Assignment 6: Summary of discussions on responses to tutor feedback and work prepared for assessment
These discussions with my tutor took the form of a 1 hour phone call with
both of us having access to my blog, and to my written responses to my tutor’s
This work will be presented as initially produced, as a series of postcards,
and without modification. It should be noted that the tutor report was provided
by a tutor who has since left the OCA.
The majority of the tutor suggestions have been incorporated, including
modification to the introductory text. There was some discussion around the use
of the final moonset – which could be considered something of a cliché. The
suggestion was made, and accepted that the large poster memorial would make a
more fitting end to the piece, and that another image to link the “fossils” to
the community should be sought. At present I’m contemplating a fossil something
with a visual link to the tools being held by the people in the relief – this
would seem to work:
I was also encouraged to consider an additional couple of images to develop
the community section in some way. This may require some additional photography
prior to assessment.
We discussed the final presentation – currently proposed to be a Blurb book.
My tutor suggested adapting the form of the book to suit the nature of the story
created by the images and the text – perhaps presenting it as a kind of travel
journal, hand bound in some way on a relatively simple substrate – perhaps
inkjet prints on matt paper of some description – even relatively small (A5) to
give the idea of a live journal created in situ. This is an interesting
proposition which I will be following up – I can already think of some simple
additional adornments – such as handwriting the text as contemporaneous notes,
and perhaps including a few notes of location or scale which would stay true to
the original idea of allowing factual information to create a fiction.
I am addressing the comments provided in the tutor notes. Advice was not to
expend too much effort as the basic essay was sound, even though my tutor did
not necessarily agree with my proposed model!! Subject to words space there is
some merit in exploring the idea that there are no truly incidental objects in a
photo because we cannot guarantee how a viewer will react.
This is the real challenge. We discussed my difficulties with documentary and
subjectivity, and the difference between photo-journalism which carries an
expectation of truth, and documentary which can be a more artistic or analytical
response to information or situations.
Suggested reading: On being a photographer: Hurn/Jay
There is a difference between a photo-story, which has a linear narrative,
and a photo essay which admits complexity, reflection and non-linearity – it
does not have to tell a story. Curation can be a similar process, giving a
personal response to a set of objects. Reference the Curators Room at Tullie
In a nutshell I allowed my general dislike of the photo-story and of social
documentary to colour my approach to the course. It may be a late realisation
but we are where we are and in my earlier assignments my interests were the
Unfortunately in an attempt to provide a critique of documentary practice as
Assignment 5 I basically lost sight of and stopped being honest about the things
that interest me, which in this context is curation, archaeology and using my
photography to look for meaningful (to me) patterns in the world.
The outcome was an over complex idea, which basically made an obvious point –
that all curation is subjective - in a rather overblown way (OK! I said
“pretentious” and that’s what I meant).
In my tutor’s words: “If a work lacks the element of truth it’s usually
Tutor comment: I think I meant something more like – If you are inauthentic about the
true reasons or motivations behind a piece of your work, then this will be
apparent to the viewer.
We then discussed alternative presentations and I am going to re-visit some
photobooks in the light of these discussions and consider how I might present my
beach rubbish images in a more positive way – starting perhaps with Moriyama’s
Provoke era presentations.
This was a rather revealing hour and I’m grateful to my tutor for the time he
spent helping me with this. I just wish I’d done this at the beginning rather
than struggling for two years.