I had received my final tutor report for the last in this module for People and Place at the end of April, but family loss and other work issues has put me behind my studies, and thus the final upload on my tutor report.
For this last report I was very happy to read my tutor seemed very pleased with my final assignment. The comments were very positive and I had written in my last reports that I thought many of the previous reports were a little too criticising without enough context of what needs to be done to improve the work overall. But this last report was very different.
My tutor states my learning process and analysis has improved and that my route of thinking has come along leaps and bounds. This was very pleasing to read after the other four assignment feedbacks made me feel very ‘flat’.
I have tried to encompass the suggestions my tutor has made with the inclusion of contact sheets, even though I feel at times this is a lot of extra work when I could be using that time for better blogs and material. The learning log has also received good comments as well as my critical essays, with a note saying based on my geographic location (Dubai) I have done well to capture the images in the way I did, under difficult circumstances.
So this concludes my last blog for People and Place and all that remains is the formal assessment to the OCA for grading. I have learnt a lot during the time spent on People and Place and it has pushed me well and truly out of my comfort zone, and put me insituations I would normally walk away from. I glad I didn’t and I think the module has made me a more rounded photographer.
I received my tutor feedback a short while after completing assignment 4 ‘A Sense of Place’. I found the comments constructive, but at the same time a little lacking in encouragement. This is the forth feedback I have had with the same tutor and with other tutors I have had a lot of positive feedback, as well as constructive critique, but I feel too often on these 4 assignments I receive only what I am doing wrong, or what could be better. I rarely read what photos have been well taken and composed and why they are good, I only receive feedback on what images could be better.
My location is Dubai, and in this country at times we are asked to take shots which can be a little sensitive in this region, then I am asked to get a little closer to the people and in certain circumstances I have been lucky even to get the shot at all. Even just pointing a camera at people in this area can be a big challenge and I wonder if sometimes in the feedback this is overlooked.
I am asked to include a contact sheet of the images I decide to discard. In this particular report it is suggested to include all the images I took of some fisherman as an example. I took around 30 plus images in this case, and to include all these images I feel is a little overkill. I am asked to edit a particular picture with ropes across some Dhows which was one image I did not include, but Im not sure why I would spend the time and effort to edit a picture I have no intention of using. This can be very subjective but I submitted a contact sheet of what i thought was relative. I fully understand the purpose of a contact sheet so my thought process can be available, but I feel its not clear how the contact sheet is expected. When looking at other students work I see positive feedback and my work is no different in most cases, so it can be confusing what is expected at times.
My tutor asked what I was trying to get across in tone particular image submitted. The answer is a broad section of what Dubai has to offer, and the type of varied people that live in Dubai. I could spend a whole year taking images of the vast variants in this city and I would still find more areas I could cover. One suggestion would be to limit my area and focus more on one aspect, this maybe true and could be another approach, but the assignment was submitted based on my feelings at the time and I cannot go back and do the whole assignment again. I will however add a comment on this image in question.
Some images have been suggested to edit a little such as the following:
Image 225 has a lamppost in the frame which is distracting, and I agree this is in need of a retake or PS removal.
Image 226 of the large indoor aquarium needs to be closer. I can and will crop this to make it closer.
In image 227 I am asked what I am trying to communicate, The answer is the broad spectrum of architecture, from the most expensive hotel in the world, the been landscaping and the waterways all bringing a landscape that in essence is built in the middle of a desert…I think its quite something.
As a final note, I take all the comments from all tutors as help and constructive, but at times I feel it would be good to include what is a good photo and why, rather than just what could be better and why it falls short.
Having read through my tutor feedback I agree mostly with the remarks made.
A couple of the changes I have been asked to change are firstly on one image in Masdar City the top of the other building is coming just slightly into the picture. I will crop this out and resubmit. The second was in the four pictures of Mall of the Emirates, two images are black and white and two in color. It was suggested that maybe these would work better as a set in black and white, so I will try this approach and change images to B&W..
Other suggestions is to add a photo contact sheet to show what other images I had taken (not all) but just a selection that shows my work flow and how I have come up to the final images and why I deleted others for submission.
One last suggestion would be to add more menus to categorize both exercises and assignments. This has been done.
After completing the second assignment, I was a little disappointed to here my current tutor is no longer going to be working with the OCA.
My next allocated tutor stated the following as an opening statement for my submission on People Unaware ‘ Thanks Andrew for submitting your second assignment, after recently transferring tutors. I can see from your blog that you are working methodically through the course materials. Keep pushing yourself into new areas and techniques, taking risks in order to develop your skills and learning through your degree pathway.’
The comments go on to say ‘ You have reflected well on the event itself and your process in order to capture these images. It would be also useful to reflect on the success of the images and think about how they sit together as a group. You have certainly captured a good impression of the activities at the event, taking sensitive shots of people unaware. Your shots are carefully composed and well lit clearly showing your technical skills.
One comment was to try and make use of contact sheets. I look through other students work and to be honest is something I see little of. I can understand the use of contact sheets to see how the student is working, and thinking through images for submission and why, and also why other are not suitable. I think however though that unlike the older days of film, where these images can be marked and crossed for a possibility that the digital side can take a lot more work. I will see how can incorporate this in future assignments.
I feel I am not getting as much of an overall confidence boost from this new tutor, and that I am being told only what images need work and for the reasons why, but Im not getting any comments on what images have worked which does little for my confidence.
However I will press on and hope to improve where I can based on comments received.
I was happy to read the initial tutor report for my first assignment in People and Place. My tutor opens with the comments ‘This assignment is well considered. It has a good feeling about it showing a good range of your models personal aspects. You did well to consider the focus to be on the personality and this gave you a context to work with.’
My tutor also mentions adds ‘In order to improve is to start to take a few more risks and explore the ways my images can become more creative’. For this assignment I had taken images mostly of my wife, so it was suggested I giver her a rest and look into other areas..I have to agree on that! Therefore I need to start taking images of other people, and this can be a hard this to achieve here in Dubai at times due to culture issues, but I take it on board non the less.
In closing my tutor states ‘ The write up is brief yet clear and well articulated it shows good technical knowledge, with some analytical critique for each of the images. However there is quite limited self reflection – did you try something new – did you push yourself into an uncomfortable area ? Distance learning asks for you to do this and to comment on how it taxed you, the visual risks you took or did you stay comfortable. There are plenty of positives in this submission in terms of technique that can deliver your visualisation. Well done for getting it together – it’s no easy task but it will be rewarding and interesting along the way.’
I think the comments are fair, and I will try to include the suggestions made in my future submissions ahead.