Student Name: Eddy Lerpiniere
Student Number: 506079
I really enjoyed this project and am so glad you got to a level of such high standard over the last module. You must be proud of your progress and it has been amazing to watch. Your research was particularly excellent. The work of Zarina Bhimji is stunning, thanks for the introduction to her work.
I would really like to see these professionally printed as a complete series!!!
I understand your aim is to go for the Photography 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 thought your composition was very well positioned throughout. The most striking images being those with a direct and frontal composition with straight lines. If I was being really pedantic I would suggest you kept this as a motif throughout to keep the consistency tight. Not allowing the perspective to shift a degree to right or left. For example in image 9 I felt the harsh up front diagonal distracts from the content of the image. Image 21 looks to be slightly falling off the page to the left although it seems the river line is straight. This could easily be fixed in post-production of course, if you wanted to tighten this up for formal assessment.
I hope you won’t mind me saying, but I wonder if your preference for the square-on, frontal image is a result of Debra’s work? It also ties in with a later comment you’ve made about the artistic approach rather than the documentary. Debra’s images are extremely evocative where she’s gone for the artistic approach to get that feeling, whereas I wanted to a documentary, ‘Picture Post’ style as it’s a story I’m trying to tell rather than evoking a feeling. It would be nice to have both, but some of the images I use couldn’t be made with that front-on style because of the position the camera was forced into by the lay of the land.
I’ve adjusted image 21 a little so that the water doesn’t seem to fall off the edge anymore, I must admit I had to look a couple of times to see what you meant though.
With images 9 I’ve decided to leave this as is. The point I was attempting to make with this image was the 45° banks and I tried to get that without the lock gear in the way, but then I found that wherever I took it from either something was left out or I couldn’t get where I wanted to be. The best place to have made the image was from the middle of the lock gates, where they join, but I’m afraid the danger involved on a wet day made me chicken out on that one, so in the end I settled for the compromise. I’ve looked again at the image and tried various crops, but it loses a lot when I did that and I wasn’t happy with any of the resulting images.
Your focusing also looks spot on – highlighting the detail in the whole image rather than a shallow depth of field, which really suits this style of work. However I am only looking online and this detail would be so nice to see in print.
Weather. I’m not sure if the weather was against you and I certainly wouldn’t move it to a spring / summer shoot – I think the more wintry weather is very suitable for this work. Although the blue skies and sunshine make for very appealing imagery, I am drawn to the more silvery tones of the ones that were shot on overcast days. The sunshine and shadows are a bit distracting for me (eg. image 20).
I do see your point about Image 20 and I did wonder myself before I used it, but I had hoped it would work better than it did. A new crop has improved it I think.
Editing – I think you did a good job. I really wanted to see the images beautifully printed and in front of me so I could see them all together rather than have to flick through the blog to see jpegs! However I think I have made my feelings clear on that! I do think printing out your work and having them all in front of you is THE ONLY way to learn how to edit properly. You quickly see what works and what doesn’t and especially if you have to show them to someone else it really hones editing skills you never thought you had.
I must admit that I’d also like to see them professionally printed, but unfortunately I have very limited means and I don’t think I could afford the number of print iterations it might need to get the right final product. I’ve printed them myself and after much trial and error, wasted paper and ink I’ve finally arrived at some ‘acceptable’ prints. Unfortunately my printer is only a relatively cheap, four ink model and hasn’t a wide enough gamut to print them as I would like, but hey ho.
For what it’s worth:
I wish the first image didn’t have people in it.
That sounds like me about a year ago when I thought of people in my images as messy and a distraction. I chose to have people in this image because the thrust of the series is about uses then and uses now. This part of the canal is very heavily used by pedestrians, joggers and cyclists as it leads directly into the centre of Reading and also to the hypermarket at the Thames – Canal junction, so I thought it appropriate to have them in this. For most of the rest of the images people just weren’t around at this time of year, especially in the more remote places.
I love the composition of images 7, 8 and 19 especially.
Image 16 is beautiful in composition and colour. Image 17 is almost too nice and should be in a calendar or something! That Dutch blue sky and windmill.
Creativity – You demonstrate a good degree of creativity in the style of traditional documentary.
If you wanted a more art-like feel, you could make the work more evocative by utilising Bhimji’s use of titles to portray something of the nostalgia and melancholy of the past. ‘Shadows and Disturbances’ is a particularly artful one.
Your titles are interesting though. They provide extra information from the image, which enables the pictures to come alive more for a viewer like me who has limited knowledge of engineering and canals. They are captions really, which is nice to have in this pithy age. So I could easily be persuaded to ditch the last comment on evocative titling! This type of captioning though, could be lifted into the introduction, edited down to the main details and then allow the images to breathe, apart from their specificity, and it could elevate them to the ‘universal’. Just a point to consider and I’m not saying you should go one way or the other but just to highlight the difference in contextualizing this work. One way (the numbering and captions) makes it slightly more documentary in my view and the other way might give it a more contemporary art reference. It’s all in the branding and I think you could successfully take this series either way. As long as you are aware of it and consciously make that decision and stick to it.
I covered some of the point about artistic versus documentary at the beginning, but I’d also like to say that I think I’d have taken a very different approach to making artistic style images. For instance, I would have ensured that I’d used the light at the very beginning and end of the day to change the light colour and shape of the shadows, I’d have narrowed down the field of view on quite a number of the images and finally I think that there are some of the sites that just don’t lend themselves to an artistic approach, like The Oracle Centre. You’ll probably say that you can approach it artistically, but I don’t feel that my ability is sufficiently developed at this time to tackle that kind of site in that way, let’s face it I’m only just starting to make reasonable technically correct images.
Learning Logs/Reflective Commentaries/Critical Essays
One of Bhimji’s images I found is titled “Their memories were trapped inside the Asphalt” and her general themes of melancholy suit your practice very well. A great reference for you. Although her work is mainly void of people it is not void of humanity or emotion, which makes its power all the more hitting. Also a good reference for you as your canals are not just about the engineering but about a whole history, involving people’s lives.
this project was way too big for this part of the course before starting, but ambition and pride made me push forward and I’ve come unstuck.
I’m so glad you did!
As you say – it would be nice to have more on exhibitions, books etc but you do show deep thought and consideration which is probably reaping from TAOP. I also think you demonstrate sufficient engagement for assessment purposes.
Have a look at this work on canals – I told you about it before – it’s my friend. http://www.debrafabricius.com/section532241.html
It’s a very different approach from you but I would like to know what you think of it. You will notice how she not only focuses on the geography of the place but also on the metaphorical connotations of the canal. In that sense it makes it universal and transcends Regents Canal and makes it more about any place, any time, any situation.
I think I’ve given some idea of feedback on Debra’s work earlier and you’re correct, it’s very different from mine. As I said, she’s projecting a feeling and ambience which is art and I wanted a picture story which required a much looser field of view and a feeling of context with the wider surroundings. Perhaps I’m too early in my development to be able to ‘see’ the same type of image as Debra does, but I can see them once they’ve been shown to me by someone else and I’ll have to try and ‘see’ for myself as I go on with my assignments.
Pointers for the next assignment
KEEP DOING MORE OF THIS!!!
I’m just so overwhelmed with your feedback. I thought I’d done a good job of things, but your reaction is just………..! Thank you.