Tag : Assignments

Assignment – Publication Evaluation

The very last assignment of my very last module of the my degree course with the OCA can be found here. It feels strange to be typing that. Much of the detail in it can be found in this blog in various entries but it was interesting typing up my experiences in that way. It made me think about various aspects that I hadn’t appreciated until I actually started writing them down.

The feedback from David, my tutor, was fine. As he said, it was a thorough account of my experiences in presenting my work which, to me, is exactly what the aim of the assignment was.

He suggested the addition of a section on what worked and what didn’t work in the exhibition and this I’ve now added. For example, he suggested that I discuss whether the decision to mount without frames was correct. For me the answer to that was an unequivocal “yes” though I have to admit that when friends have subsequently had them framed behind glass they do look good. However, framing an individual image in a home is on thing but an individual image is just that, a single image when the image is more important than the theme. In the exhibition, when all of the images are on show, the connecting theme of the virtual but boundaries that can be traversed is more important and the frames would have obstructed the presentation of this theme.

Another area of discussion that I hadn’t included was the lighting which I felt was good, as did many of the comments received. It was very adjustable with just one image slightly shadowed but I’d made sure that it was the most suitable image for that spot.

I had to smile when David also suggested a comment about the size of the images since I’d originally being going for a smaller size until David himself warned me that images always look smaller on a wall. He was right and I was very glad that I’d taken his advice.

One criticism that he did have to begin with was because of a couple of photographs that I’d included of visitors to the exhibition. He felt that I’d placed the images too high for the average height of a visitor. I had to laugh and explain that both of the people in those images were around 5′ 3″, well below the average height! At that he agreed that they would be at about the correct height. I won’t post those images here to avoid embarrassing my vertically-challenged friends 🙂

In the tutorial we went on to discuss what I should send up for assessment but I’ll cover that in another post when I’ve sent the package off to the OCA.

Publication Draft – Assignment 4

I’ve placed my fourth assignment, Publication Draft, on my website and it can be accessed here. It was all pretty straightforward with much of the information already in the blog, just a matter of pulling it together in a semi-coherent fashion and adding a few bits.

David, my tutor, seems happy enough with it and everything now seems on track for the exhibition. Some of the minor elements that we discussed follow.

The 3 images to be shown in the annex/bar area should work together, not just the three strongest or most picturesque and I should think of placing the background information on the wall, possibly as A2. This would allow more people to read it and there would be less chance of maintenance staff removing the information by mistake. It would allow me to place the flyers on the table for people to take them away.

I should think about the height of the frame, there is an algorithm relating to the average height of a person. However, the main thing is that it should look “right”.  Also, look out for the ceiling lights which are slightly low and might distract the viewer’s view. Think about lowering the images from the standard in this case.

We’d previously mentioned Peter Davies, University of Wales landscape photographer, with respect to the subject matter. Davies has a PhD dissertation which includes a presentation with similar subject material. The paper discusses the reasons for not using a frame, issues of scale etc. This is relevant to my exhibition so would be interesting – though David is not convinced 😊 There was a brief discussion which quickly stepped back from environmental aesthetics!

The idea of enabling the floating effect should work with the polystyrene cylinders that I’m proposing. In my budgeting I’ve included my time and costs even though it’s “free” to demonstrate that I would be able to apply for funding. I also need to include the time of others such as the Laura Noble fee or even the time spent by my “coterie” (group of friends) who I enlisted to solicit their opinion on the final portfolio.

I need to rephrase the last paragraph of my Artist’s Statement as it’s is slightly confusing, creating a mental loop that is misleading.

On a slight digression David checked that I’d used Taylor’s “A Dream of England” as a key test in my CS work. This was a tome that I’d found very interesting, to be honest I found it more interesting than useful to my CS work but it’s become more useful as I look to exhibit Virtual Boundaries.

The most important comment from David was to look out for problems or issues on the day of hanging – something is very likely to go wrong so “be prepared”


Taylor, J. (1994) A Dream of England. Landscape, Photography and the Tourist’s Imagination. Manchester: Manchester University Press

Assignment 2 – Tutor Feedback

Generally David seemed happy with my second assignment where I presented my draft proposal for my exhibition He felt that an exhibition would be a suitable medium for presenting my BoW work and it’s probably not necessary to produce a book I parallel as this might dilute my efforts. He did, however, suggest that the site, format and content of the exhibition should be determined by the direction I see my work going after the course.

In my budgeting I need to include my time and costs even if it’s “free” since it is good practice should I need to attempt to secure funding or, more precisely, reciprocal funding at some point in the future. One way of looking at it is “I’m donating my time so there is a monetary value associated with it.”

I discussed with David whether foam board or Foamex was a suitable medium for the exhibition since I wanted to avoid glass due to the inconsistent lighting in the venue. He suggested that it would be suitable and allayed my concerns that it might appear to “amateurish”. As he said, it all comes down to how I want to show my work and he suggested that a chat with Genesis might be advantageous. He also agreed that glass could be a risk in poor lighting conditions. David also suggested using aluminium instead of Foamex but, again, I’m worried about the lighting conditions. David also recommended the book Exhibiting Photographs by Shirley Read which I’ve subsequently read and it’s incredibly useful. I wish that I’d read it at the start of this module.

Another really useful point that David raised was that whenever something goes on an exhibition wall it looks smaller than you expect. As a result, I’ll increase the size of the images that I intend to take down to check the lighting and positioning before I get them printed in their final form. I’ve been down to look at the Old Court’s current exhibition again and David is right. The images on display are in frames that are just smaller than A2 and the images themselves are no more than A3. I’ve now decided that my border-less prints will need to be the size of the frames or even larger if they are not to be lost on the wall.

I should not get too hung up about the quality of the final print (within reason obviously). David used the example of camera phone images that have been over-enlarged. On a gallery wall most views are from a distance where the pixelation is not apparent. At that distance the image is all, dependant on the work and the audience. When I think back to some of the exhibitions that I’ve attended, both amateur and professional, it makes total sense.

A useful comment from David for any specialist photographer – “More people will hate your work than will love it” which is useful to remember. In other words – develop a thick skin! It’s an interesting comment because I used to address IT conferences all over Europe and the USA. When doing this my views and lectures might conflict with the established practice of the companies or organisations whose employees were attending. It was something that I learnt, that I had to be able to defend my comments, either at the conference or subsequently. Here, there is very little opportunity to defend my work since it’s much more subjective. Any viewer’s negative comments, in general at least, are valid.

As an aside, David subsequently commented – “Not that I am suggesting anyone would hate your work of course” 🙂

It’s important to decide what I want to do afterwards in terms of photography and that must determine the location of the exhibition. Whichever the location, I would be remembered at that site for the work of my first portfolio so there is a danger of returning with a different genre. This aligns with my intention to exhibit the BoW work at the local Arts Centre which is a focus for local art in Windsor. It is also associated with the annual Windsor Arts Festival so provides a continuation of the local publicity and engagement. Subsequently, having gained experience with this location, I will host a larger wildlife exhibition at a gallery that has national associations, and which would market the exhibition nationally. It’s important to look at the profile of the visitors (or prospective buyers) so I feel that this split, of local and national, works with this approach, local visitors at a local centre for the BoW work to promote the Great Park and the wildlife exhibition could be held elsewhere with a larger, non-local and transient footfall.

So, its a case of taking these very useful comments on board and moving forward!

Assignment 2 – Publication Proposal

The main part of my proposal seems to be coming along though there are still a few points that I’m still trying to work out.

Firstly, I’m still moving forward with the original BoW portfolio as the basis for my publication and that’s working well at the moment though I’ll go through my thoughts on that later. The problem that I do have is where do I want to stop? Is it OK to just have the exhibition, possibly with the add-ons as suggested by Laura Noble or do I need other elements such as a book to back it up?

On the book side, David has mentioned a number of self-publishing options in the past. One of those was stab binding which I’m looking into. There are a number of tutorials on the web such as this one which make it look “simple” … or not.

Another issue that I’m trying to decide on is feedback. Do I want to leave a tablet there for visitors to input or a visitors book? Perhaps I’ll just create a page on the website and make sure that the link is easily visible at the exhibition. anyway, these can wait for the moment and I’ll just get the proposal off to my tutor then talk these things through with him if I haven’t decided by the time of the tutorial.

Anyway, for now the document can be seen on my website here


The Photography Industry – Tutor feedback

Having submitted my essay I was unsure how my tutor would receive it but his feedback was pretty good.

He felt that it could have been written in a slightly more academic vein but this wasn’t really a big issue. I’d deliberately done that to make it more readable since, although it was part of an academic course, it didn’t feel as though it was a key element in the way a thesis or dissertation would have been. ls, the interviews themselves which were an important part of the essay were very definitely written (and carried out) in an informal fashion. Of course, it it became a problem I could rewrite it to reflect David’s issues but neither of us felt that was necessary.

David felt that it was a good use of primary research. The interviews seemed to have been on track with relevant and pertinent questions. There could, possibly, have been more interviews but, again, this was not necessary. The fact that the two roles were very different but still related was good

In the conclusions I should add what I’d learnt about the role of a curator including elements such as

  • Is the curator a barrier between the artist and his/her vision?
  • Is the role different for a single artist vs multi-artist installation?
  • What is the role of curator?

These points will be in the assessment submission, but I should include them in this essay

All in all I’m quite happy with that so on to the exhibition !!