Category Archives: ASSIGNMENT 2

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.


Assignment Two: Using props

For this assignment I created a short narrative of a fictional character, which deals with the subjects of insomnia and suicide. It covers tough subject matters and before proceeding I would like to say I have put some useful links at the end of the assignment should you be viewing this and are having those negative feelings, you are not alone and help is out there.

I must state I am fine. This is purely an exercise in using props to help tell an important story. Although I play the role of the character in the photographs, this is not me. I did question whether I was mature enough in my visual story telling skills/abilities to do this but you know what, you have an idea and you go with it.

I have used the suggested prop of a white shirt. To me the white shirt can mean a multitude of different things but in this instance I have reflected on it being a middle class corporate man in debt, trying to make ends meet and struggling, kept up at night by his thoughts, so tired he can’t sleep – I think someone who has struggled with insomnia would be able to relate to this.

A big influence for me for this exercise was the 1994 photograph by photographer Jeff Wall, called ‘Insomnia’. In The Photograph as Contemporary Art by Charlotte Cotton she refers to how:

“Insomnia is made with compositional devices similar to Renaissance painting, the angles and objects of a kitchen scene directing us through the picture and leading our understanding of the action and narrative. The layout of the interior acts as a set of clues to the events that could have led up to this moment; the man’s movements around the sparse kitchen in his restless state…”

I first discovered Jeff Wall’s photography when he was suggested to me by my previous tutor Robert Enoch. I have found a fondness in Jeff Wall’s photography, something I can relate to, which I have struggled to find in other contemporary photographers. I have viewed the photograph ‘Insomnia’ on multiple occasions and I am pulled back to view it again and again. I like the staged (or Tableau) photography that Jeff Wall creates in his work, the possibilities are limitless but I found simplicity is key. What is included or not included within the frame is of vital importance. I have attempted to limit distractions within the scene of the photographs I have created. The décor is intentionally quite drab and plain, the plain earthy colours.

In one of the photographs I have referenced a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson; ‘A man in debt is so far a slave.’ It’s a powerful quote and one I could see my ‘character’ seeking some kind of guidance from, unfortunately with drastic results.

I have experimented with viewpoint in regards to where I placed the camera; I played around with point of view a number of times; using third person and first person point of view. Some of the experimenting can be seen further in the contact sheets. All of the photographs were very carefully staged, also deciding what to include or not to include. I had to go back a couple of times and move things out of the frame, or adjust the frame. To get all of the shots I used a 2 sec timer release from my remote trigger on my Nikon D7200, with the camera set up on a tripod. It took a number of goes before I was happy with the shots. The final shot of the series was taken by me having the camera on the tripod set-up on the stairs, I triggered the camera then lifted myself using the banister at the top of the stairs to dangle my feet, and I wanted the sense of motion.

I showed the photographs to a couple of close friends and they got it straight away. The image of the chair at the top of the stairs seems to initially get people questioning ‘hmm what’s going on here?’ but the photos after it are self explanatory really. I am not sure if it’s really clear but that photograph in particular is the subject looking up at the chair, so we are looking through his eyes at that point in time. The bare feet when the character is on the chair was also really important to me, I think there is a natural innocence in the barefoot. I think you would take your shoes off when you stood on the chair, I can’t really explain it better than that.


I am pleased with the end result. It was a challenging assignment and has really pushed me out of my comfort zone and then beyond. This isn’t something I would normally photograph, so I feel I am really pushing personal boundaries, trying new things out that I wouldn’t have done before. I have taken a number of risks, both in storytelling and trying out different creative visual perspectives, I am experimenting with the technical aspects of photography.

I really love the idea of telling a story through a series of photographs, it’s something I really want to develop my skill-set in; I think it’s a vital part of visual language. I am learning that it’s true what they say, photography is not just about photographing nice/beautiful things all the time. I still love photographing beautiful subjects but I am learning to widen my view to encompass other feelings and emotions.


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Some Useful links:

campaign against living miserably


NHS choices


TATE Jeff Wall Insomnia 1994

Charlotte Cotton, 2014. The Photograph as Contemporary Art (World of Art). 3 Edition. Thames & Hudson.Chapter 2  Once upon a time.

Susan Bright, 2011. Art Photography Now (Second Edition). 2 Edition. Thames & Hudson.pages 77-79.

Ralph Waldo Emerson Wikipedia



Assignment Two: Prep and thoughts pre and post

My initial thoughts for this assignment were leaning towards Photographing the unseen then to using props then backwards again and again. I finally settled on the idea of using props but some of my thoughts are below. I think I have maybe settled on using props with a little bit of trying to photograph the unseen as well!?!

I started off by thinking about what things could be un-photographable subjects to me, these could include things like:

  • Emotions – love, fear, hate, pain, suffering, empathy, sympathy.
  • Mental Health
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Worry
  • Panic Attacks
  • Magic
  • Religious Belief or Faith
  • Dementia/Cancer – my Dad
  • Feelings
  • Externalising the internal
  • Thoughts or the ‘thought-process’
  • Mental vision
  • Memory
  • Confusion
  • Loss
  • Suicide
  • How it feels to be an introvert
  • Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Insomnia

Some of the ideas I had for how these might be portrayed using photographs included:

  • A day in the life of someone with Social Anxiety Disorder – the struggles getting out of bed, getting out of the house, walking down the street, in crowds, dealing with being at work around people, being in que, panic attacks, being in unfamiliar surroundings, being in a city or build up area, the underground.
  • Trying to visualise what its like to be an INFJ introvert and how my brain operates differently to extroverts but also showing the strengths of introverts.
  • I had thought about trying to portray a day in the life of my Dad who suffers from Dementia and Cancer but when I tried to play it through in my head, it just overwhelmed me with so many painful feelings, its too close to me I can’t interpret it properly at this point of time but I might return to it at some time in the future.
  • Insomnia, how it feels to have insomnia. Made me think how well the film Fight Club had portrayed Insomnia its poetic. I keep looking back at the image by Jeff Wall, Insomnia 1994. Powerful staged imagery.
  • Suicide – this was probably the darkest moment for me, thinking this process through and how it could be portrayed in a series of photographs in a sensitive way but brutally honest, cut through the BS.
  • Memory – I had thought about trying to recall an emotion of a memory. I was thinking about Konstantin Stanislavski’s emotion memory technique used by actors to draw up the emotion but not the memory. I wasn’t too sure how to really visualise this properly.

I did reach out to my fellow students studying C & N for a bit of guidance and some motivation really and they shared their blogs with me, which was really helpful and spurred me on, so thanks folks if you are reading this!

I was struggling for some reason to realise an idea in my head that I was scared to approach about Suicide and Insomnia but eventually I settled on it and pursued trying to visualise it through photographs.

I did eventually flip my idea to incorporating the idea of a white shirt as a prop as I felt I could better visualise this throughout my storytelling about a struggling man, weighed down by debt and suffering from insomnia who eventually, sadly, takes his own life.

I wanted to show the suicide but almost suggest it through the use of the frame, rather than showing the whole thing within the frame, some how show it but not show all of it.You know exactly what’s taking place, I think your imagination fills in the blanks. I decided to not use any captions or titles for the images because I feel they speak for themselves. I had played around with the idea of titles but I felt they distracted the viewer rather than aiding in the narrative. I was playing around with the idea of photographing it all first person, through the eyes of the character I had created but I prefer the feel I went with in the end and for me it gives an almost film type snapshot.