Student Name: Edward Lerpiniere
Student Number: 506079
Thank you for sending me your print and for your blog which I enjoyed reading.
Overall I think you are showing very clear signs of critical engagement and progression which is great to see. You are on the right track. The following is in line with what you are already doing with the aim to move beyond that. I hope you find it helpful and encouraging as well as challenging. Do let me know any thoughts you may have.
I understand your aim is to go for the Degree and that you plan to submit your work for assessment at the end of this course. From the work you have shown in this assignment, and providing you commit yourself to the course, I suggest that you are likely to be successful in the assessment.
Feedback on assignment
I think there is really something in your interior images. They evoke a certain quality; the spaces start to speak about experiences in a way. Particularly the kitchen with the keep calm poster. I think it is the composition which does that here and the clinical empty kitchen and the keep calm poster which creates an interesting disparity. Carry on doing what?!
The least evocative one for me was the living room. Perhaps with a different view-point this could be enhanced however. Facing the window directly in the other 2 added to a feeling of escape or wanting to, which was lacking here. Have you thought of doing something on the spaces you occupy and what they mean to you?
What I should have done here was to think!! I know I keep saying I will after all my feedback reports, but then I just go and do instead and get myself in a mess. If I’d really thought about this I could have made a triptych out of this scenario as another room, associated with the kitchen and dining room, would have provided a much better link and theme, DUH!
I did start a series about the place I live when I was doing TAoP, but I didn’t progress too far with it, perhaps I should resurrect it and see what I can make of it now my abilities are improving.
Just out of curiosity, what made you choose the tree and star of sunshine to be the one to print? It would be interesting to hear your reasoning. I think the print looked slightly over produced, quite digital if I may! Try a softer saturation and perhaps a matt paper to reduce the over sharpened feel.
For this set, it would be good to see something tie them together thematically other than the backlit factor. Try using the technique to say something about the image rather than using the image to say something about the technique if that makes sense. Where is backlit lighting used? Why is it used and what does it convey? Could you use this silhouette style to convey something of interest to you or even something witty? Like a reference to a Hitchcock film using a jar of mayonnaise for example. Feel free to interpret the exercises with the panache that you show in real life and in your writing!
Well, first of all thank you for suggesting I show panache in real life, that’s made me feel so good.
Your thoughts that the backlit tree “looked slightly over produced, quite digital if I may!”, is rather ironic really as I hadn’t done any production work on any of the images. I was under the impression they were to be left as is, straight from the camera to show how right, or in this case, wrong we’d managed to produce them. I can see what you mean about it looking the way you suggest, and by re-looking at the image I found that I’d really underexposed it by about f/0.5, which made all the difference; once again I’ve gone and misinterpreted the brief. I’ve read backlit as silhouette and that’s not the case at all, backlit means exactly what it says, lit from the back and it doesn’t always have to be a silhouette. I’m changing that by making three more images, with a theme, that will not be just silhouettes.
The third image of the woman walking away while you watch from a window(?) strikes me and could belong in that series with the kitchen!
Indoor single light source
From this exercise you can see the different ambiance a light source can give a room. Cosy, harsh, sinister… etc. Consider how you can utilise these lighting decisions to create the kind of atmosphere you hope to convey.
You ask yourself some really good questions. It may seem counterproductive but I do think part of the process of making good work includes the moments of questioning that you are experiencing. The ability to move beyond being satisfied with a nice picture is a really good place to be. However I understand it’s frustrating as you really want to move on from there! But it is part of the journey and, for me, I had to get to a point where I got out there and trusted my photographic instinct again and thought it all through later. So it’s great to see your involvement in the local group you are part of, actively meeting and taking pictures. A good practice.
I also love the imagery of a ‘picture hitching a ride’ (!) and think you have an engaging writing style. Something I would like to see increase and develop is for you to go into further depth, explaining your position / opinions. I say this because you make some interesting points and often I felt I wanted to know more behind those thoughts. So if I may suggest you continue threads you have started and increase your critical engagement to the next level I think you will understand more of your own argument more and that may / will lead to a greater understanding of your own practice in time.
I’m glad you like my style of writing, I try to keep it as light and flowing as I can because academic work can be so dry and boring to read time and time again from lots of different students. It’s not just for you and the assessors, but for the people who do follow my writings they see the same things again and again and as we’re all working from the same manuals the outcomes must be very similar in content, so style makes a difference.
You say to think about taking my questioning to the next level but I wonder if I’m ready yet? So far what I’ve written takes me to the end of my current thought processes and I require something more to stimulate further ideas and reflections before I can begin to make deeper answers to my questions. I’ll need to think more on this about how I can achieve that goal.
I always suggest Charlotte Cotton’s the Photograph as Contemporary Art… have you read it? I recommend it not because I love everything in it but because I think it offers a good overview of photography genres of today (ish). Not comprehensive of course but a good start and it helps one see where their loyalties lie in terms of what they appreciate / hate about certain imagery.
I’d also like to see you nail your colours to the mast in terms of what photography inspires you. What photographers do you like and why? What are your favourite / least favourite images and why?
I read Charlotte Cotton whilst doing TAoP and thoroughly enjoyed it. I think I’m going to have to get my own copy because I will have to read it again and keep it on the shelf to refer to in future as well.
I’ve avoided nailing my colours to the mast about which photographers are particularly influencing me as I don’t think I’ve been exposed to enough of them at the moment and I still find myself confused about what I’d like to focus on anyway. Sarina Bhimji has probably influenced me more than anyone because I’d love to be able to find the sorts of places she does to make images on the subject matter she finds, it’s the sort of thing that stimulates me. I suppose in a way I’m already starting down that route with my Personal project on this log where I’m making images of Unwanted – Obsolete – Unkempt items and scenes. The thing that makes it work for me is not just the imagery but the textual narrative that supports it, I enjoy sharing the information about what it is I’m looking at so viewers can see what I see in them.
Have a look at how Hitchcock uses technique as a means to convey / heighten emotions. Or other film makers, like Tarkovsky. Be aware when watching things as to how their technical decisions impact the experience of the viewer.
Pointers for the next assignment
I think we need to work at transferring all the thinking you have been doing into your practice. I know you know that and it’s really great that you have developed your critical awareness but even so, next time we need to find out what makes you tick as a photographer. So my suggestion, and this is unusual for me, is to abandon your inner censor and go and take some pictures about something that interests you. Keep taking pictures of that idea, place, person, until it starts to do something interesting. Keep the editing and critical analysis for post-production and then ask yourself, in hindsight, what you were doing when you were photographing and what it is you wanted to capture. Then see what you did end up capturing and if the two are in sync or if something even more interesting was going on in your subconscious or if you wish you had produced something else entirely. If that is the case, think very carefully about what you wish you had captured and see if you can now you have specified what that might be.
I know there are exercises but try to see each assignment as a personal project. Use the exercises as secondary vehicles for your personal interests.
You have done what it says on the tin! As you very correctly point out in your feedback:
Digital Photographic Practice is a module that is centered around technical skills and in some instances the artistry that the overall course is promoting takes more of a backseat than perhaps it should.
So my suggestion is that we give the technical skills the back seat and let the artistry drive. The back seat being important too of course but if you can let your artistry drive whist still allowing the technical skills to move forward, it’s a win, win scenario and we will get there!
I must say that’s the most inspiring message I’ve had about how to take my work forward so far. It made me look at what I’m producing for part 3 and where it’s not quite working, although that’s not the right words, it’s more like I know what I want to do it’s getting it into the camera the way I imagine it that’s not happening. I’ve taken some images at a site and looked at them and they do convey what I want, but they’re technically poor in some cases and in others I can see I’ve missed opportunities. I need to go back and cover some of the ground again in light of what I now know and what I want the images to show.