Assignment # 4 – Tutor’s Comments


“You wisely used a transparent jug here for the flowers and that has given you a much greater variety in framing options than an opaque vase would have. Indeed, a couple of your photographs are reminiscent of Lee Friedlander’s ‘Stems’, and this is no bad thing…”

Again, David was generally positive about the work I had produced for assignment 4 and was glad I had stuck in, despite having found it remarkably hard to get started (or settled on a subject even). Generally he felt:

“All of your photographs were successful –each revealed the aspect you were exploring well. As such there isn’t really much for me to add on that side of things. Your use of lighting accurately brings out the physical properties defined within the assignment.”

There were minor technical issues with a couple of the pictures. The first of the form images was harshly lit, with highlights that were beginning to burn out, something I was aware of while I was editing the pictures, but was unable to do anything beyond correcting the fault as far as was possible in Lightroom, as the next opportunity to have the living-room and the living-room table to myself at a time when it would be fully lit from the window would not be for a couple of weeks, by which time the flowers would have been dead. That said, I did take some pictures after everything had faded, to act as the header for this post; possibly I should include one of them in the set submitted for assessment at the end of the course in place of the picture submitted here. I’ll think about that. The second technical issue was that some of the pictures were over-saturated and that the particular pink of the flowers would be hard to reproduce in prints. Before I started AoP, I had only very rarely printed shots that originated on a digital camera, and I’m still learning lots about how to take things from a .raw to a file that can be handed over to someone who’ll make a digital-C print from it, let alone work out what needs to be done to get a good inkjet print made. David had told me I didn’t need to send prints with this assignment as he was happy that the files and the prints submitted for assignments two and three matched up. However, I think I’ll have a play with the files from this assignment and get them printed up sooner rather than later, as this will allow me to have another run at them if necessary before they are submitted for assessment in the autumn. This probably is a good place to have a look at soft proofing in Lightroom, although my ignorance still extends to the point where I’m not sure if this is only applicable to inkjet stuff… Where I had done much less well though was in writing up the exercises for his section as part of my learning log. I had managed to get almost all of the photographs taken (and I have now filled in the gaps) but failed dismally in getting a final edit of each set of images sorted and then writing it all up. The problems with my workflow first became truly obvious during part three of the course: I have found it hard to confine my shooting to a manageable number of shots and also found overlaps between things that could be used for an exercise or the assignments or for both meaning I have built up pots of suitable images, without necessarily defining where they would appear over the course of each part. I have only managed to avoid this really during assignment two – when I only had one day to take the pictures and no opportunity to go back and further refine them and fill in gaps; even so, I managed to take nearly 350 pictures in that one day – so this is something that I really need to work on in part 5, alongside making sense of the missing posts from parts 3 and 4, and probably will now need to focus on during the course that follows this. While I have managed to reduce dramatically the number of options I have created for the exercise in part 5, I still need to convert that focus during shooting into completed blog posts in my learning log. Watch this space… Then finally, there is a pointer from David to focus more on conceptual self-evaluation, positioning my pictures withing the context of my understanding of both what I am trying to do and where it fits into the wider world of contemporary photography. And this is where Lee Friedlander and Stems comes in…

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