make good images. I particularly like the three images produced for exercise 2.1 that evidence an empathy with the subjects in producing sympathetic portraits. Also, surely the poop shot from exercise 2.3 must be viewed within the context of surrealism. Definitely a favourite.

Research

You have carried out some individual research as well as the prescribed for this assignment. Continue to use focused research as a means of developing your creative thinking and engage with critical reading on photography and the topics that you are working on. The work undertaken for this assignment provided opportunities to investigate the use of the uniform as a symbol of power and identity. This raises the question of whether we are seeing the person in the portrait or simply the stereotype identifiers of profession. Likewise, the use of third-party images in your work would be a good area for further critical research.

Learning Log

The learning log that you have produced at this stage is fully engaged with the ethos of the course. Your research and reading are appropriate and your interest in the broad scope of photography is starting to develop an individual viewpoint on the issues. The log is well illustrated with your own work and that of other practitioners

Suggested reading/viewing

https://www.academia.edu/4044048/The_Uniform_As_Material_As_Symbol_As_Negotiated_Object https://www.relativepoverty.org 
http://www.nickhedgesphotography.co.uk/photo-gallery/belief-and-faith https://nancyhoney.com/major-projects/stay-at-home-dads/

Pointers for the next assignment / assessment

Consider the concept of the portrait within a range of contexts.
Apply critical reading to own work and reflect this in the learning log to allow for in depth exploration of ideas
Continue to develop your learning log and illustrate with your own work and that of other practitioners
Proceed with assignment 3


[9Mar]

Hi Matthew
Thank you for the encouragingly positive feedback on Assignment 2.
I note your point that I should be making more scholarly references to accompany the work.
I will consider uniforms and ownership / authorship, pursue your suggested links and continue with Asg.3.

Cheers, Nick