I have just received by tutor’s report on A3. Some was positive, some less so.
He was positive about the research and my coursework which is helpful as it suggests I am going along the correct lines here.
The main problem was with the photographic series I submitted for A3. He gave a long analysis of it. The bottom line, although phrased much more kindly, was that it was boring and bland!
‘Your images feel just like a document of a time and a place, I think that the audience want to feel something, know a little more about you. I think that you have been too restrained when producing the images. I think that there is room for more creativity and experimentation.’
‘The other aspect of working with a traditional narrative is the type of images we use in-order to create the story. Much like films, narratives will be built upon using a variety of types of shots such as the establishing shot, mid shot, close up and detail.’
‘The bottom line that I’d like you to take away is that although I feel that your critical input is strong, very relevant and it’s very important for the assessment criteria it’s distracting you from the actual production and process of your work. I get the impression that you are holding back. I think that you have the potential to produce stronger, more engaging (remember you have to gain the viewers interest) images. Let your guard down a little, work from intuition and be prepared to experiment with your images, think about more contemporary photographic approaches.’
Taking that on board, I have gone through the images I took and selected a different cut that hopefully is a little more interesting. I have also tried to arrange them more in a traditional narrative format, moving though the scene from distance to close up/detail for each set of images. Unfortunately, due to the present circumstances, it is not possible to go back and take any new images to make a more interesting set. It may well be several months before DWARF reopens.
I am very aware that I tend to go for the ‘safe’ images. In spite of having taken photographs for many years I have only just started taking pictures of people and do hold back from trying new things or experimenting with viewpoints. I find I like to please the subject – and in most cases my portraits do – but this is probably because they are safe and are what people expect of a photo of them. Unfortunately, this sort of image could be taken by anybody and shows nothing special – so I need to be more adventurous and experimental.
My tutor also gave me links to two photographers:
- Donigan Cummings – who took his disturbing and graphic images of people in 1990 (published in 1991) and said “If you leave unsettled and afterwards don’t look at photographs the same way, the next time perhaps you won’t approach them with the same shallowness” (Reznik, 2014)
- Boris Mikhailov – who took images of the poverty in Kharkov in 1887/98. Again, these are disturbing images that force you to think (Respini, 2011)
Neither of these artists could be considered safe, boring, or bland – I will look at them both in more detail for inspiration.
Respini, E. (2011) Boris Mikhailov: Case History | MoMA. At: https://www.moma.org/calendar/exhibitions/1125 (Accessed 03/06/2020).
Reznik, E. (2014) The Stage: Donigan Cumming’s Photography of the Absurd | Time.com. At: https://time.com/3807903/photos-of-the-absurd/ (Accessed 03/06/2020).