Really useful advice

While reading the forums, I came across some really useful advice from tutors, and am quoting it here, just so I can easily refer back to it.

What can be done about consistently low assessment grades?

“Each student has their own personal experience but as photography tutors we experience many students and there are those to whom one can repeatedly make the same points in reports to no effect. Typical areas where responses maybe minimal are suggesting that students write critically about reading they’re doing from the recommended reading, or indeed show evidence of any reading at all, recommended or otherwise, past maybe a book on technique. Another is writing about their conceptual development in terms of their own work and their developing appreciation of the culture of photography and fine art in general and in terms of responding to assignments doing more than meeting the minimum requirement of the brief in developing their responses; integrating them into a progressive development of their personal voices. Addressing these areas can lift a submission by a whole grade band”

“Conceptual development in your own work could be the journey from enjoying making family snaps to realising it as a sophisticated medium of personal metaphorical commentary…”

“Writing critically means discussing the ideas you’re reading about as opposed to simply making a précis of the content or even more sparely just making a list of ‘books I have read’.”

“Appreciation of the culture means a similar thing; writing thoughtfully about the contemporary photography one is exposed to through all the media and exhibition visits, relating it to ones own work and how you may be influenced by it.”

“… what one is really looking for in the blog is a “diary” of ones intellectual and emotional engagement with ones own practice, the medium and the arts and culture in general. Reviewing ones current work in terms of ideas and emotions and relating it to earlier work and musing on future developments.

Too many blogs consist of mainly the exercises and descriptions of reading done with only the occasional sprinkling of self reflection, analysis and contextualisation within the wider culture.”

(White, 2016)


“The biggest jump students have to make when they begin to write critically is in moving away from being descriptive about art work and the idea that may be expressed within it and instead developing a stance which is about asking questions.In some ways it is a more detached way of looking at imagery, although of course it is still you looking and still your opinion.

A simple step is to add “because” to the natural response to imagery.

I like it because…of the compositional viewpoint…

I don’t like it because …the ideas is cliche.

Building an understanding that is increasingly analytical does require a vocabulary and over time reading other articles, reviews and books will help you to recognise key words and phrases as well as seeing how to construct an argument or articulate and share your opinions. ”

(Davies, 2016)



Davies, J (2016) What can be done about consistently low assesment grades? AT:

White, C (2016) What can be done about consistently low assesment grades? AT:


Stepping out of my comfort zone

While out shooting for ‘Square Mile’ I’ve become aware of my tendency to stick to what is my favoured style of image. Architecture, with a fairly obvious perspective, vanishing points, etc. I tend to use the same angles, trying to fit everything in, to make a ‘nice picture’… a picture postcard type image, I suppose.

I’ve been trying to break away from this, by using more unusual angles, excluding any kind of vanishing point, and trying to achieve a more random ‘by chance’ kind of image.

This has produced several very interesting shots that I wouldn’t normally have taken, but I do have this nagging feeling that a viewer might look at them and assume that I’d dropped the camera, or pressed the shutter by mistake.

Batteries, bad. Walking, good.

Note to self: Shooting in RAW format kills old batteries, fast.

First shoot was cut short due to depleted batteries. Pity. (I’ve ordered two new ones.)

Having said that, I did manage to take a series of shots of a view I hadn’t previously considered shooting. I just happened to be walking past, on my way to the place I’d been intending to shoot, and thought “that’s a really good view.”

The moral of this story (if there is one) – Walking to locations offers opportunities. Look around as you walk, and be prepared to stop and take pictures, regardless of your original plans.