Tutor Feedback

Overall Comments

There are some interesting pictures here, Steve, well done. I really enjoyed reading your ‘additional commentary’ and I am glad that you feel able to start to make observations and judgments as well as ask questions to yourself about the work. This is a really good start and your confidence in your own (in)abilities is refreshing and stands your development in good stead.

When looking at students work, it is sometimes helpful to start to pick out recurrent themes between projects or indeed within an individual series. Your images and commentary tell me that you seem to be interested in visiting or recapturing or visiting the past. This mostly came across really strongly in your commentary. Perhaps this is something that you could continue to develop in future projects. Remember, you can angle the briefs to encompass your own interests.

On a more general note, as you progress, be prepared to go back to the same location again if you didn’t get the shot that you need. You mention this in your commentary about image 01. Photographers will often visit and revisit sites until they achieve the desired results – or more interestingly discover new ones!

On a technical note, it would be good to upload larger resolution image to your blog as well as the thumbnails for me to see more of the detail.

Assessment potential

 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 are taking the idea of lifelong learning seriously by submitting their work for assessment but it is entirely up to you. We are just as keen to support you whether you study for pleasure or to gain qualifications. Please consider whether you want to put your work forward for assessment and let me know your decision when you submit Assignment 2. I can then give you feedback on how well your work meets the assessment requirements.

Feedback on assignment

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

Image 01

You clearly have great imagination and I enjoyed your attempts to read this image in an objective way. You have managed to describe some of the elements within the image but I think your reading of it has more to do with a description of what it is like to actually be there rather than an image that describes certain aspects of it. You have successfully managed to suggest an edge of eeriness to this picture but I think that is more to so with the implied narrative. People sit in cars late at night for lots of different reasons and usually they are not entirely honourable! As the viewer, I feel complicit in some kind of dodgyness, stalking? Dogging? Joint casing?


On a technical note, I am concerned that there is no real point of focus and although you used a long exposure with a low ISO, there is detail that could be better captured (See note on Dan Holdsworth below).

Image 02

Formally you have used a successful, although well used, compositional device in this picture; the eye is naturally drawn to the centre of the image. That kind of eye movement is something that you should continue to think about (in fact in a later image, the car and signal box, this works really well) but try to avoid cliché and stock imagery techniques unless you are critiquing it. (type the following in to google to see what I mean – wooden jetty going in to lake).

Image 03

I enjoyed the visual juxtaposition that you offer in this one. The strong verticals echo each other while their respective materials are completely different. The irony of the ‘charming rural landscape’ is just about there but this picture feels like part of another series.

Image 04

This is my favourite image of the series Steve. It is clear that you understand what this image is offering compositionally and it is a brave move to include a ’wonky’ image at this stage of your studies. This shows real confidence, well done. As I look at it, I am left in a kind of temporal stasis, I am thinking about what has happened before and what is about to happen at the same time. This kind of brain puzzle is a good thing to discover and understand and is actually really difficult to achieve.

Image 5

Your notes suggest that you may already know what I am about to say! Although this is an interesting image, it is not usually a good idea to mix colour with black and white within a series unless you know exactly what you are doing! (see link below). It sometimes looks as though it is trying to cover something up (a mistake? A bad image?).

Image 06

This picture is compositionally interesting and technically reasonably good (although I would like to see a higher resolution). The relationship between the text in your title and the image is the most successful of the series. The mixture of text and image is a tricky thing as the written word tends to swamp our minds as this is a language that we are much more familiar with than a visual language full of signs, symbols and referents (terms borrowed from semiotics). In this case it works well and is not too obvious because the ‘back there’ could equally be the place or a time and the barbed wire gives us a clear demonstration of a physical barrier.


Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity

An early stage but this is going well. Think again about the question that confused you, could you read it in a less literal way?


Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

You have shown a good examples of appropriate artist research. Please keep this up.

Learning Log

Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

Your log looks fine so far.

Suggested reading/viewing



Susan Bright: Art Photography Now – Have a look at this one it gives a really good overview of the different ways that photographers approach their work.

Charlotte Cotton: The Photograph as Representation – This is a great book which will expand the way you think about photography.

Roland Barthes: Camera Lucida – A must for any photography student!

The British Journal of Photography: http://www.bjp-online.com/

Source Photographic Review: http://www.source.ie


More Specific

Have a look at Dan Holdsworths night-time pictures in relation to your image number 01. They are beautifully sharp, technically brilliant. You should aspire to this!

http://www.danholdsworth.com/works/autopia/4/ – images at night sharp and lovely

On relation to image 3, have a look at the industrial typologies that the Bechers have taken –


 Wolfgang Tillmans – an example of an appropriate use of colour and black and white –


Martha Rosler – The Bowery in Two Inasequate Descriptive SystemsA great use of image and text – http://collection.whitney.org/object/8304