5. Feedback

Student nameNick BlackburnStudent number518937
Course/unitC&NAssignment number5
Type of tutorialAudio-visualDuration30 mins

Overall Comments

An engaging and well-researched submission. It’s been a pleasure working with you and I wish you all the best too with your next course, Nick. A small amount of writing and further contextualising needed on your final image now in advance of final submission.

Assessment potential

Assignment 2 and 4 Assessment potential

I understand your aim is to go for the Photography/Creative Arts* 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, providing you commit yourself to the course, I believe you have the potential to pass at assessment.  In order to meet all the assessment criteria, there are certain areas you will need to focus on, which I will outline in my feedback.   

Feedback on assignment

This is an interesting submission: work needed now simply  to contextualise why you’ve chosen to approach your re-staging in this way and why you’ve made the decisions you’ve made in doing so. How has your own reading of this image has affected the approach you have taken?

What’s most important in the Brandt portrait is not only the subject (the miner and his wife) but also the objects that define them on the table. In the round, as discussed, this is a picture that is – first and foremost – about class. Rather than photograph his subject in his best (as all subjects would no doubt have presented themselves in front of the camera), he’s been photographed as he came in from work and before he’d had the chance to clean up.

His wife – and the way she sits resigned and exhausted watching her husband eating, but most definitely off to the side of the main focus of the picture – is an important part of the image. This placing of your second figure – the woman off centred and in the shadows – is something that you’ve captured really well in your reconstruction. I think however, it’s worth thinking about how different this piece would have been if you’d for example, replaced the objects in the Brandt (as he does) with domestic paraphernalia as opposed to camera equipment.

Most importantly, you have shot in a very different format and orientation to Brandt. In his portrait, it’s the vertical, portrait format that allows him to include, for example, the washing hanging above the head of the miner (which obscures the squint painting on the wall – no doubt knocked of by Brandt bringing the washing line down to make the composition more interesting) that really make the picture.

That’s fine – you’ve produced something that’s more allegorical rather than a pastiche.

You mention about the processing and that you don’t think it’s quite right. I think toning prints does of course refer to a very particular era in photography. Working in monochrome itself is more than enough here. However, the toning itself  doesn’t bother me as much as the orientation and the framing. You’re shooting from a very different angle (looking up into the subjects rather than Brandt, who is shooting at waist level). Essentially, the out of focus table top in your image is taking up almost 40 percent of your picture frame. In Brandt composition, absolutely no corner of the image is wasted. He uses everything (especially the edges of his image to great effect). Every object is read. It’s a very clever picture.

As mentioned, I do really like the way your second figure (your own partner?) is brought into the composition. In doing this, you essentially get to what is one of the most interesting parts of this photograph – the relationship between man and wife and a relooking – from our perspective – on the sexual inequality for women at that time. With little opportunity for personal freedom, they were indeed often condemned to sit and watch others.’

This final image comes out of your previous carefully worked through and constructed ‘re-enactments’ of self-portraits by famous post-war photographers.

I did laugh at your re-enactment of the infamous Christine Keeler portrait. It reminded me in its humour and lampooning spirit of the work of Alison Jackson’s pastiches of celebrity: https://www.alison-jackson.co.uk/photogallery

As ever, your note taking, subsidiary research and evidencing of your ongoing developmental work is meticulous and exhaustive.

Student feedback:


Thank you for another positive and encouraging tutorial and, indeed, thank you for a great course.

The revised Asg.5 essay is taking shape and I will soon wrap up the coursework and complete the zine.

I will take the actions you suggest and, as discussed, there is a Final Assessment web site in progress at http://cn.baphot.co.uk/. Please let me know if you get any information on submission requirements for the November assessment.

Thanks again,



See main body of the text


See main body of the text

Learning Log

See main body of the text

Suggested reading/viewing

See main body of the text

Pointers for the next assignment / assessment

Tutor nameWendy McMurdo
Date17th July 2020
Next assignment dueTBA