I am sorry that you were confused about certain elements of the brief Steve. Annoyingly, there are no hard and fast rules about what you should photograph and what you intend to include within a series. Really this section of the unit is to get you to think about how you can present a coherent series of pictures that considers slightly different aspects of an overarching idea or set of themes. Each image should add something to the experience of looking whilst all of the photographs hang together as a workable collection. The way that different series’ actually hang together depends on the conceptual and compositional elements within each specific project.
Have a look at some examples of series that adhere to this formula and some that don’t (see below).
I understand your aim is to go for the Photography/Creative Arts* 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.
Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity
It is great that you have chosen a subject that you are clearly interested (mildly obsessed?) with. It is better to deal with the things we are interested in than attempt to bolt an interest on to something that we perhaps feel we should deal with. However, it does feel that you fell back to something that was easier to work with.
In technical terms, you have a good grasp of the use of shallow depth of field and you have thought about the composition of each image and about how these pictures work together as a series. Indeed, the fact that there is a uniform hue and that they are all in the landscape orientation makes sure that they sit together. However, what is it that each image adds to the reading? How can you use the skills at your disposal to ask questions about this particular collection of objects? Could you begin to ask about the need for humans to collect things? Or about how collectors are often seen as outsiders or obsessives or nerds etc.? Or about how institutions rely on collections of things to tell stories about the past? What function does the design museum have? Could you photograph objects there?
All of these things are really interesting cultural possibilities that could be utilized through a photographic series. You talk about the fact that these objects were, at one time, state of the art and that technological gadgets and tools very quickly become obsolete both in terms of purpose and design. Again this is a great starting point. What if you were to arrange some of the objects to begin to look like some kind of utopian city? Or by photographing in selective ways suggest that these things are in fact state of the art and not obsolete? What is it about these images that so clearly tells us that they are out of date, colour, material, shape?
Although I understand that you were worried about adhering to the brief but after looking at your Church images, I wonder if it would have not been a better idea to continue to wrestle with this subject than to fall back on something that is practically easier to photograph?
Churches form an important part of our everyday as well as creative culture. They figure as places of celebration, of mourning, of horror, of splendor, of magic etc. etc. etc. Think about how you could have utilized the different technical approaches to photographic image making in order to suggest very different readings of the same actual building.
If you think about the definition of a series that I gave in the initial part of this feedback, in the church example, there would have been a coherence set by the use of the same building but each image would add another way of seeing the same space.
In terms of individual images, for me, number 4 is by far the most successful. The shallow depth of field is used to selectively obscure elements of the picture frame that otherwise might give too much away. This image works because it is beginning to ask some of the potential questions that I raise earlier in the feedback. There is an intrigue about this image because although the colour and material suggest older computer technology, the way that it is photographed leaves much more work for the viewer to do and means that the specific age of this or these objects is not clear.
The antithesis of this reading is perhaps suggested by image 3 where the nature, design, age of the computer is far too obvious. We know exactly what it is and roughly how old it is without having to think too carefully.
The series as a whole would be more successful if the nature of these objects were to subtly unfold as the series progresses.
Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity
Your coursework continues to be very thorough, keep it up.
Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis
Try to broaden your research by looking at more photographers, artists and writers. Visit exhibitions where you can and reflect on what you see.
Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis
Your learning log is easy to read and gives a good sense of your development.
Sian Bonnell – look at the way that Bonnell photogrpahs easily recognizable objects but yet makes us think about them very differently. Her Constructed Coast project is a good starting point.
Cindy Sherman – Look at Sherman’s Untitled Film Stills project and think about how coherent the series is and how each image adds more to the series.
Thomas Ruff – portraits – the coherence here is obvious but each human subject is, or course, very different.
Hendrik Kerstens – again a very coherent strategy to image making.
Wolfgnag Tillmans – perhaps Tillmans presents the antidote to a series? I would be interested to read your thoughts in a blog post?
Pointers for the next assignment / assessment
- More research in a wider range of contemporary image makers.
- Try to work through ideas rather than jump to a new ‘idea’
|Tutor name||Matt White|
|Next assignment due||8th March 2017|