Category Archives: ASSIGNMENTS

Assignment Three: Tutor Feedback and my thoughts

Tutor Report Assignment-3-cn-formative-feedback-craig-sinclair-515221

As ever I am grateful for the formative feedback from my tutor for assignment three. I like to take a couple of days to think it over.

I don’t currently have the equipment to produce decent prints from home. I would like to look into getting a printer for the future but its weighing up the cost of both the printer and the ink cartridges at the moment. I emailed around the C & N student community for some thoughts on printers and printing from home in general. The general consensus was that printing from home can be expensive, the main issue being the price of the ink cartridges. Another issue was around colour accuracy. Some students suggested a colour calibration device as well. I’ve never done prints in a dark room, I would love to see how it works, the closest thing I have is my newly acquired Polaroid camera but its not the same thing really.

I looked for the print submission guidelines but I can’t seem to find them. I’ve asked student support if they can point me in the right direction. I like the borders but a wider border may give a better separation and framing.

I take on board my tutors feedback about being rigorous with selection. I had cut back a number of images from my selection but I guess I could be a little more ruthless with my final selection. There are a couple images I may consider dropping from the selection. I was a little disappointed my tutor wasn’t keen on the concluding image, its one of my favourites and I think it conveys in summary what I was trying to say. I had toyed a little with dropping all the other images and just submitting a version of the final image. I could see a series of 8 images may sit better that than the 12 images plus the final concluding shot.

I will consider emailing around a link to my fellow students on the course for some feedback and think about my privacy in regards to the blog.

I enjoyed doing the masquerades exercise with my father. I guess the final photograph is what ultimately matters the rest is all noise. It was a little tricky trying to explain everything to my Dad and construct the shots at the same time. I’m glad I went with this idea though. I feel this unit is really challenging me in a positive way to experiment, even if the end result isn’t always perfect, I feel I am developing as I’m going along. I’m less worried about trying and failing. My mentor recently gave me some advice when I was struggling with a bit of a mental block, she said “get the ideas out of head, try ideas out, just do it!

I’m really enjoying the reading on the course. I feel a bit like a sponge, the more I read the more I want to read. Photography is so much more than being just about photography, for me it encompasses everything in life.  The more photographs and exhibitions I go to the more I want to see. The more photographers I here about the more I want to learn about them and their work. I’m quite hungry for consumption at the moment, which feels refreshing. I recently had some feedback from the NPG in London and they explained the reasons for no photographs in the particularly exhibition I went to, so I can see their point of view (I don’t agree but I appreciate what they said!) and they hoped I would be back again soon, so that was really nice. I’m looking forward to getting back to London sometime soon, I’m nervous with everything that’s been going on in London but you can’t let these things hold you back.

I will have a look at stylisation around the thumbnails. Not 100% I can change this or how but I will have a look. I quite like the shadows and borders on the thumbnails though.

I will have a look at the work of the level 3 student as suggested by my tutor.

Looking forward to working on the essay for my next assignment. I enjoy writing. I will give it some thought about which image I want to write about. I think this will develop as I work my way through part 4 of C & N.

-Craig, 12/06/17

Assignment Three

Introduction

Following the creation of my 2 week diary I used it as a springboard to explore and say something about my own mind, nature and landscape. I found in my diary I spent a lot of time reflecting inwards and spending time in the woods. I like to think of it as a journey through my mind both physically and psychologically. There are some metaphors and symbols. There are 12 shots, like 12 steps, with a final concluding shot. The captions lend to the journey. I think of a journey on a trail a bit like walking through your own mind. I have found in life if I’m feeling lost, my mind is cluttered or I’m really anxious I head out on the trail, into the woods and I rediscover myself. I am centred again.

Influence

I had viewed a number of images by Vivian Maier in the book Self Portraits. I liked the way she explored her mind in the images. She had a unique way of putting herself in the frame in different ways. There is something uneasy and unsettling. In some of her images she used reflection or her shadow and sometimes a sort of double exposure effect which really interested me, exploring the multi layered aspect of the mind. This led to me creating that final shot which is a layered composition of 2 shots; a portrait shot layered over the top of a shot looking into the woods.

I have also touched on a really great self help book, which has helped me over the years by Susan Jeffers called ‘Feel the Fear and Do it anyway. When I feel uncertain I often refer back to the book for hints and tips but the overarching title just sums up that it’s OK to feel fear, you embrace it and you do it anyway. There are hints and nods towards this ethos in the series of shots, particularly the first shot and the shot where I’m looking at the tower.

Reflecting back on the images I think there is an unconscious philosophical element to the series of shots too. I find the links between the mind and nature, mother earth really powerful. We are so disconnected from nature in our busy life it’s really important to reconnect with the earth.

Reflection

I thought a lot about composition within the frame, what to include and exclude were really important within this assignment for me. Its about me but the landscape and environment are the other subjects of the photos.

I read the book Understanding Composition’ by Bryan Peterson which gave me some tips on composition and technique.

I have experimented with a number of different viewpoints within the assignment and really looked to explore who I am and what I want to say as an individual. I wanted to say something about myself but not make it blunt and direct. I want the viewer to think a little and work for it but still try to deliver a message using the visual language of photography.

I did question the boot shot a number of times – all the other shots are landscape orientation and the boot shot is portrait. I’m still a little unsure to be honest if it works or not, hopefully my tutor will give me some feedback on this. I have heard some people say for a coherent story all of the shots should be of the same orientation but I’m not sure I really agree with that myself.

I’m aware there are quite a lot of shots in the series, 13 in total. I am curious what my tutor thinks about this, are there too many shots? I will be interested to hear what he thinks.

One of my favourite shots is the vertigo shot looking up the tower. This took a number of attempts but it was created by looking up the tower from the inside and by twisting the focal ring either forwards or backwards. I like the way it turned out.

I did drop a number of shots which I had taken in Black and White and a different layered photograph. I like the shots but I didn’t really want to mix B & W with colour shots.

I do like my final prints but if I’m totally honest I’m still not 100% sure I know what I’m doing with prints. Maybe my tutor can give me some pointers? I used a company on line where I could upload my images and view them before sending them off. I have found my local printers are just far too expensive. This experience may come with time along with trial and error.

I feel I have again stepped out of my comfort zone with this assignment and explored new possibilities for me.

My favourite image is the last photograph, I feel this worked really well and I like the way the two images blend together to summarise the whole set.

I really enjoyed this assignment, it was a lot of hard work and took longer than I had planned but it was fun to experiment with ideas that I would never have normally photographed.

Reference:

  • Bright, S, 2010. Auto Focus: The Self-Portrait in Contemporary Photography. 0. Thames & Hudson Ltd.
  • Jeffers, S. 2007. Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. Revised edition. Vermilion.
  • Maier, V. 2013. Self Portrait.
  • Peterson, B. 2012 Understanding Composition Field Guide: How to See and Photograph Images with Impact. Amphoto Books.

Individual images:

1

1. I feel trapped like I’m in a self constructed prison. I need to get out of here today. I’m scared if I step outside I’ll get sucked off the earth. What was it Susan Jeffers said “Feel the fear and do it anyway”

2 Time for the well worn trusty boots DSC_6934

2. Time for some courage and the well worn trusty boots

3

3. Getting on the trail. Am I alone here or is there someone else?

4 There's been a murder here, they killed the trees DSC_7026

4. There’s been a murder here, they killed the trees. Like stolen memories.

5 I wish you were here today my love DSC_7039

5. I wish you were here today my love, to keep me company

6 But I don't think you're real

6. But I know you’re not real. I’ll see you tonight.

7

7. The tortured and the slain like old memories cast aside.

8 Onwards DSC_7041

8. Sometimes the only way out of your mind is straight through.

9 I need to climb up this bastard but I'm shit scared of heights DSC_7199

9. I need to climb up this bastard but I’m shit scared of heights, I’m shit scared of so many things. Fear is just a thought process. Every day is a challenge but you have to keep moving forward, looking up and never giving up.

10 Inside the tower I look up and I'm overcome by vertigo but I need to do this DSC_7177

10. Inside the tower I look up and I’m overcome by vertigo and fear but I need to do this. Transformation is a multi layered transition through time and space.

11 Triumph, from up here I can see everything clearly DSC_7161

11. Triumph; from up here I can see everything clearly. I can see everything behind me and everything in front of me. I can see where I have been and where I’m going.

12

12. In reflection it wasn’t that bad after all, the fear of something is often worse than the thing itself.

Conclusion

Conclusion Self Portrait: The woods are like a construct of my mind where I go to find myself again.

Click for larger images:

Assignment 3 – 2 week diary

For assignment three we are asked to keep a diary for a 2 week period.

Below is a digital copy of my diary:

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Getting prints and preparing to send to tutor

I think I’m nearly there, got my prints through today. I dropped and swapped a couple of images from my final set. I’d taken some B & W images but they felt out of context with the set, I still like them but they don’t really work collectively as a whole.

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I’m at the stage where I now need to hand this over for some constructive feedback from my tutor, I could be totally barking up the wrong tree…but I feel it represents me and who I am. I have played a lot with viewpoint and perspective in this assignment, there is a little bit of a psychology in there somewhere too. I’m hoping the captions will help!

For now I’m going for a pint, its bloody hot and I need a cold one.

Assignment Three – Taking shots and getting totally soaked

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Out in torrential rain….good fun! It’s all about that P M A!

This assignment has taken me a little longer than I had planned. I saw sun, torrential rain, blisters, blood, sunburn, soaked camera gear, I walked the wrong way alongside a whole triathlon of runners, tallied up over 21 miles in walking over 3 trips to location, and overcame vertigo/fears to climb up a beast of a tower. I got out and I had a lot of fun.  I learned a hard lesson of not being prepared; the tower I had planned to visit was shut on 2 occasions, I should really have taken the time to check what dates and times it was open!

I found the tripod was a really valuable tool for this assignment for the shots I was looking to take, along with a timer delay. I also found a really valuable use for my hat in a sudden downpour!

You could actually say this assignment has been one failure after the next. I’d like to  think of it more as one lesson after another. All good experience.

I wrote a diary for 2 weeks. It was a revealing, cathartic process. I’m still considering how much of it I want to share on here but I will share it with my tutor:

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I have discovered my hat is a good rain protector for my camera!

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Catching a break on a log

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Hello

Some of the colours after the rainfall were beautiful and not a soul in sight

 

Assignment Three: Initial thoughts and planning ahead

I am making a start on section 3 now and I have kept a diary for 2 weeks with some of my daily activities and my thoughts. It has been a cathartic experience. I am considering reflecting on the life of me as an introvert. Perhaps relating images directly back to the daily activities within my diary is an idea i.e. a shot to summarise the day but that would leave me with 14 shots….which may not be a bad thing and I have already started to capture some shots around this.

Another idea I had was to explore my life through 1st person perspective, a little bit like a first person computer game (if that makes sense), so the camera directly becomes my eyes, the viewer would be seeing through my eyes.

A third idea was spinning off the back of the introvert idea and creating a set of images, i.e. just a single day in the life of an introvert.

These are all ideas and my brain is still doing some sub-conscious processing that I need to jot down on paper and spider diagram.

Assignment Two: Tutor Feedback and my thoughts

Tutor Report Assignment-2-cn-formative-feedback-craig-sinclair-515221

It was a great idea to meet with my tutor face to face on Google Hangouts. It definitely makes it feel more real and I am very grateful for the feedback from my tutor, sometimes the difficult part for me is to know what to do with the feedback constructively afterwards. My negative chimp brain sometimes takes over. I tend to need time to process feedback and I know I am a thinker; better at writing down my thoughts than speaking them aloud but I’m better when I get to know/trust someone.

Good point, I will go back and update my referencing for the assignment.

I’m quite happy with the shift in tempo for the series, the 3/5 balance, it illustrates the shift in thought process for the character but I will give it some thought, I appreciate it is balanced heavy towards the ‘act’ itself. The strongest image for me in the set was also the face in the cereal bowl image so I was interested to hear the same from my tutor. It took a lot of different angles, drinking of milk and attempts to get that shot right! It was fun despite the subject matter!

I take on board the good points raised from my tutor about the lighting and experimenting with the flash. I may go back and reconsider the lighting for the 1st photograph with the character on the bed. I was looking to expose for the lamp on the bed side cabinet, which I initially blew out on previous shots.  So I have a nicely exposed lamp but poorly exposed/lit character; the trousers are dark and the shirt very light so need to find a balance. I’m happy to experiment with flash. I find one of the challenges with open learning is it would sometimes be nice to have a teacher/tutor there in person to say, try this or that, have you considered this, etc. I don’t have a plethora of photography friends at the moment to lean on but I do reach out to other students, books and of course You Tube on occasion.

I feel happy with the composition of the shots and the concept/idea behind the set. Overall I was looking for a really plain/drab colour palette but I take on board my tutor’s comments about the images needing to be ‘visually strong, even extreme’. I will work on this. Again it’s about finding a balance with the subject matter and delivering that visually in a way I think is honest to me. I take on the valid point that your work needs to stand out against the sea of other photographs out there.

Good point about the London visit, reflecting on the different spaces. I will go back and add some thoughts on that.