Provisional Assessment Results

The provisional assessment results were released on Friday and I was literally over the moon with my grade (73%). After being in a frenzy with the new digital assessment criteria, I had pretty much resigned myself to an attitude of “que sera, sera“.  My highest score was for Context [Reflection, research (evidenced in learning logs). Critical thinking (evidenced in critical review)] so that bodes well for L3.

The overall comments and feed forward remarks were extremely positive, mentioning that my work is well researched and well reflected upon. I was encouraged to continue with student hangouts and online discussions with other students as this will be invaluable at L3. My personal voice is clear in my written work. My ideas and research are clearly articulated. My focus going forward is now to develop the visual representation of my ideas and the use of the images with other materials.

I’d like to thank my tutor, Andrea Norrington, for all her guidance that she has given me throughout this module.

For anyone who would like to follow my Level 3 journey, you can follow me at: https://lyndakuitphotographylevel3.wordpress.com/.

Note to the Assessors

Dear Assessors,

Thank you for taking the time to evaluate my work.

My learning log is online and can be located at: https://lyndakuitphotographydocumentary.wordpress.com/ . The blog is in descending date order (standard blog format). Each assignment’s section begins with the assignment preparation, followed by the original assignment submission, tutor feedback and my reflections and ends with any revision/rework that I have done as a result of the tutor feedback (each on their respective tabs).

The Research and Reflection tab on the menu at the top of the blog contains my learning log which is categorized under the following tabs: Exhibitions, Research, Personal Reflections and Photographers in descending order (standard blog format). Research relevant to each assignment is mentioned in my assignment write up and is hyperlinked to the relevant posts as well.

My digital submission has been uploaded to my allocated G-drive and includes the following files:

  • Learning Outcomes
  • Creative work uploaded to my allocated G-drive:
    • A1-0-Document.docx (document with links to Assignment 1 & thumbnails of images)
      • A1-Figure-01.jpg (image)
      • A1-Figure-02.jpg (image)
      • A1-Figure-03.jpg (image)
      • A1-Figure-07.jpg (image)
      • A1-Figure-10.jpg (image)
    • A2-0-Document.docx (document with links to Assignment 2 & thumbnails of images)
      • A2-1-Figure-1.jpg (image)
      • A2-2-Figure-3.jpg (image)
      • A2-3-Figure-2.jpg (image)
      • A2-4-Figure-5.jpg (image)
      • A2-5-Figure-8.jpg (image)
    • A3-0-Document.docx (document with links to Assignment 3 and Blurb book. Also contains details of backup links and instructions for backup PDF version of book)
      • A3-Backup-BookCover.pdf (Backup version of book cover if Blurb link doesn’t work) (image)
      • A3-Backup-BookPages.pdf (Backup version of book pages if Blurb link doesn’t work) (images)
    • A5-0-Document.docx (document with links to Assignment 5 and Vimeo video. Also contains details of backup links and mp4 backup video)
      • A5-ReturningToCoyote.mp4 (Backup for video if Vimeo link doesn’t work) (video)
  • Assignment 4 – Critical Review Essay: Have Photographic Ethics Changed Since the Depression Era and the Present?A Comparison of a Selection of the Ethical Issues in Migrant Mother and The Afghan Girl.
  • Course Reflection and Evaluation
  • All six (6) tutor reports have also been uploaded to my assigned Google Drive and are located under Tutor Reports, clearly named in the following format [Lynda_Kuit_512863_Feedback_Assignment_No_ Documentary.pdf].

Thank you.

Learning Outcomes

LO1 demonstrate detailed knowledge of visual and conceptual strategies in documentary practice and be able to explore your own critical documentary photographic projects.

Perhaps a turning point in my approach to my documentary practice came about when reading Joan Fontcuberta’s essay in Pedro Meyer’s book (1995) Truths & Fictions | a journey from documentary to digital photography and working through that terribly long Seeing is Believing OCA blog post (https://lyndakuitphotographydocumentary.wordpress.com/2019/11/27/exercise-seeing-is-believing-2/). I had been struggling with the concept of using fiction to construct the truth vs recording the actual event and although I think I still encounter some speedbumps along this line of thinking, Fontcuberta’s questioning has been key to helping me understand this dichotomy: “what matters in a document – the intention that originated it or the effect it elicits? What is important – its aesthetic status as evidence or the social function that is assigned to it? (Meyer, 1995:8).

In retrospect those questions freed my thinking and allowed me to experiment conceptually with Assignment 3 and later Assignment 5. I believe that in both pieces of work I am leaning more towards the effect the work elicits and the social function I want it to address.

Studying the work of Jack Latham (https://lyndakuitphotographydocumentary.wordpress.com/2020/03/10/jack-latham/) has also been key to my development as an artist. The concept of using archival images alongside new images was new to me and the power dynamic and authority that this combination can create interested me greatly. The range of media that Latham used when exhibiting his work at the Royal Photographic Society also triggered ideas for the presentation of my Assignment 5. The idea of decontextualizing, then recontextualizing something and adding a personal voice to it was a huge factor in making Assignment 5.

 

LO2 demonstrate an awareness of the wider social and cultural contexts in which documentary photography operates and be able to discuss relevant ethical perspectives in relation to your own practice.

 

LO3 explore and realise a range of ideas and creative starting points, and exercise judgement in the production of visual material.

 

LO4 manage learning resources, conduct self-directed contextual and visual research, and be able to appraise your progress with increasing confidence.

 

LO5 demonstrate increasing autonomy and a developing personal voice and exercise your communication skills confidently and interact effectively within a learning group.

I’m finding an overlap in reporting on the learning outcomes especially LO2, LO3 and to a certain extent LO5. While my Assignments 1 and 2 seem to play a relatively subservient role in this reporting process, those assignments were probably instrumental in leading me along the path I followed. Documenting community and then a specific place in that locality sparked the need to investigate the history and latent histories of that same community, which are reflected in Assignments 3 and 5.

I am also reminded of a statement that Jack Latham made during his recent BJP Zoom interview in that photography is not a solitary occupation. It is a collaboration. One is reliant on one’s subjects, tutors (in the case of OCA students) and fellow peers for feedback and I find this to be so true, especially in the case of my peers. I would not be at the place in my photographic journey where I am today without the input from my fellow students.

Course Reflection and Evaluation

I think that this course was a natural segue from my previous module, Landscape, as this was borne out by my previous tutor who felt that my Landscape work had a documentary flavour to it. I enjoyed learning about the history associated with documentary work and the way the documentary impulse has evolved over the years. This module is heavily research-orientated and I think this has helped prepare me for the next level as I enjoyed the ability to delve deeply into certain subjects.

Certain aspects of the documentary module had an overlap with parts of Context and Narrative and I found it interesting to look back to see if any of my views on objectivity in photography had changed and found that during C&N I had taken the view that press photos were made as objectively as possible by photographers, the point of view taken, though, was subjective – a view very much on the fence. Now I believe that one’s background, culture and knowledge all play a role in how we frame an image, or read it. I enjoyed exploring my local farmers market for assignment 1 and my regular interaction with these people revealed many interesting stories. This has taught me the importance of returning to a scene and building relationships with the local people.

I was a little disappointed that my assignment 2 did not translate well into Black & White, but my tutor had cautioned me not to use Black & White just for the sake of it if the images didn’t work in that medium. I enjoyed the research around social change and the section on the FSA triggered the topic for my assignment 4. I found the duplication of surrealism under part two and three repetitive as one does research both colour and B&W media when researching surrealism. Looking back I can see that my assignment 2 is probably a continuation and a different aspect of work that I had made in two previous modules.

I enjoyed revisiting the subject of the tourist gaze which I had discovered during the Landscape module, and which I am tentatively planning to revisit during L3. My A3 was probably triggered by an idea that started to percolate during the Landscape module, namely an exploration of the latent history of the First Nations people in the area in which I live. I had always regarded documentary work as “factual”, but now found myself creating fictional documents for my A3. I blended colonial history with that of the First Nations. This type of work was so out of my comfort zone, having to relearn aspects of PhotoShop that I last used in 2000.

I found a tremendous amount of research material for assignment 4 and once I gained a little momentum in sorting out the relevant texts to use, I really enjoyed the research, and was quite disappointed when I had to draw a line under it. I found that the critical thinking MOOC I had done while on the Landscape module really helped to direct my thought processes and structure my essay. So I feel, if I follow my methodology for L3, I should be in a good place for CS. I enjoyed the section on ethics and post-colonial ethnography some of which tied into my assignments 4 and 5.

Undoubtedly though the biggest hurdle during this module was the appearance of Covid-19 which drastically altered my plans for A5. Notwithstanding the restrictions imposed by government, it was the assignment that I enjoyed the most. The research was intense, very emotional and compelling. It is also the assignment with the most variation regarding the type of media or material that I incorporated and I found this quite liberating and very fulfilling.

The fact that documentary can be fictional and creative as opposed to straight is probably one of the more important aspects that I’ve taken on board during this module. I have learned new technical skills while on this course: new PhotoShop techniques, and how to process B&W images, although I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve only just scratched the surface here. I learned how to create a multi-media slideshow using sound, video clips and still images.  All of these skills will be able to be carried forward into the next level.

I have been very active on the Documentary and Rest of the World hangouts, learning a lot from my fellow students. We each bring unique perspectives to our meetings and I find these sessions invaluable. The tutor led sessions led by Andrea Norrington have served to cement my interaction with my blog and make me appreciate the art of self-reflection (previously a rather nebulous conception). During this Covid time, I have been engaging in plenty of online lectures and workshops and I am finding these sessions are generating many ideas and providing nuggets of valuable information that I can utilise going forward in the next module.

Having acclimatised myself to living a rural community now I have constantly found myself trying to learn more about this area where I am living, especially its history and I think this is reflected in my work in this module. I feel very strongly that this is the direction in which my practice is developing – that of forgotten history and the landscape.