Author Archives: Simon Chirgwin

Simon Chirgwin (512973) Identity and Place – Notes for Assessors

Hello Assessors!

Nested below the link to Identity and Place  (at the top of the page under the title bar; it will take you back here if you click it) there are 3 sub-category menus, each with further nested links to allow you to view specific categories of posts. I have replicated this tree of links here:


Assignments

 


Coursework

There is also an extra category for the introductory exercises

 


Research and Reflection


Each of the Assignment categories is headed with a brief introductory post, containing links to the Tutor’s Report and details of both files included in the physical submission and stored on the OCA g:drive folder that has been shared with me for this purpose.

I have not been able to reverse the most-recent-to-oldest sorting of the posts within any of the sections, or indeed in the blog as a whole, but assume this to be normal. Or maybe, given the content of this course, ‘normal’.

 


The physical submission for this Module includes a full index with titles. The online files to accompany the assignments follow a simple naming convention:

The common prefix: PH1IAP-512973-Assessment; the assignment number: 1-5; and the individual file number for that assignment. So, PH1IAP-512973-Assessment-3.01 is file number one for assignment 3 and PH1IAP-512973-Assessment-2.02 is the second file for assignment two. And so on.


Thank you for your time, reading all this.

assignment 5 – notes for the assessors

The tutor’s report for the assignment is Here.

All Related Posts for the assignment can be found either Here or by using the link nested beneath the heading Identity and Place in the blog’s top navigation.

File versions of the twelve A4 prints contained in the physical submission can be found on the assessment G: Drive.

***

There has been too little time between the tutorial and the deadline for assessment submission for any real revision to be carried out, but I have tweaked the statement that accompanies the pictures.

As I did not send prints to Robert for this assignment, I have gone over the finished picture files and struck proofs before sending them off for printing along with the other assignments’ pictures.

I have also tried to make sure that the intended text will always be associated with the pictures as the seeming absence of titles was one of the areas of discussion at the tutorial.

 

 

assignment 4: words and pictures – notes for the assessors

The tutor’s report for the assignment is Here.

All Related Posts for the assignment can be found either Here or by using the link nested beneath the heading Identity and Place in the blog’s top navigation.

File versions of the thirteen prints contained in the physical submission can be found on the assessment G: Drive.

***

The tutorial for this assignment was so positive that there was very little that needed to change before submission. I have made a final pass to correct the finish of the pictures and had them reprinted and slightly rewritten the accompanying statement.  Other than that, my assessment submission is identical to what was submitted to my tutor.

 

 

assignment 3: mirrors and windows – notes for the assessors

The tutor’s report for the assignment is Here.

All Related Posts for the assignment can be found either Here or by using the link nested beneath the heading Identity and Place in the blog’s top navigation.

File versions of the fifteen A4 prints contained in the physical submission can be found on the assessment G: Drive.


 

Revisions:

The two main criticisms of this assignment during its tutorial were that it had not been edited vigorously enough and that there were significant technical shortcomings of some of the pictures that had been included.  So, when revising this assignment for assessment, I have concentrated on making a more rigorous edit and preparing the picture files with more care both for printing as part of the physical submission and for online display, as shown here:

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I have reduced the original twenty five photographs to a more manageable fifteen. In doing so, I have moved completely away from my original idea of providing an insider’s guide to changing lines at Oxford Circus station, removing the book-end images (the Victoria Line shots as we entered the station and the thinning throng on the west-bound Central Line platform) and also the weaker (or most technically compromised) pictures taken on the platform itself; the subjective picture looking out from the central line train as it left the station also has been removed to maintain the unity of point-of-view shown by other remaining pictures.

The result is a straightforward and – I think – successful narrative, which repeats itself every couple of minutes during rush-hour. It is structured around a series of ‘looks’: a woman looks up at a specific point on the station wall; another woman looks left and then right; the crowd becomes more crowded and a man looks off to the left attracted by the sound of… a train bursting into the station; the train races past a succession of people looking back along its direction of travel; the people on the platform stand back to let passengers get off, and then board the train themselves; the doors shut as people on the platform stream past; and the train departs the station.

 

 

assignment 2: vice versa – notes for the assessors

The tutor’s report for the assignment is Here.

All Related Posts for the assignment can be found either Here or by using the link nested beneath the heading Identity and Place in the blog’s top navigation.

File versions of the five A4 prints contained in the physical submission can be found on the assessment G: Drive as can a revised artist’s statement.

 

Assignment 2 – Revised for Assessment

In its original form, this assignment was not well received by my tutor, who described it as just a selection of my holiday pictures. Which in a way it was.

What I had been trying to do was to take posed, photographs in uncontrolled places (beaches, on the windy upper deck of the ferry north) at times when the lighting seemed suitable, and to take unposed observational pictures in more controllable conditions indoors. As Robert pointed out, I was probably over-thinking things.

fig.1 – looking for america (alice on skaill beach)

However, the phrase ‘holiday photos’ started me thinking about the differences between vernacular uses of photography and the more rarefied designation of some photographs as ‘art’. Rather than submitting a set of varied portraits of James for assessment – a suggestion made during the online tutorial – I have instead taken Grayson Perry’s definition of art being anything that an artist says it is from Playing to the Gallery and run with it!

The physical submission for this assignment consists of two observational photographs from the original submission for the assignment, one portrait of my son taken after visiting the Ruff retrospective at the Whitechapel Gallery and two constructed ‘installation views’ featuring my pictures, elevated to art status on the walls of the National Portrait Gallery (replacing two of the Ruffs) and – at the top of this post – the Photographer’s Gallery (in the frames for three of Wim Wenders’ polaroids).

In the end, I think this assignment examines my twin identities as a parent with a camera and (vice versa!) as a photographer (an artist, even?) who is also a parent…

 

 

assignment 1: the non-familiar – notes for the assessors

The tutor’s report for the assignment is Here.

All Related Posts for the assignment can be found either Here or by using the link nested beneath the heading Identity and Place in the blog’s top navigation.

File versions of the six A4 prints contained in the physical submission can be found on the assessment G: Drive.

 

Assignment 1  –  Revised  for Assessment

The original set of photographs consisted of pictures taken at a training centre in east London of the people attending a re-certification course for the programme management methodology, MSP. I was also there for the course and it seemed a good moment to get pictures of people I had just met outside of their normal environment. They would not be wearing their professional armour and might let their guard down a bit.

When I arrived at the venue, I realised that there were marvelously vacuous, motivational statements printed in big letters on the walls. I used some of them as backgrounds for this initial set of pictures and hoped that the whole thing would hang together nicely while commenting on the whole professional certification racket. My tutor’s response seemed to indicate that this hadn’t really come across and that rather than ‘unguarded’ most of the pictures’ subjects came across simply as uncomfortable being photographed. Some were also smiling; it would appear that this is not generally viewed as a good thing if one wishes to be serious about portraiture.

Then, a few months later, I attended another professional certification course which took place at another training centre about a hundred yards away from the first. Again I took pictures of my course-mates during breaks.

In the time between the two courses, I think I had reached a better understanding of how to settle people and take good, non-awkward pictures of them. Four of the pictures in this revised set were taken at that second course. The two from earlier have been re-edited to make them all fit together as a coherent set; the one included in my original set – fig.4 –  has been cropped to remove the text on the wall with a corresponding increase in the impact of the subject.

 

exercise 5.3 – a journey

Note the journeys you go on regularly and reflect upon them.

Now photograph them. Remember to aim for consistency in your pictures […] This will help keep your project honed to the subject matter rather than you, the photographer.

IaP Coursebook, p.112

1: Some everyday journeys:

From the bedroom, down to the kitchen to make tea (and while my mug is brewing on to the downstairs bathroom to empty my bladder) and then up to my study in the attic to write up posts.

From the house to school with Alice – three options: on her seat at the back of my bike (although she’s almost too big for this); on her bike; on her scooter. The route for the days when Alice has her own transport is: down to Boundary Road, up St Barnabas Road, turning left half-way up and going straight on into Thomas Gamuel Park, round the corner by the play park and the exercise gear and straight on up the back of Reina’s and into the school play ground at the top. This journey is done in the morning with the light coming from the east.

This is of course totally different from (but with the same endpoint as) the journey with Alice to school from the old house.

The journey home again in the evening, either from Reina’s (Monday and Tuesday) or the school itself (Wednesday and Thursday). There may be a stop off at the playpark if the weather is right. Evening light – from the west. Mostly, I pick up on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, when Fiona is on shift, but every four weeks, I do Thursday and Friday. On Friday Alice has a dance class in the village, so we head there instead, rather than home.

And after dropping Alice off at school, the trudge (route 1) or cycle (route2) to the station.

Saturdays to Sainsbury’s and George Monoux (pronounced Monucks, in the same way locals call the town Worfamstow) Academy for Alice’s gym class.

To Stansted. To Heathrow. Sometimes to Luton. On to Glasgow. Or Elsewhere (I did quite a bit of work on this set of journeys as background for part three of Context and Narrative)

The journey to work (cf assignment 3) or indeed assignment 5

The journey in to my workplace – through the barriers, up in the lift, go to the place I regularly hotdesk (fig. 3.3, here) plug in my laptop and then – while it’s booting – off to make coffee and to eat the samosa I bought at the station newsagents as I left the tube from this man:

When the coffee (‘real’ not instant, in a cafetiere cup) has brewed and the samosa has been eaten, I’ll go back to my desk, log on and begin my day.

From the station to home. Via the pub. Via Sainsbury’s. Via the Post Office to pick up a parcel.

If I were to pick one journey to tackle for this exercise from the list above, it would be the new journey to school with Alice. However, as mentioned above, I have already done a number of journeys in a number of treatments for various parts of my OCA courses to date, so I’ll revisit one of them and try to do something that ties in to the work on Still Life from earlier in this section of the course,

 

A flight into Russia

It’s not ground-breaking to take pictures of airline food; it probably was not ground breaking ten years ago. However, a large part of my time travelling by plane is taken up with eating and drinking. The last time I flew to Moscow, I flew with Aeroflot to Sheremetyevo airport to the north of the city. For my dinner, I had the meat option, not the fish; this sequence –  made in a style I have used many times before – shows my progress from receiving my meal tray through eating my main to being replete. I at the chewy bar on the airport express that took me into the city.

On the way home, i probably had the lamb again (I know not to have the fish) but this time, I slipped the paper cup that my glass of wine came in into my cabin bag. Back home – and months later –  i subjected it to the same treatment as I did to some of the objects on my mantelpiece.

 

 

fig.4

Removing an object from its context, interests me at the moment; I have a second airline cup – Loganair; Kirkwall to Glasgow in August 2018 – sat next to me as I type. Once I have got the workroom in my new house set up, I’ll take a matching picture of it. I will gather more detritus from journeys as time goes on and photograph them once I have returned home. This will give me another way to picture my travels and present them to others…