As the assignment progressed, I began to see that simpler and cleaner compositions worked best. The one below is probably my personal favourite - and that is partly down to its simplicity. Stezaker's collage work usually involves the juxtaposition of no more than two photographs - but it still leaves plenty of scope for 'reading' - and, whilst I wouldn't compare the image below to the quality of what he has produced, it does share the simplicity and it does still have plenty to say.
Interestingly, Jesse selected the one below as his favourite of the set. In some ways, it is quite a busy and complex image, with lots of elements. But the difference, I suspect, is in its 'cleanness'. There is a lot of white space; the composition is more careful and structured; and it has more of an abstract look. This one - although very different in subject matter and content - is closer, in a formal sense, to the recent Laura Letinsky work that partly inspired me. That too combines lots of clean white space with intense patches of colour.
Feedback on my prints is also encouraging. The "... quality is good ..." with the inkjet "... providing ... crisp resolution and vivid colour ...". That's pleasing; I wanted to get a crispness into them. My idea is that a casual viewer should be drawn by the visual attractiveness but also, initially, slightly unsure as to whether they are 'real' physical collages rather than photographs. He has a very good suggestion to make - that they should be printed to the edge of the paper, with no borders. I have already re-done them in that way - and it works well. We are, of course, encouraged to leave small borders on prints for assessment submission, to aid handling. But these images are different, with plenty of 'white' space around them that can easily be handled. I hadn't really managed to work it out for myself - perhaps because I was locked into the need for border - but the multiple frame effect that results from there being white bordered images within the frame of the overall composition resulted in some unnecessary confusion for the eye. Printed large with no borders, they look much better.
The other suggestions on prints are - that I should at least experiment with lab printing, and that having them dry mounted on card would be good for assessment submission. Again - agreed on both counts; unless the print feedback had been 'these are amazingly good, don't bother any further', I had all along felt that I should try the professional print approach. And the dry mounting certainly makes good sense. So - one image has gone off to Peak Imaging to be printed at around A2 size and card-mounted. I've chosen one that has some very subtle shades of off-white in the background and some vivid colour as well, so it should be a good opportunity to make a comparison. I don't mind the cost of going down the professional approach and I like the idea of a further 'push' in size, but I don't want to lose the crispness I referred to above.
There was an issues with the background of one image. One of the early ones, it had been assembled on ivory card rather than the white paper I used for all the others. It is this one.
I don't mind the ivory, but I did mention its difference in my notes, and Jesse comments on it too. So, I have used a combination of Photoshop and Lightroom adjustments to get it to look as follows. I needed to retain contrast in the background, though, partly to keep the shadow effect and also because there are faint (and deliberate) traces of the tape that fixed some of the images to the board, which would have been lost had I brightened it too much.
Another small factor that arose from printing to the edge of the paper was the realisation that I had used two slightly different size ratios. I've now amended those so that all six match - particularly important if I do get them all professionally printed and mounted.
And finally, I've arranged to have a telephone tutorial next week, to discuss my assessment submission and to also discuss my move on to Level Three.