Category Archives: ASSIGNMENTS

Assignment 5; Narrative – Notes for the Assessors

I have remade the dummy book for this assignment following the suggestions in the tutor’s report. Now, instead of a series of individual prints, hinged together with masking tape, there is a single strip of pictures, scored and then folded to make a “concertina” book. The colour temperature of the pictures has been reset back to the original, cooler setting of the files created in my camera. If time and money permitted I would do one more edit, making the final, appropriated image/page darker, to match the others.

I would use this assignment as the basis for further work, creating other series of pictures of streets in Walthamstow that have obviously been damaged by wartime bombing. It may even build up into a stand-alone exhibition forming part of the Walthamstow Art Trail, either next year or the year after.

Tutor’s Report – Assignment 5

I have included  a dummy book containing all of Assignment 5 – a concertina of 9 prints –  in my physical submission for assessment.

High Resolution Files of the Assignment picture are on dropbox in the folder: Assignment 5 – Light

This contains:

    • The 9 full-size jpegs that make up the composited book ((512973-PH4AoP-A5-nn.jpg)

All Related Posts can be found either Here or by using the link in the main menu at the top of each page. I have removed all “Read More” commands, to reduce the amount of clicking you have to do.


Assignment 4; Light – Notes for the Assessors

This was the most overtly technical of the assignments for The Art of Photography. As such it ws mostly a case of trying to improve my application of techniques and lighting theory rather than of pushing me creatively. This does not reduce validity of the pictures however and while most of them are quite “exercise-y”, there are a couple (the two “texture”  pictures (05 and 06) and the second “shape” (02) which I think go a bit further.

For reasons outlined in my response to the Tutor’s Report (mainly around the fact that the flowers were long dead at this point) I did not reshoot any of the pictures for this assignment. I did however rebalance the colour following David’s suggestions and these are the versions of the picture files that were used to make the prints enclosed as part of my physical submission for Assessment.

Tutor’s Report – Assignment 4

I have included 4 prints in my physical submission for assessment:

  • Assignment 4.1: Shape – Photographic Lighting
  • Assignment 4.2: Form – Photographic Lighting
  • Assignment 4.3: Texture – Available Light
  • Assignment 4.4: Colour – Mixed Light (Daylight/Tungsten)

High Resolution Files of the Assignment picture are on dropbox in the folder: Assignment 4 – Light

This contains:

    • 8 full-size jpegs of the assignment photos (512973-PH4AoP-A4-nn.jpg)
    • 4 contact sheets (512973-PH4AoP-A4-contact-nn.jpg)

All Related Posts can be found either Here or by using the link in the main menu at the top of each page. I have removed all “Read More” commands, to reduce the amount of clicking you have to do.


Assignment 3; Colour – Notes for the Assessors

This was probably the most problematic of the assignments. As noted elsewhere (here, and a few days ago, here, and no doubt a few others, too) I found it very hard to stop taking photographs and to start editing them into either finished exercises ready for a write-up or to complete the assignment itself.

Then, after handing in my work here, this has been the section that has seen the most reworking of the “completed” pictures. I had worked on accentuating the main colours in the submission and then, following Dave’s comments in his report, dulled them down again; for the assessment prints, I have further reworked the way the colour was handled, again reducing the saturation (in part directly, but also by lightening the overall picture) in order to get print masters that didn’t smash the colour gamut of the paper that was being used to make C-Print, while experimenting with soft-proofing in Lightroom.

Now, I suspect I have calmed the colours down a bit too much in some of them; as a result, I have included the original print for Colour Harmony through Complementary Colours – Orange and Blue rather than the reworked one. “A work of art is never completed, rather it is thrown aside in disgust” as Apocryphal said…

Tutor’s Report – Assignment 3

I have included 4 prints in my physical submission for assessment:

  • 01 -Colour Harmony through Complementary Colours – Orange and Blue (01 in the original submission)
  • 02 -Colour Harmony through Similar Colours – Violet and Red (06 in the original submission)
  • 03 – Colour Contrast through Contrasting Colours – Yellow and Blue (11 in the original submission)
  • 04 – Colour Accent – Orange (13 in the original submission)

High Resolution Files of the Assignment picture are on dropbox in the folder: Assignment 3 – Colour

This contains:

    • 16 full-size jpegs of the assignment photos (512973-PH4AoP-A3-nn.jpg)

There are no contact sheets included for this assignment as they would need to be so extensive as to be meaningless as anything other than as an indication of my indecision!

All Related Posts can be found either Here or by using the link in the main menu at the top of each page. I have removed all “Read More” commands, to reduce the amount of clicking you have to do.

Assignment 2; Elements of Design – Notes for the Assessors

I still really like the pictures I took for this assignment and while I don’t have much to add to what I wrote after receiving the tutor’s report about the pictures included. However, I would say that the suggestions that I take a few paces back and take wider pictures than I did on Flotta seems to have gone on to influence the pictures I have been taking since.

Also, as a footnote, almost a year to the day I took the Assignment 2 pictures, I was back on Flotta again. While I waited for the ferry back to the mainland, I took an alternative to the picture that replaced picture 10 of the original submission. Here it is:

Entrance to the Oil Terminal, Flotta; 30-vii-15

Entrance to the Oil Terminal, Flotta; 30-vii-15

Tutor’s Report – Assignment 2

I have included 4 prints in my physical submission for assessment:

  • 01 – Single Point (01 in the original submission)
  • 02 – Vertical and Horizontal Lines (03 in the original submission)
  • 03 – Distinct Shapes -Semi-Circle and Oblongs (06 in the original submission)
  • 04 – Rhythm (13 in the original submission)


High Resolution Files of the Assignment picture are on dropbox in the folder: Assignment 2 – Elements of Design

This contains:

  • 14 full-size jpegs of the assignment photos (512973-PH4AoP-A2-nn.jpg)
  • 7 contact sheets (512973-PH4AoP-A2-Contacts-nn.jpg)
    Contact 01 contains 10 (revised)
    Contact 02 contains 04
    Contact 03 contains 09, 10 (original), 11, 13
    Contact 04 contains 01, 03
    Contact 05 contains 06
    Contact 06 contains 02, 05, 08, 14
    Contact 07 contains 07, 12

All Related Posts can be found either Here or by using the link in the main menu at the top of each page. I have removed all “Read More” commands, to reduce the amount of clicking you have to do.


Assignment 1; Contrasts – Notes for the Assessors

After I received the feedback for Assignment 1, I did not make any changes to the pictures that make up assignment 1. The main suggestion – to match the aspect ratio of the portrait format pictures to that of the landscape ones –  would have meant a major re-edit and some possible re-shooting.

I had decided on the different ratios – 3×2 for landscape and 4×5 for portrait – at a very early stage and as a result some of the compositions were made with this in mind. I felt that the shorter portrait format would work better for a submission that would only be viewed on screen as the images would view larger on a normally oriented monitor screen. Also, at that point, I wanted to crack on with Elements of Design.

Tutor’s Report – Assignment 1

High Resolution Files of the Assignment picture are on dropbox in the folder: Assignment 1 – Contrasts

This contains:

  • 17 full-size jpegs of the assignment photos
  • 8 contact sheets (512973-PH4AoP-A1-Contacts-nn-thing&anti-thing.jpg)
All Related Posts can be found either Here or by using the link in the main menu at the top of each page. I have removed all “Read More” commands, to reduce the amount of clicking you have to do.

Assignment # 5 – Tutor’s Comments


Another sky over Walthamstow

“Conceptually this assignment was a success. You have experimented with an interesting idea and have created a critically interesting body of work looking at this place.”

Another set of positive comments (Tutor’s Report – Assignment 5) came back from my tutor,  a couple of weeks after I had submitted the physical book dummy and a link to my recent posts for the assignment. I was glad to see that David had thought the work was successful and the description of it as a body of work (rather than a bunch of photographs) showed that I had hit the spot I was aiming at here.

It would have been nice to get a bit more explicit praise, but moving onto things that can be improved makes sense in the context of a course that I am following and which itself forms a part of larger scheme of development.

“Rather boringly I’m afraid I have concentrated most of this feedback on a few technical issues that do need to be ironed out as soon as possible to allow your outcome to match your critical thinking. Hopefully this will put you in a strong position both conceptually and technically for the next module.”

Onto the specifics. First: “There is an overall red colour cast in all of the street pictures.” This is followed by a detailed description of how to correct while editing the images.

I find this useful and annoying in equal measure! Useful, because my use of Lightroom is very much self taught in a very hit and miss way. One of the things I’ve noted as a possible side-project during the level 1 courses is to work a bit on my workflow and how I work with images after they have been created initially and a particular area of focus would be how I deal with colour. The techniques outlined here are instantly applicable and can be incorporated into my expanding repertoire of standard actions while preparing pictures for inclusion on the blog or for individual assignments. It’s annoying however, because I actually applied the basic Lightroom “Cloudy” white balance setting to all the street images as they seemed a bit cold. The easy way to achieve much the same result as via David’s method would be simply to revert the pictures to “As Shot”.  How embarrassing!

Chromatic Aberation reared it’s ugly fringe again too. All the street shots were taken with the same rather old 24mm f2.8 Nikkor prime. Leaving aside the fact that I should have spotted this myself (and corrected it in Lightroom), Level 1 of the BA lays the most emphasis on the straightforwardly technical aspects of photography, and I should definitely review my basic kit and replace the worse bits of it with something better as I work through the next two courses before moving onto level 2. Generally, my set of lenses is good, but old and second hand, chosen as much for price as for performance; There have been issues with some of the other lenses I’ve used with my D50 during TAoP and this may be the next place for me to focus my attention after replacing my DSLR body with something that is less ten years old…

The other area for focussed criticism was the presentation of the assignment: “I was pleased to see you include a dummy for the book. This demonstrates well your thinking concerning potential presentation of the work. I realise this is level one and as such this is unlikely to have a huge bearing on marks but you might consider producing a slightly more polished version for assessment.”

I’ll also redo the Assignment 5 book dummy following the method detailed in the feedback: I’ll print the pictures as a strip and then fold them into shape rather than connecting individual prints.  The scoring board and tools are sitting in my Amazon basket, ready for me to click submit. I have worked out where to get it printed and just need to make up the composited file for printing.

I will also take some time to look at how pictures can be displayed online, both in WordPress and more generally. I have a basic knowledge of web design and it shouldn’t be beyond me to play about with the Javascript & the CSS styles around them. I’ve noted a couple of times during the course that photographers’ websites can often be shocking to navigate or even just as a platform for pictures; it would be good to turn this carping into something positive with regard to my own work!

And that – bar some best wishes for the future and a nice general appreciation of my work over the course – is that.

 “I would suggest enrolling on the ‘Context and Narrative’ module next.”

And so I shall. I have enjoyed this course, and feel ready to move on. I’m booked in for the November Assessment Event. I’ll spend the next couple of weeks tidying my learning log – turning unfinished drafts into published posts; writing up missing exercises; making sure the metadata is consistent across posts; doing a final proof-read for typos, spelling and just simple stupidity – and making a final selection of assignment pictures to send as prints. It would be good if the assessment report would be able to feed into the next course sooner than November, but that can’t be helped. I shall assume that it won’t differ radically from what David has been saying over the last year.

Assignment 5 – Personal Review

Course Outcomes

On successful completion of the course you’ll be able to:

  • use the principles of composition when planning and taking photographs using suitable cameras, lenses and other equipment
  • demonstrate skills in the control of qualities of light, and colour, and demonstrate creative outcomes using these skills
  • demonstrate a basic knowledge of the principles of graphic design in photography through a single photograph or a series
  • reflect on your learning experience.

AoP Coursebook

I think, in the terms of the outcomes stated above, I have successfully completed this course.

In the section on assessment in the Coursebook, these outcomes are then broken down into 4 areas, each corresponding to one of the Course Outcomes, above, and then further subdivided. Where I have already covered something in some depth in the posts dealing with how I came to produce my submission for Assignment 5 – 75 Years After – I have only given a brief summary here.

Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills

  • Materials: The physical manifestation of 75 Years After is made up from the cheapest prints I could have made – 6 x 4, colour, gloss, no borders – by Snappy Snaps with the exception of the composite Heinkel/Google Earth picture which was an even cheaper 6 x 4 colour, gloss, no borders print made on a machine in Boots. I had already used the print module in Lightroom to add enough blank space around the prints to make the 5:4 ratio pictures fit on 3:2 paper. The individual prints were connected using masking tape after they had been trimmed down to give an even amount of white around the picture. For the book dummy I have produced and submitted, this works fine I think.
    I have wondered how I could go about getting long strips made with some provision for folding them into concertinas and have come to the conclusion that you’d need to some sort of mass edition with five copies being made on one large sheet of paper. This would therefore presumably have to be inkjet printing (or else unaffordable) changing everything about the way it all would look. If I do go for applying the same process to another two or three streets and putting on a show at the next Walthamstow Art Trail, I may follow this up and, at the same, time get larger prints (á la the Steffi Klenz original) made for the actual display.
  • Techniques: I have gone into great detail earlier about how the pictures were made and processed. I think I have felt in control of the process and am happy with everything apart from my inability to get it right sooner while taking fewer pictures. I am still overshooting dreadfully and need to curb this as the resulting overhead in editing terms is one of the main reasons why my progress through this course has been slower than I would have liked. I realise I should include a contact sheet of the final pictures, before any post production had occurred. I will do as part of my response to my tutor’s notes on the assignment.
  • Observational Skills: I have been aware of the bombsites that punctuate large sections of Walthamstow for a long time, and I continue to spot new ones. I am – I think – capable of seeing starting points for further investigation in the world around me.
  • Visual Awareness: I find it hard to separate this from the previous heading. Possibly this is because this was a piece of work which was planned rather than pulled together on the fly with me reacting to input from my senses.
  • Design and Compositional Skills: As stated in the previous post, I think the pictures work both as individual photographs and together in sequence.

Quality of Outcome

  • Content: I think the subject matter is suited to the i; the treatment may not work in terms of a magazine photo-story, but as a narrative it holds together.
  • Application of Knowledge: I believe that I have applied many of the things the course has been concentrating on  – composition and awareness of light in particular – in this piece of work. There is nothing that sticks out as shoddy or ill-judged.
  • Presentation of Work in a Coherent Manner: As well as the finished narrative, I hope the narrative of how I got there that is found in the posts on this blog makes sense and leads the reader through the development of my submission from the original idea to the finished “book”.
  • Discernment: I don’t think that what I am doing in this assignment is “obvious” to all as a subject. In this sense, I think I am displaying “discernment” while at the same time not really feeling comfortable with it as an ascribable quality.
  • Conceptualisation of Thoughts & Communication of Ideas: comments left on the published posts here on my blog and also feedback I’ve received from people who have looked at my pictures both as work in progress and as a finished narrative suggest that I’m doing alright at this. People have definitely “got” what I’m trying to do in this assignment and have been interested enough to spend time thinking and talking to me about it. At some level at least, what I am doing is managing to communicate with others.

Demonstration of Creativity

  • Imagination: In this assignment, I have taken something that is there and made something from it, rather than plucking something from nothing or putting together disparate elements to create some new synthesis.
  • Experimentation: I have however pared back the elements that make up a narrative, leaving I think something fairly minimal that still tells a story (or two).
  • Invention: Physically, I have made a concertina/book which – while not original –  does show an ability to combine things into something new.
  • Development of a Personal Voice: This is where I think this course has truly paid off. Before the course, I think that while I was comfortable taking pictures on trips to new places either abroad in the UK, I was less able to come up with things that make up my basic surroundings. I have many pictures from Moldova or Kiev or Brazil; my pictures of London (where I have now lived for nearly 17 years) or of Glasgow (a total of nearly 13 years) have never really felt comfortable somehow, particularly in contrast with pictures I have taken in Orkney (20 years; see Assignment 2). Now I think I am finding ways to photograph and present things that are familiar to my; things that make up my day-to-day surroundings. Now I feel that I am beginning to make visual sense of London in a way that I always have been able to when I’m in Orkney.


  • Reflection: I think I have managed to combine viewing exhibitions, reading and the coursework to date into a coherent body of work. I think I have managed to document that process here, on this blog.
  • Research: I am pleased with the way I have taken something I have noticed (a possible bombsite) and fleshed it out into something with a when and a how and a what attached to it. I find it slightly worrying that until the point when I found the Borough Council record of the bombing, that it had never crossed my mind to think of people being killed. I think I had somehow placed everyone neatly in shelters, safely away from the destroyed houses…
  • Critical thinking (learning log): I think I have been able to think critically about both my work and others’ throughout the course. During parts 3 and 4 however I found great difficulty in turning this thinking into critical writing (or indeed into writing of any sort). During part 5, I think I have done better, producing nearly nine thousand words (over 10,000 when you take this into the equation) of quite decent writing, backed up with good pictures from the exercises. I think a good part of my problem here is in striking a balance between keeping a record of personal thoughts and of at the same time creating a published document. There are many posts stuck at draft stage. I will attempt to take as many of them as possible into a state where I am happy to make them public, before this blog must be submitted in September, while at the same time not letting this tendency to revise and fret over posting get in the way of the next course, Context and Meaning

Throughout The Art of Photography I have found these personal reviews consistently difficult to do. iI think I can analyse what I’m doing and how well I do it; putting it into words is somehow much harder. Hopefully, I will get better at it as course follows course…