Assignment 5: Tutor Feedback

Original Feedback Document

Overall Comments

Well done Steve, you have made some good progress through this unit. There is much to be encouraged by the way that you approach your studies and your thinking in general. You have a healthy and positive cynical approach that could be enhanced and utilized further as you move forward. You clearly have some interesting ideas but you need to build on this by employing a much more in depth and rigorous research process both in terms of the things that you are looking at as well as your work.


The reflection that you make about other practitioner’s work is good but you need to take this further by being much more analytical. For example, I am glad that you looked at Kersten’s work in relation to the photographic series but as well as talking about the technical aspects of the work, try to talk about what the artist and the images themselves are trying to communicate. Whatever work that you advised to look at or that you discover yourself, perform this kind of high level of visual and conceptual analysis in your learning log.


In your written description of this project, I was interested to read about the connection between a genetic legacy and a specific religious building. Whilst at first it seems that these two concepts are not necessarily that connected, it is a really interesting proposition to make a case for this juxtaposition through research and presentation of a focused final outcome. When looking at the research and reflection section of your blog, I was expecting to see detailed research that touches on the various cultural, political, religious, historical, aesthetic ideas that are present within this concept. If this work had been done then I think that your final set of images would be much more focused.


For example, I would say (and of course different people will have their own conceptual interpretation of these difficult ideas and it is important for you to develop your own through rigorous study) that the central issue when juxtaposing genetic legacy and religion could be focused on the debate between biologists and the church surrounding the idea of evolution (I will include a couple of examples of people you could look at in relation to these ideas). How could you photograph the church with these ideas in the background.


Feedback on assignment

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity

Technically your final selection is ok and your contact sheets show that you are experimenting with your visual technique. While there is evidence of a visual survey of this place, I am not really sure what you are trying to communicate about through your images? Also, do you have a rationale for choosing to remove the colour? Looking at your contact sheets, I can not see a reason for this.


In the written part of your submission, you say, ‘When I look at this building, especially when viewed from the adjoining graveyard, I get a very strong feeling of the people who existed here over the centuries, who built this place, who worshipped here, and are buried here.’ Now, this is a potentially interesting idea (particularly related to your idea of a personal genetic legacy) the problem is that I am not getting any sense of this through the pictures. In order to communicate the idea of the people who are buried there, could you have focused on the names of the graves? Could the differing shapes of the grave stones be presented as individual ‘personalities’? In terms of the worshippers, could you photograph the people who still worship there (dwindling congregations are an interesting cultural issue)? Could you interview the local priest about this? The more information that you can collect, the more rich your final outcome will be.


Looking forward to the assessment, I would strongly advise you to strengthen your research and rework this series of images and re-shoot so that the finished set functions better as a coherent series of images that are communicating (NOT ILLUSTRATING) more specific ideas.


To illustrate the points that I am trying to make and to help you to create more of a direction for the reworked images that you submit, I will talk about some of the images from your contact sheet that perhaps present your ideas (and potentially others) better than your final submission.


2982 – This image would perhaps be an interesting selection if you were to make your series more about the dwindling congregations. It is visually interesting (although needs some post-production –straightening, contrast etc.) and the (heavenly?) pools of light falling on empty chairs is poignant because it highlights the human emptiness of these vast spaces.



2974 – I was drawn to this image because, visually, it is a view of this kind of building that I have not seen before. Also, because you have presented an image that gives more importance to the trees rather than the church, conceptually this asks us to consider the importance of these kinds of building (and the doctrines associated with them) in contemporary culture.


To be clear, for assessment, I am not suggesting that you simply create a re-edit of your series and include these two examples, rather you should use your strong visual abilities to reshoot and focus on a more conceptually concise series.


I hope that you understand this rather critical final feedback and take it in the positive way that it is intended. You have a strong visual base and some interesting ideas that will lead to some great work if you can increase the volume and specificity of your research methodology.




Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity

Your coursework is good Steve, keep it up. In terms of your comments about the difficulties that you sometimes have with understanding the academic language of the handbooks, a couple of things to suggest. Firstly, have you contacted head office about this? We have a specific email address for this kind of correspondence. Also in terms of the specifics of the brief, if you have an interesting take on empathy, maybe you could make this the subject of your work if you can! It would be interesting for people to think about the way that you look at the world.



Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

I have covered this in the main text.


Learning Log

Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

I have covered this in the main text.


Suggested reading/viewing


Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene – in relation to the debate between genetic legacy and religious doctrine. You should also look at some of the criticism of this work – for example, or

Daniel Dennett – Breaking the Spell – This is about the taboo of a scientific analysis of religion.


Good luck with your assessment!!!


Author: Photos Things and Stuff

Study Log for Expressing Your Vision module, for BA (Hons) Photography Degree with OCA

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