Thursday, 30 May 2013

Assignment Four - Feedback & Reflection

"This is an excellent piece of work ..." is the opening statement - STOP THERE!!!  Then he says that, in making some suggestions, "I do so with trepidation ..." WHAT!?!?  Just joking, I hope!  Actually, as always, there are plenty of helpful and valid comments.
·      He has cleared up a few queries around the Referencing System, which I have taken on board and changed.

·      He suggested that I might have been a bit too 'enthusiastic', at times, in my statements.  Fair comment - I was trying to avoid the academic-style prevarication (at which I'm perfectly capable of excelling) - but I've toned it down, here and there.

·      Then he has a number of suggestions for additional lines of thought, which are all valid and interesting but , as I think he is suggesting, would either be part of a longer piece or an alternative angle in a different essay (or just something else to follow-up on, of course).

·      I'm slightly surprised by a suggestion that the essay should have a line or two relating the subject matter to my own current practice.  That doesn't feel right, in an academic essay - but perhaps I'm wrong.  It seems more appropriate that such reflection would appear in this blog - which started in the last post and will probably continue.

·      And finally, my Learning Log is also 'excellent' but is "... a bit light on actual photographs of your own ...".  I agree with that entirely.  I haven't done anything 'serious' or 'deliberate' since February, when I did a little experimentation with still life in a contemporary style - here.  That's bad news; a photography student who is not producing photographs!  But, as I hinted in the last post, I am in one of those places that seem to blight the creative process.  I have been distracted by researching this essay; partially focused on other things - work/family/upgrading my PC.  But, most of all, I have hit something of a mire, in terms of what I could do, should do, want to do ... etc.

I do relate closely to the areas I discuss in the critical review essay.  Still life and studio work, as a way of exploring my own photographic practice and experimenting with possibilities, does appeal.  But another side of me is wary of going that way and ending up in some frustrating spiral of introversion that leads nowhere, and that no one else 'gets'.  And, it bears no relation to the brief for Assignment Five, so gets me no further in the course context.  That all needs more reflection and discussion with my tutor.

Then, on a lighter note, and to begin to correct for the lack of photographs in my Learning Log, here is one I took at the weekend.

It's in a quiet corner of the gardens at National Trust property, 'Croome', in Herefordshire, which I visited last Saturday, but it could have been anywhere.  I felt that I should have been an Impressionist painter, with hours to spend with my easel, capturing the mood of the light and the colours of the Forget-me-nots.  Even better, I might have sat and reflected, in the warm sun, on the joys and troubles of life. Instead, I paused for five or ten minutes, waiting for the sun to come and go before dashing on to catch up with the rest of the party.  Such is modern life!

[Then, just a few moments before sitting down to type this piece, I read a piece on the sports pages of The Times, by their Chief Cricket Writer, and former England Captain, Michael Atherton.  He is writing words of encouragement to current England opening batsman, Nick Compton, who is struggling for runs, who played an excruciatingly troubles innings in the recent Test Match against New Zealand, and who is in danger of being 'dropped' for this summer's high-profile series of Ashes Tests against Australia.  Poor Nick has had a bad attack of the 'angst'.  Atherton's solution (which he fully acknowledges is no easy thing to achieve, and freely admits he can't explain how to go about) is to rediscover the joy of the game; to find again what was like to be a schoolboy cricketer, hitting the ball with freedom and delight.  There's a message in there for me - and others who get in the creative doldrums.]


  1. Congratulations on your feedback. I hope you pass through those doldrums soon.

    On the essay - there was a discussion on the Flickr site a while ago about this. I made the same point as you but Clive reminded us that these are not purely academic essays - after all we're not on history of art courses - but are intended to help us put our own work in context. I was a bit resistant at first but on reflection do see his point, and will attempt to build some reflection on my own work into my next essay.

  2. Yes, similar feedback from my tutor; in the arts, we're allowed to write in the first person! Or perhaps I should say I'm allowed to write in the first person! :-)