I have very mixed feelings about this work. I know it has further to go. On the plus side, the set is easy to construct so I can return to the work when I have a bit more separation from it. Imber opens again at Christmas and Easter so there is also the option to continue shooting there and see if I can get my original idea working better with a broader set of images to choose from. In reflection I gave myself too long on this work, I think with a tighter deadline I would have been more focused and efficient. However there is something that appeals in the submitted set and I am hopeful that it can form the basis of something better. It has shown me clearly where I need to improve. I knew when I started the course that this assignment would present a challenge, and it did. I am confident that producing the next two, at least, will be rather slicker. As it is, this work still feels not quite mine. Sometimes that’s good, sometimes not, and I’m not sure which applies here.
Demonstration of technical and visual skills.
This has been something of a technical epiphany for me in terms of seeing where I need to improve. I finally worked out why my white balance has been out in every single shot for months, and fixed it. I learned properly about using a grey card to set white balance, which is something I hadn’t fully understood before. I learned more about manual focus, about the technical properties of lenses (eg deep depth of field is easier to achieve with a wider lens, and a longer lens brings elements at the back “forward”). I tried to do something in Photoshop that turned out to be much more simply achieved in Lightroom with the adjustment brush. I moved from my default 50mm lens to a 100mm macro and struggled with framing a bit as a result. This has shown me that I would very much like to learn more about the still life genre and how to construct stronger images. More prosaically I need to get more skilled in, and competent with, the technical side of images from learning my camera settings inside out to working in Photoshop and eventually printing my own work.
Quality of Outcome
The images are not as consistent as I would like, some pairs are better than others both in terms of execution and in terms of conveying meaning. I’m happy that they don’t instantly serve up their meaning, but when people find the meaning they identify with the images (again some more than others). The idea of presented/actual self is a frequently clichéd meme on social media, and I wanted to avoid that banality if possible. The date night, shopping bag, and nit lotion sets all seemed to provoke recognition in those non-photographic peers who saw the images, indeed one woman exclaimed “date night!” on seeing just one of that pair.
Demonstration of creativity
Creativity was not in short supply, but judgement may have been. I identified and explored several different approaches to the brief, and then different ways of executing most approaches. My explorations incuded digital, Polaroid, solar prints and scanning. I decided to submit plain vanilla jpgs at this stage.
For all approaches I shot first and researched later. I have learned a bit about the tourist gaze, and more about Fox Talbot. For the final approach I have limited contextualisation – Nigel Shafran’s “Washing-up” series and Sharon Boothroyd’s “The glass between us”.