for final assessment
This document is the Section 4 component of my C&N Final Assessment submission. Sections 1-3 each contain submission elements and an explanatory document. Section 5 contains my tutor reports.
I have made progress this year in understanding what I’m doing and why I’m doing it and gained confidence and satisfaction in my output. The three main contributory factors in this growth have been:
- Being introduced to the work of an increasingly varied selection of photographers of all eras;
- The influence of an engaging and positive tutor;
- The creation of a booklet (or zine) of my work which I have found entirely liberating. That was suggested by my tutor.
About the only negative aspect of the course has been the OCA’s abandonment of physical prints and submissions. For EyV, I (and fellow students using OCA Gmail chat) did not receive clear direction on what should be submitted for final assessment and it was with relief that I read the specific C&N submission guidelines in the course text (Boothroyd, 2017, p.8). The hurried and arguably precipitous change to wholly digital submission has returned the C&N student population with whom I converse to EyV levels of confusion.
I think that the OCA should reconsider its position on the submission of physical prints as it has abandoned these far too readily.
The effect of Covid-19 restrictions on my output has been limited. Assignments 1 and 2 were completed before the lockdown and Assignment 3 was accomplished at home, rather than in the locations originally envisaged. Assignment 4 was partially researched at the V&A before it closed for lockdown and Assignment 5 was little affected. Overall, it resulted in my approaches being rather more introspective and parochial than might otherwise have been the case.
A unifying theme for most of the course has been Bill Brandt, source of the most successful derivative self portrait for assignment 3 and source of the subject of assignments 4 and 5. This allowed the zine covering the course to be cohesive and centred. Brandt’s influence on my own work remains strong, although I was chastened to learn of his (what I regard as a) dishonest approach to some of his subjects. Creating the zine has allowed me to experience the strength of integrating images and text, subjects and themes to an extent that I had not realised was possible. The creation of hand-crafted booklets will define my approach to photography for the foreseeable future.
One positive effect of digital submission is that I have been forced to learn WordPress as an alternative to my usual idiosyncratic and labyrinthine website development: the final assessment site for the course is at cn.baphot.co.uk.
Turning to the specific assessment criteria that are applied to the output:
My approach to assignments is to begin planning as early as possible and always have a fallback project running in parallel. Within this framework, I believe that the projects developed throughout C&N have been both relevant and creative. I will continue working on Forbidden Zones (Assignment 2) as that has potential to remain interesting and fruitful, albeit with some risks to personal freedom (an image of the Crown Jewels remains a goal).
Within exercises and assignments, the images created sit well together, once the viewer is aware of the context (without an explanation of the theme, any project can appear to be a more-or-less random assemblage of images, and this is especially the case with Forbidden Zones). Overall, the coursework’s coherence in reinforced by the presence of Bill Brandt: an examination of Brandt’s work and others from that period onwards informed my projects and provided standards to aim for.
Much of the work has an historical context and its relationship to individual photographers and the arc of photographic trends is explored and explained, especially within the zine. Their approaches were not followed uncritically but reinterpreted and reapplied in a contemporary context with modern materials.
The images are technically competent and processed appropriately. I have learned to become far more aware of backgrounds. I also learned in Exercise 1.2 that I disapprove of intrusive street photography.
Both tutors and my EyV assessment have commented on my use of image borders. I have defended this practice on a number of grounds, but, fundamentally, it is a subjective choice that harks back decades to my using a Paterson magnetic enlarging easel.
All the images for C&N have been presented in 6×7 (or 7×6) format. I believe that this allows landscape and portrait photographs to be intermingled without aesthetic disruption: my tutor does not agree, but it is, at least, less disjointed than my EyV submissions.
Boothroyd, S (2017) Context and narrative. Barnsley: Open College of the Arts.
Sky News Live (2020) Sky News channel. Screen image 2 September 2020, 22:52:49.