Friday, 27 September 2013

Assignment Five - Progress Report 4

Assignment Five has gone off to my tutor this week - so awaiting feedback.  Something that went through my mind after sending it off is how my approach to submitting assignments has changed.  Whilst, of course, it still feels important to get the work to a high standard before sending off, there is more of a sense of 'work-in-progress' - which is a little different from early modules when one felt the need to impress by having everything perfect.  I'll get feedback and advice, then I'll do some more work, then (in March, for this module) I'll submit for assessment. Maybe this is also part of a transition to regarding it as 'my work' and not something to 'please' tutor/OCA etc.  I could, potentially, see ways to go on developing some of the ideas that have emerged during Assignments Four and Five.

In my last post, I mentioned that I might share my Assignment Five images with the OCA Flickr group.  I did, and was much encouraged by the feedback (thanks everyone!), a lot of which is here:

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Assignment Five - Progress Report 3

I am going to prepare an Assignment Five  submission to my tutor before the end of September.  I don't think that will necessarily be the end of the story - I can envisage further development before going to the March Assessment session - but I have six images at a stage where they can be submitted for feedback.  They are below; and there is background on what I've been doing in these previous posts:-  (And, please note, the intended outcome is large prints.) (I am aware that one has a different coloured background!)

Assignment 5 - 1
Assignment 5 - 2
Assignment 5 - 3
Assignment 5 - 4
Assignment 5 - 5
Assignment 5 - 6

As the previous posts explain, the brief for this assignment is to photograph an event - planning, photographing, processing, and publicising, in a photo-journalistic/documentary context.  I have chosen to stretch that brief somewhat - producing my own response to a significant sporting event of Summer 2013, the Ashes Series of Test Matches between England and Australia.  The 'process' has been as follows:
·     The original images have come from a wide range of sources - second hand books; newspapers; Google image searching; Flickr; a specialist cricket site; even my own living room (Image 4).
·     Each of my six images started as a 'rough', before assembling the version seen here.  In some cases, the original image (cut from a book, say) has been used; but in many cases the original has been re-photographed and re-sized, to scale in with my assembly.  Most have been cut in some way, with a craft knife.
·     These 'assemblies' (feels like the right word to describe what I've done) are deliberately 'transparent' and even a little crude in places. (I refer to Letinsky, Blalock, Stezaker etc, in the other posts.)  They have been lit (using 2 studio lights) to try and emphasise the 'cut and paste' aesthetic; and then re-photographed to produce a large-file digital image of the assembly, as it appeared in 'my studio' (don't actually have one - but that's the principle).
·     As well as processing ready to print, some have had subsequent 'pixel' processing (moving, cloning, deleting etc), partly to improve the image, but also to quite deliberately confuse the eye in the detail.
·     I have printed each at A3+ (13"x19") for submission to my tutor.  (Worth saying that I am not 100% sure about my own printing & need the feedback on them now.  I may subsequently have to go for external printing - and I might even consider pushing the size larger again for Assessment submission [If I can get away with it!])
I have also taken the opportunity to reflect, again, on what this is all about!!  Reflections that I will share here ...
·     The projects origins lie in my Assignment Four research of contemporary still life photography - specifically the likes of Laura Letinsky and Lucas Blalock - but there are also, clearly, links to John Stezaker's combining of found images to make something new, something that says something different.
·     The images are, of course, in response to a brief.  I think there is an element of subversion - subverting the implied notion in the course notes that 'professional standards' = getting one's photo-journalistic work published in the media.  But hopefully it is a creative, thoughtful and imaginative response to the notion of photographing an event.  [The 'event', one might say, was my sticking together a few scraps of paper.  Or, am I photographing a series of mythical events that never really happened?]
·     There is also intended to be some 'real' response, beyond the hint of intellectualising above (and below).  The images do actually illustrate social and historical change.  Image 5 has a highly 'posed' Australian batsman (from the 1880s, as it happens) looking somewhat overwhelmed by the ways in which the game (the world?) has changed by 2013.  And it is also my intention that this bringing together of images from all sorts of sources (and times) might suggest some reflection on the ways in which today's photographers, faced with image saturation, can respond to events.  It has certainly occurred to me that one might produce similar responses to current affairs at all sorts of levels.
·     Then, perhaps returning to the intellectualising, I am trying to explore the layers of image-making - prints of paintings, copies of old photos, colour prints in books, to internet-based imagery, TV pictures, graphics, and then digital manipulation.  And, in the final prints, (and partly in response to the Letinsky prints I saw at the Photographers Gallery), I am interested in the surface of the photographic print - what can we do with that flat surface? what depth of visual impact can it generate?  I'm not so sure I will get there on this final issue - but the exploration is part of the point of the project.
So - a submission to my tutor by the end of the month; probably, I will share these images in the OCA Flickr group, too; and I may still look at producing two composite portraits - the archetypal 'English' and 'Australian' cricketer.  The course brief also asks for evidence of 'marketing' the work.  It's not at that stage yet - but I should probably give it a go.