Reflection and self-assessment at the end of the ‘Expressing Your Vision’ module

In terms of technical and visual ability, I feel like I have developed well. My confidence with the camera has gown, and I feel I have a better grasp of how to make proper use of aperture settings, shutter speeds, focal lengths, and how to compose my images. I have developed a great enthusiasm for shooting in low light, with both natural and controlled light sources. My attempts at ‘The Decisive Moment’ however, while fun to shoot, are at best, probably rather average.

I feel I have a better grasp of what is recognised as legitimate contemporary art, in the field of photography, having read quite a few books covering the work of many recognised photographers. I am coming to understand how an image that is not at all ‘a beautiful photograph’ can artistically be more important, or relevant, than one that is.

This point, however, is where doubt sets in.

I am aware of the level of complex conceptualisation in much contemporary work, and it is here that I feel my own work falls short.  My images could sometimes fall into the category of pictorialism, if not actually into the vernacular. I have not developed or demonstrated complex concepts in the way that my tutor would like or in the way that I have seen in the work of some of the artists I have studied. This, for me, is a point of internal conflict, and indeed, of conflict with my tutor.

While I accept the validity of many of the stated concepts being depicted by some artists, or written about by some authors, some, I can’t help but reject as pretentious nonsense.  As such, I can’t bring myself to produce a piece of work, and explain it in a way that I think is just … please excuse my language, but I feel this word best describes how I feel about it… ‘bullshit’. The descriptions or explanations given in some cases, quite literally, make me angry, and I won’t be a party to that kind of thing. I need to work hard to find an acceptable middle ground here.

With this in mind, and when feedback from my tutor effectively tells me to start again from scratch, because I haven’t adequately explored an aspect of the concept that was *never* actually part of my concept … I find myself in crisis.

I recognise that the course material is intentionally vague, to allow for maximum flexibility and creativity, and while I find this difficult to get used to, I can deal with it. What I can’t deal with is receiving feedback that appears both contrary to the written goals of the assignment, and gives the impression that the tutor has not actually read my explanation of the concept I am trying to depict, or has simply ignored what I am saying.

It would be safe to say that when it comes to heeding my tutor’s feedback and altering my assignments accordingly, I could be marked as very weak.  In my defence, I can only say that I lost all faith in my tutor. To alter my work, in adherence to advice which seemed unconnected to what I was actually trying to depict, did not strike me as a good way to develop that work.

It seems ridiculous, even outrageous, for me to dismiss the feedback of my tutor, given his position, knowledge, and experience, (I’m prone to arrogance, but I’m not *that* arrogant) but I could only go on the evidence before me, and that suggested that he (more than once) either hadn’t read what I had written, before providing his feedback, or simply wasn’t paying attention to the details.

Suffice to say, I am very unhappy at this point. Having lost faith in the person whose feedback I should most pay attention to, I am now entirely unsure of the quality of my work, and whether I have done well, or otherwise, in completing the assignments.  I can only hope I pass this module, as time constraints demand that I apply for the next two modules, before receiving the results of this one. I am nervous.