Reflection on Tutor Report Assignment 3 ‘Window’

Reflection on Tutor Report on Assignment 3 ‘Window’

The written tutor Report was a follow up to an Assignment tutorial via Google hangout audio. Both the tutorial and report gave me valuable perspectives on the Assignment. I agree that putting emphasis on the single narrative of the rocking chair project (beginning to end) results in a stronger series, as does the inclusion of an image of the finished chair itself. Gallery 1 below are five images chosen from the Assignment contact sheets that are now added to the re-edited series.

Gallery 1 (click to enlarge) five images from the Assignment contact sheets now added to the re-edited series


In the re-edited series the original first image is now removed as superfluous as are images that distract from the main narrative of the rocking chair project. However, some of social documentary images remain so as not to exclude the important social aspect of the meetings. In this way the re-edited series is reduced from eighteen images to thirteen (see Gallery 2 below). The final image in the series is a photograph I took in portrait format and cropped to square (1:1) ratio. This is the result of the suggestion in the tutorial to consider a crop of this type – a method whereby a photograph taken in portrait format might nevertheless be incorporated into a series of images taken in landscape ratio. Here I think this type of crop was appropriate and worked well.

Overall the tutorial and written report were most useful in relation to an appraisal and analysis of the Assignment as completed and the factors that needed to be addressed when making a final edit – these considerations were applied in the re-edited series (below). In addition, the feedback on my Learning Blog was very useful as were the ‘Suggested reading/viewing’ and the ‘Pointers for the next assignment’ sections of the Report.

Gallery 2 (click to enlarge) The re-edited series of images for Assignment 3 ‘Window’

 

 

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Submission Assignment three ‘Window’

Submission Assignment three ‘Window’

My ‘Assignment three’ learning blog (parts i – vii) address:

https://iandp513273.wordpress.com/category/assignments/assignment-3/

The final sequence of Assignment images are show in ‘Gallery 1 submission’ below; also below are the contact sheets for the Assignment.

The short-list of images from which the final images were chosen is shown in my ‘Assignment three’ leaning blog here:

https://iandp513273.wordpress.com/2017/10/08/assignment-3-windows-vi/

A test layout (pdf document) for print medium is shown in my ‘Assignment three’ learning blog here:

https://iandp513273.wordpress.com/2017/10/10/assignment-3-windows-vii/

How the Assignment meets the Assessment Criteria Points is discussed in my ‘Assignment three’ learning blog here:

https://iandp513273.wordpress.com/2017/10/15/assessment-criteria-points-assignment-3-windows/

Reflective commentary on Assignment three (500 words):

The objective in this Assignment was to create a photo essay, that is to say ‘with each picture showing an aspect of the story that builds to create an overall impression’ (Short, 2011: 102). The community I chose to photograph was a Community Men’s Shed (Irish Men’s Sheds Association, s.d), in particular one that was local to where I live and which had recently been established.

I approached the Assignment within the conceptual framework of John Szarkowski’s ‘windows’ versus ‘mirrors’, choosing to explore the element ‘windows’ which is, of the two, the most outward or documentary oriented.

My initial approach to the members of the Men’s Shed was successful and they agreed that I would attend meetings and photograph at will; I agreed to contribute photographs that they might use online. As I visited, it became apparent that the activity of the Men’s Shed fell into two broad categories — as a social meeting place, and a place to undertake work on specific projects.

Over the time that I visited I was able to photograph both the on-going work and eventual completion of two projects – the restoration of a lantern that originally hung above the door of the old building that housed the Men’s Shed, and the restoration of a rocking chair. This allowed for the possibility that the final Assignment series of photographs could contain an ordered sequence ‘to show a level of development of the story or idea’ (Short, 2011: 102). The question posed by this possibility was how to integrate any such ordered sequence (i.e. work on and completion of for example the lantern project) into any overall, final series.

Also, I photographed a one-off event that related to one of the objectives of Men’s Sheds — to advance the health and well-being of the participating men. The event was a scientific survey of people over sixty years of age seeking their opinion on the taste of provided samples of food supplements.

Activity in the Men’s Shed at the times of my visits structured the essay into five parts: social gathering; project ‘lantern’; project ‘rocking chair’; and project ‘food supplement tasting’. Each of these activities was photographed along with the individuals – this included pop-up studio portraits.

A major consideration in making the final series was how to integrate each of the five parts (above) into a coherent whole without resorting to a straightforward and visually dull linear sequencing. With the exception of the pop-up studio portraits all photography was by available light; often the ambient light was a mix of window-light, fluorescent light and spot lights. In order to create a common colour palette across the series I corrected all the photographs to a common colour temperature. This had the effect of enhancing the ‘level of continuity’ (Short, 2011: 104) in the series.

The theme or motif running through the final series is that of ‘hands’. Hands are present in all the images save the initial one which symbolically sets a strong male tone to the series. Individuals are seen in cooperative settings relating to work or discussion, that is to say reflecting the main elements — work and social — of the Men’s Shed movement. Two of the photographs reflect also the Men’s Shed interaction with the wider community.

References

Irish Men’s Sheds Association (s.d) About. At: http://menssheds.ie/about-us/ (Accessed on 26.09.17)

Short, Maria (2011) Basics Creative Photography 02: Context and Narrative. Lausanne: AVA Publishing


‘Gallery 1 submission’ (Click to enlarge) Final image sequence for Assignment three ‘Windows’


Contact sheets (click to enlarge) Photographs from the final image series are marked in red


 

Assessment criteria points Assignment 3 ‘Window’

Assessment criteria points Assignment 3 ‘Window’

Demonstration of technical and visual skills – Materials, techniques, observational skills, visual awareness, design and compositional skills. (40%)

Technical and visual skills were displayed in the preparations for and completion of a series of photographs of a chosen community. During visits to this community I got to know and photograph individuals and their activities. Digital images made over several weeks were processed, edited to a short list displayed in my learning blog. A final edit resulted in a series of photographs for the Assignment.

Quality of outcome – Content, application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner, discernment, conceptualisation of thoughts, communication of ideas. (20%)

Prior to taking photographs research was undertaken into the concept of ‘mirrors’ and ‘windows’ – as documented in my learning blog. The blog also includes images from various shoots showing how the project evolved as the material grew over time.

Demonstration of creativity – Imagination, experimentation, invention. (20%)

The Assignment involved meeting a community of people that I had no previous knowledge of, becoming acquainted with them to the extent that I could photograph but without them becoming self-conscious of my presence with a camera. I had not previously undertaken such a task, that is to build a rapport with a group over several visits; the time scale meant that I had the opportunity to see what was working in this regard and what was not. For example, I found that bringing prints of photographs taken on a previous visit generated acceptance and understanding of my project among the members. On one visit I created a ‘pop-up’ portrait studio but also sought to create portraits of men while they were intent, concentrating on a particular task. I took photographs in both the landscape and portrait mode to allow for experimentation in page layout of the image series.

Context – Reflection, research, critical thinking (including learning logs). (20%)

My on-line learning blog demonstrates my reflection, research and critical thinking on the Assignment.

 

Assignment 3 ‘Window’ (vii)

Assignment 3 ‘Window’ (vii)

In the course the Assignment I used a 35mm format camera and took photographs in both the landscape and portrait orientation. Gallery 1 below contains a pdf document showing my trial magazine-type layout and sequencing of the material. This layout allowed for the two orientations to be mixed on the one page and, along with radical cropping of images, gives the series a distinctive character. This type of layout is ideal for inclusion of text or captions with the photographs which was not my intention with this Assignment series.

However, in making the final edit I choose to use a single (landscape) format layout because I felt that it allowed for the best use of the collection of photographs I had taken for the Assignment, allowing for a clear narrative sequencing that is especially suited to the online viewer. The Assignment’s final series of photographs is shown in Gallery 2.

Gallery 1 – pdf document  (click to open) of trial page layout

Assignment 3 experimental magazine layout


Gallery 2 (click to enlarge) Assignment’s final series and sequence of photographs


 

Assignment 3 ‘Window’ (vi)

Assignment 3 ‘Window’ (vi)

The first edit (down to 30 photographs) is shown in Gallery 1 below. The activity of the Men’s Shed fell into two broad categories — as a social meeting place, and as a place to undertake work on specific projects.

Over the time I visited I was able to photograph both the work on and completion of two projects – the restoration of a lantern that originally hung above the door of the old building that houses the Men’s Shed, and the restoration of a rocking chair. This allowed for the possibility that the final Assignment series of photographs could contain an ordered sequence ‘to show a level of development of the story or idea’ (Short, 2011: 102).

The sequence below follows a sequence emphasising the different aspects in turn: social/community; cooperative work on projects – lantern, rocking chair; health and well-being.

With the exception of the pop-up studio portraits all photography was by available light; often the ambient light was a mix of window-light, fluorescent light and spot lights. In order to create a common colour palette across the series I corrected all the photographs to a common colour temperature. This had the effect of enhancing the visual connection between images in the series, leaving the sequencing of the images to create a strong thematic connection.

Gallery 1 (click to enlarge) First edit


References

Short, Maria (2011) Basics Creative Photography 02: Context and Narrative. Lausanne: AVA Publishing