Weekly Check In – 4 June 2020

This will most likely be my final weekly check in for the Documentary module as everything gets finalised for assessment.

Monday: I completed my write up on the ROW hangout 31 May. I also spent some time preparing blog posts for L3 – my mind maps for my proposed BOW and a few artist talks.

I logged into the OCA new VLE Learn platform today only to discover that the only course I’m signed up for is the OCA Big Draw and none of my regular OCA courses. I have notified tech support on that.

Tuesday: Today I took part in the Virtual Study Event featuring Susan Bright: Collaboration and Creative Practice. The study event was a continuation really of her lecture which I reported on last week. She went into a little more depths about her academic background and how she came to be interested in curatorship. Again she stressed the importance of the artist/curator relationship – the curator being that of a sounding board for the artist, but also needing to realise that at some point one needs to fly the nest and work independently of each other, otherwise the relationship tends to stagnate. She passed along a few do’s and don’t’s on how to go about contacting a curator: preferably in person, have the work ready in a coherent format, don’t get defensive when constructive criticism is offered – everyone has a different opinion and one can only learn from these, contact people who you think will be interested in your work. Speaking about her Home Truths exhibition she went into some detail explaining the subtle nuances of why she displayed the various artists work as she did. Brotherus’s work was displayed on a shelf that ran down the one side of the room – very much similar to photographs on a mantlepiece, as she wanted to create that homey feel to that work. The other artist whose work was displayed opposite to Brotherus had her work hung at a slightly lower level than normal so that viewers would have to bend their bodies a little to view it properly (unfortunately I didn’t catch the name of this artist). All very subtle ways to engage the viewers – but without them realising it – which is key. Some advice for students who are self-curating: be aware of the details – framing or not – why? Bright advises to always make a maquette to scale, using graph paper. Think of the flow – it is always nice to be greeted by a face – have something welcoming and accessible at the beginning of the exhibition. Text is tricky. It is not always needed, but she finds that it does act as a hook in informing the viewer where to start and know what they are walking into. When visiting other exhibitions, take notes of what you like/didn’t like, lighting etc. Some of the questions that came up in the Q&A was about the need to censor work (she doesn’t, but some of the organisations that she works for do have a need); how does the approach to curating books differ from exhibitions – differ greatly – sometimes she just feels she needs to write something, rather than exhibit it and then it becomes a book. The question of ageism also came up – something that infuriates her as many mature students work is definitely more interesting than the youngsters because of their life experience (good to know!)

I received my link to upload my portfolio images, tutor reports and statement of intent to a Gdrive folder in preparation for my interview to move to L3 with the programme leader today, so I took care of that as well.

I received my copy of Tomas van Houtryve’s Lines + Lineage book today as well as a very meaty text of Secwépemc People, Land, and Laws: Yerí7 re Stsq’ey’s-kucw (over 500 pages) which will be very handy in L3 if I go down the route of investigating First Nations history. The information is very localised, specific for this area in which I live and deals with topics like oral history, laws, territories, archeology, language, trade, sense of place, politics, church and Indian rights movement.

Thursday: Attended a Documentary Hangout – good to catch up with everyone again and see their work. Probably my last documentary hangout that I write up for this blog as I wrap up my blog postings for assessment.

Documentary Hangout – 4 June 2020

We had another great hangout today. Attending was Michele (for a short while), Faith, Bob, Neil, Niki, Jack, Steven and myself.

We started off looking at Bob’s work. He had uploaded a few fun photos just for laughs to provide some comic relief from Covid lockdown, which we all enjoyed. Then we looked at his draft book for A3. His cat had recently died and he has put together a very poignant homage to the cat using a poem by James Donovan as text for the images. The group thought though that the positioning of the poem’s name and author created a little confusion and a separate page noting the poet might be more helpful. The text in the final image is on the photo itself, unlike the rest of the images which are outside the images and Faith was having a problem reading that text. It was suggested that the text be changed to white and repositioned to the bottom of the image, or the image shrunk slightly and the text moved off the image.

Jack gave some feedback on his A4 as well as some more interesting backstory to the image. We also had quite a bit of a discussion around fact and fiction in documentary photography, which tied in with Steven’s essay. We had given him some written feedback via email. Niki has come up with an interesting idea for A2 – about economic scarring and she discussed some concepts she was considering. We provided some feedback and further ideas so it will be interesting to see how she develops this concept.

I have found this group to be very inspiring to work with and it has been absolutely great to work with them. Like Michele from L3 and probably Sue (recently L3) I will most likely pop in to these hangouts while working on L3.

The next hangout has been scheduled for 18 June 2020

Rest of the World Hangout – 31 May 2020

Another great hangout today, attended by Michele (NZ), Roger (Chile) Alan and myself from Canada. Mark was off shooting to complete an assignment now that lockdown restrictions have been lifted in New Zealand.

We spent some time giving feedback on the various online talks we had attended. I had attended a couple from the Auckland Photography Festival, and gave some feedback on Judith Crispin’s work. Judith is an Australian photographer, whose work revolves around identity, but she makes use of lumen prints in the most amazing fashion. I’m planning on doing a write up on her work and will probably post that to my L3 blog once I get permission to get that up and running. Another photographer talk I attended was Jeanne Taris, a French photographer who past work has revolved around the Roma in France and Spain. It would be good to compare her work with that of Koudelka and Eskildsen, especially from a female’s gaze. (I’m not going to do that now as I don’t want to make work for myself while I’m trying to wrap up this module, but I may carry that over to L3). I also gave some feedback on another VII Photo Agency talk by Daniel Schwartz which I wrote about here.

Roger shared his tutor’s advice of creating ongoing reflective logs and Michele and I both shared our experience of doing this as well. Alan thought that this was something he should be implementing in L2 now. We also looked at Roger’s work on bank notes. He had painted copies of various foreign bank notes which he and his father had collected, relating the back story of this and the reason for painting on the Financial Times newspaper as the background (his father was in banking). He had painted the Financial Times a goldenrod yellow tone and wasn’t sure if the yellow worked. Alan reminded him that it rather resembled the colour of gold, and gold was the backing of world currencies so that could be the reason for using that colour. It was quite interesting learning about the properties of different paper and how they react to water and paint. Roger also mentioned that the Royal Academy’s Festival of Ideas has a few podcasts on history, so I’ll be sure to check that out. One specific podcast he mentioned is Clio Barnard.

Michele also shared her impressions of VII’s Ashley Gilbertson’s Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot talk. A sad case of a photographer’s fame going to his head and tragic results because of that quest for the “ultimate” shot.

Next hangout is set for 14 June, 2020.

Weekly Check In – 30 May 2020

I’m slowly getting to grips with extracting posts to showcase the various learning outcomes., but I’m confused by the level of (my) perceived overlap of the learning outcomes because I seem to be referencing the same logs over and over again.

I took a break from this and watched the MACK Live: Vanessa Winship Bookshelf Tour. Well its not really just her bookshelf but also her husband George Giorgio’s too. He was behind the camera doing the video. So a good list of books, some of which sound quite interesting: Walker Evans, Duane Michels – Real Dreams. She read an interesting quote by Michels from this book “I am a reflection photographing other reflections with a reflection. To photograph reality is to photograph nothing” (MACK LIVE: Vanessa Winship Bookshelf Tour, 2020). Very profound! Another artist who had an interest in using text and images is Victor Burgin.

Other artists/books mentioned were: Jo Spence (feminist theory); Cristina Garcia Rodero – Espana Oculta – a document of the religious ceremonies in Spain; Paul Fusco – the RFK Funeral Train; David Goldblatt – TJ; August Sander; Richard Powers (writer); Stefania Gurdowa – Negatives to be stored – portrait studio photographer who used glass plates, but only used half a plate for her clients, so the juxtapositioning was with a stranger on the same plate. Melissa Cantanese – Voyagers – also archives; Stefane Duroy – Distress/Berlin/Unknown; Jem Southam; Mark Ruwedel – Westward the Course of Empire; Bryan Schutmaat – Grays the Mountain Fends and Good God Damn; Paul Gaffney – We make the path by walking; Robert Adams – Summer Nights Walking; Charlotte Tanguy. Bookmakers: Raymond Meeks – Erasure – handmade books; Stephen Gill – self publishes – Hackney Flowers, The Pillar, Night Procession; Josh Lustig & Samuel Wright – The Marshes; George Giorgio – Americans Parade; Michael Ashkin – were it not for and finally Aaron Schumann – Slant.

This perceived overlap on the learning outcomes is doing my head in and I’m waiting for clarification on something I asked on the discussion forum, so I’m stepping away for a day.

I took part in an Auckland Festival of Photography zoom artist talk this afternoon. The talk was about Magnum photographer, Werner Bischof. It was a little disappointing because his son, who was presenting, didn’t show any of the work that he was talking about. So just a history lesson about Werner Bischof really. Hopefully the rest of the Auckland Festival’s artists talks will not be like this.

Stepping away from the learning outcomes for a day has definitely helped. I’m planning on presenting a list of links to back up the learning outcomes, but have added a bit of commentary on a couple of the entries. Not sure if I should add a commentary on all the LO’s as it might be a bit overkill or repetitive … jury is still out on that one. Need to have a bit of a think on that.

I’ve signed up for Susan Bright‘s virtual study event on 2 June, so thought I should watch her lecture ahead of time to provide some context. Her lecture is about collaboration and creative practice and for the second time this week I was reminded that photography is not a solo activity. One is reliant upon other photographers, family, curators, editors and so on for feedback, even one’s subjects. Susan mentioned that she regards herself as a feminist curator and will always try and reflect feminine values throughout her work, also trying to select women’s work first if the occasion arises. She gave a brief background of some of her curatorial work, especially the collaborations with Elina Brotherus. She mentioned that collaboration in documentary work was particularly interesting as it came down to the question of who has the voice, who has the empowerment. Some of her early work can be seen in the books Art Photography Now and Auto Focus. She mentioned that unlike other curators, she does not work with a collection, but has in the case of Elina Brotherus’s Anunciation taken on the traditional role of a curator as “keeper”. But that is not only a curator’s job. A curator is also a person who acts as a sounding board for other artists. Some of the other artists she mentioned were Claire Strand, Sharon Core, Laura Letinsky, Délio Jasse (I particularly found Jasse’s Nova Lisboa quite interesting as it deals with history, palimpsests, identity and colonialism, so I’m going to bookmark that for a more in-depth look during L3) and Patrick Pound who really collects photographs and other ephemera. He has a very dynamic way of thinking about how he connects his work.

I was planning on getting up early to watch another VII Photo Agency Book Club talk by Daniel Schwartz, but quite glad I didn’t, as when I went to watch the recorded version, there were all kinds of technical hitches and the show only got on the road after about 10 minutes or so and some expletives from Schwartz later. Schwartz was talking about two of his books While the Fires Burn: A Glacier Odyssey and Tales from a Globalizing World. He started off with Tales which started in 1998 from a concept which he read out to the viewers which quite remarkably could easily apply to our times today, dealing with all the interconnectivity that is so prevalent in society.  He approached a number of photographers who he invited to collaborate on the project. Akinbode Akinbiyi looked at religion in Brazil and Nigeria, and their mutual influence, laws, migrants and cultural identities; Thomas Kern examining American identity post-9/11; Ziyad Gafic looked at the aftermath of war in a Bosnian community and the diaspora; Shehzad Noorani examined tourism, migration, and the effect of regional poverty on the lives of children in India and Nepal; Cristina Nunez focused on Italy and the transnational elite, workers in the sweatshops of Milan, and street traders in the world of fashion (which of course has quite a prophetic tone in light of the Corona virus pandemic situation); Bertien van Manen photographed the souvenirs of immigrants living on the fringes of Paris. Other photographers who took part in the project were: Tim Hetherington, Stephan Vanfleteren and Phillip Jones Griffiths. When asked why he produced a book, Schwartz answered that a book is a trace, a memory. Its a container for our memories and we often feel the need to leave something behind. While the Fires Burn, was partly politically motivated. Schwartz travelled to Peru, Switzerland, Uganda and Pakistan to photograph the disappearing glaciers. He has an interesting analogy: like a book a glacier is also a container of memory. A glacier contains all sorts of objects. While exploring some of the glaciers near Mt Everest, they came across German objects dating back to 1938, many of which had the swatstika  emblem. Other objects were things like parts of a spine, ropes, clothing, all of which had been buried in the glacier and were now exposed due to the glacial melt. The glacier is a type of archive. When it melts we loose the archive. Not only archival objects found, but also climate information as well as historical information about the planet. Interesting fact – glacial reaction time only translates over a long period of time. What we are seeing happening to the glaciers now is their reaction to climate changes that occurred in the 70s/80s.

Today I got so focused on finalising my assessment that I completely missed two Zoom artists talks that were being presented via the Auckland Photography Festival, which I can absolutely kick myself for, because they were the two talks that I really wanted to see – the one being about the female eye and the other about female identity. But the good news is that I’ve now completed my assessment package and have uploaded everything to the G-drive. Now that that is out of the way, I can now probably clear my desk of the piles of books and notes that are liberally strewn all over the place, so I can get ready for L3.


To Do List
  • Rest of World Hangout – 31 May, 2020

MACK LIVE: Vanessa Winship Bookshelf Tour (2020) Directed by MACK Live. At: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=27&v=kxW_yZQXCms&feature=emb_logo (Accessed  23/05/2020).

Open College of the Arts (2020) Virtual study event: Susan Bright | Collaboration & Creative Practice | The Open College of the Arts. At: https://www.oca.ac.uk/weareoca/photography/virtual-study-event-susan-bright-collaboration-creative-practice/ (Accessed  28/05/2020).

VII Interactive Book Club (2020) VII Interactive Book Club. ‘While the Fires Burn. A Glacier Odyssey’ and ‘Tales from a Globalizing World’ by Daniel Schwartz – VII Agency. At: http://viiphoto.com/event/vii-interactive-book-club-while-the-fires-burn-a-glacier-odyssey-and-tales-from-a-globalizing-world-by-daniel-schwartz/ (Accessed  26/05/2020).

[Talking Culture: Marco Bischof (Switzerland)]

I joined another Zoom artist’s talk series, this time from the Auckland Festival of Photography. The speaker was Marco Bischof, son of Magnum photographer, Werner Bischof joining the Zoom session from Switzerland at 3:00 am. Marco was talking about the Unseen exhibition which is on display in Auckland, photographs by his father which have not often been exhibited.

Bischof spent most of the time relating his father’s photographic journey/life story, from documenting Europe post WWII via a bike trip. He was approached to join Magnum and went on to do work in India, photographing the famine there. Those photos were later published in Life magazine. He was quite fascinated with the east, had a deep love of Japanese culture, and was best known for his post-war humanist photography. He was not a war photographer and was more interested in documenting how the effects of war on the civilian population and he did this in Korea. His photography took him on to Hong Kong, Indochina (Vietnam/Laos/Cambodia). In 1953 he went to the US to find new photographic expressions and was introduced to colour. This changed the way he made photographs, introducing movement and out of focus work into his repertoire. He embarked on a road trip across the States and made Bold New Roads which was a document of the new highways in the US. Later he bought a jeep and drove from New York to Mexico, continuing to Panama (where he photographed the canal), on to Chile and then to Peru. In Peru he met up with a geologist from Switzerland who invited him to take photographs of a gold mine high up in the Andes. Sadly Bischof never reached the mine as the car that he and the geologist were traveling in went over a steep abyss, killing all occupants.

His mother took over Bischof’s archive, which was very well organized and ran the Magnum office for a while in Switzerland. She was quite influential in the photography world as well, and had friends like Cornell Capa. Capa went on to found the ICP and Rosalina Bischof founded the Foundation of Photography in Switzerland in the 1970’s.

Bischof took over managing his father’s archive in 1986 when his mother passed away and he is also President of Magnum Paris.

Unfortunately Bischof did not show any of his father’s work during the talk, which would have made the experience a little richer I feel. I’m not sure why he didn’t show the work, but I’ll go and take a deeper look at his work once I’ve got my assessment submission out of the way. I asked during the Q&A if there were any photographers who influenced Bischof’s work, but his son was of the opinion that he was mainly influenced by painters, although that was dependent on the period. He was also influenced a little by the New Objectivity, various documentarians, admired the work of Cartier-Bresson, Ernst Haas, Robert Capa and Eliot Erwitt.



Auckland Festival of Photography (2020) [Talking Culture: Marco Bischof (Switzerland)]. At: https://www.photographyfestival.org.nz/programme/detail.cfm?exhibition_id=2499&exhibition_date=1-jun-2020 (Accessed  26/05/2020).

Weekly Check In – 23 May 2020

Monday – its a statutory holiday here in Canada Day but I decided to join the Level 3 tutorial with Dr Ariadne Xenou. The tutorial was the last in a series on research and covered the following topic: From the synthesis of theory and practice to a methodology that serves both | Ways to limit/extend, control and manage your research. I merely observed and didn’t take part in the discussion.

Tuesday – it was mainly family matters today, but I did manage to get a bit more of a read in of Wells’ Land Matters which will be helpful in L3.

Wednesday – Ian, Jack and I had a short hangout to discuss the assessment criteria. Both Ian and I are putting in for the July assessment, Jack in November and three heads together are better than one. Basically there is still a good level of confusion around this new way of working. No one is really happy that new learning outcomes have been introduced at the end of a course. The learning outcomes presented in the new assessment guidelines differ slightly to those in our course manuals. But it was good to be able to talk through our concerns and see if we had any common understanding of the expectations. One approach was to treat the evaluation as a “sales pitch” and have key messages using PowerPoint slides to show the way to bits of evidence to back up the “sales pitch”.

I have created a video of a photobook page through for A3 – probably not the best video, but considering the pan-tilt model of tripod I have I thought it wasn’t too bad. Note to self – get a better tripod for L3.

I have gone through my blog very quickly looking for links and connections from course work, photographers’ work etc., to assignments and have found quite a few connections. Now the task is to select and/or consolidate this in some or other format. I’m still not clear how to present this for assessment.

Thursday – Documentary hangout – a productive session and interesting exchange of information. Gradually working through the learning outcomes for assessment. I’m finding as I initially surmised, that these learning outcomes are not clear cut, or cut and dry, but that there is an overlap – really not sure how to handle that. Did a summary of Dan Robinson’s pre-assessment Zoom meeting. I think if I read through my notes a few more times and maybe watch the recording over again I may feel a little more enlightened.

Friday – Completed write up for the Documentary hangout. I have created my test print for A2 – size 26 x 38 inches, stuck it to my bedroom wall and photographed that for experiment purposes. I am making very slow progress trying to put my work together for assessment. I’m finding that I’m having to go through each piece of work that I’ve done to see which is a match to a learning outcome and honestly, this is a really painful process. I’ve now decided to see if any of my reflections under the Assessment Criteria that I wrote up for each assignment might cover off the learning outcomes and if so then I am going to use that.

Saturday – probably a final Head On Photo Festival newsletter in my mailbox today. What amazing stats to report! Below is an extract from their newsletter (bold is my emphasis). I sincerely hope that Head On does this again next year. The events that I attended were well worth it and very engaging and I found quite a few artists that might feed into my BOW in the next module.


Please allow us to recap in a few dot points of self-congratulatory jubilation:

  • We delivered the very first photo festival, if not festival, to go entirely online EVER
  • People from all over the world watched as we gave away over $70,000 worth of prizes to our amazing Head On Photo Awards winners
  • We had over 110 photography exhibitions delivered entirely online
  • We delivered 80 artist talks, panel discussions and workshops all free, all online
  • In the lead-up to, and during the festival period, we had over 80,000 visits to our website
  • People from a staggering 147 countries were able to enjoy our festival in this online format
  • We have set the bar into the future for other cultural and artistic agencies and organisations around the world
  • Citizens from all over the world found their tribe and were able to connect and form relationships into the future

(Head On Photo Festival, 2020)

To Do List
  • Figure out new assessment criteria & pull together a portfolio
  • Rest of World Hangout – 31 May, 2020

Head On Photo Festival (2020) People’s choice winner announced. [Email sent to Kuit, L. 21/05/2020]. [21/05/2020].

Documentary Hangout – 21 May 2020

We had another lively, productive hangout today attended by Michele and Sue (both L3), Faith, Neil, Pauline, Jack, Nickie and myself.

We started off by looking at Pauline’s A1 work which she had previously presented to the Thames Valley group, but in a slightly different format, which Sue and Nickie were familiar with. She had created three sets of triptychs of her images (on the left two images arranged in a vertical format and the third image on the right centred midway on the page). She had tried various groupings: by colour, endings, people (or absence of) = shadows/loneliness, health issues. I found the arrangements quite intriguing as the image on the right hand side was very much a signifier that linked back to the two images to the left. She chose a single image as her final image – of discarded rose buds and petals on a concrete tile. The colour was a vibrant red, but some of the petals were tinged with a black hue which lent a rather ominous feel to the image. Out of the four components on the image two were “social distancing” and two weren’t. Serendipitously there were two scuff marks on the concrete tile that connected the “social distancing” elements to each other and to the larger non-distancing flower. Such an interesting image to extract meaning from. We all agreed the image would not be as strong if the roses were another colour. The red brings home the danger of this Covid situation.

We then looked at Neil’s three options that he is trying to work through for A2. One option is very much a Martin Parr, surreal, slightly comic take on Covid seen from strange view points: inside the oven/fridge, from the floor of the bathroom, with Neil wearing a mask in each photo. The next set he was considering was views from windows, through blinds and without. The final set was bird imagery, but with the right captions this would provide a very different take on the whole Covid scenario, showing birds that social distance, leave home and so on. I mentioned to Neil that the assessors might be so tired of seeing the insides of people’s houses for assessment that the bird photography would probably provide a welcome respite.

Sue spent some time telling us of her idea for her BOW around recreating a collective memory/security and safety. She is centering her research around the tunnels used near Portsmouth that were used for shelter during the air raids in WWII. Such an interesting topic and I hope she manages to gain access to those tunnels somehow.

Next hangout will be 4 June 2020.

Dan Robinson’s Pre-assessment Zoom Meeting

I got up at 4:30 am to get ready for Dan’s pre-assessment zoom meeting on 13 May in the hope that I would get some clarification as to the new assessment guidelines that have been brought into place for the July assessment.

Doug started the ball rolling by asking Dan to summarize conceptually how assessment will be done – to give us some idea of what to expect. According to Dan, the main shift is that previously we sent everything (assignment wise) and now the emphasis is on us selecting and providing a narrative through what we are submitting. The tutor assessing has an overview and gets a sense of the breadth of our activity in our work, the different things we have been doing, mistakes made, experiments, tests, risks we’ve taken and things we have learned.

Practically the pre-assessment guidance asks us to select a number of learning log entries, as well as selecting 10-12 pieces of creative work. How to get an overview – select learning log entries that show a sense of development and breath of what we have been looking at. Its up to us to assess our decisions that we make and resolve the finished work when selecting the creative pieces. This will allow assessors to focus and give time, care and attention to the particular pieces we have chosen.

There is also the critical review element and reflective presentation. Evaluation/reflection has been optional previously and the assessors find this useful when looking at the journey the student has taken. There is a certain amount of flexibility in how to present this – can be written/audio or video. Use it as a guide to what you are submitting, what you’ve learnt and guide the assessors through the different elements of what has been submitted.

I asked Dan if we were expected to create a summary of learning logs for assessment, using my own example in that I reflect on work in my weekly check in posts, sometimes on a daily basis, but I also might reflect on another aspect of that same work in an assignment preparation post – hence the question of a summary. Dan’s answer was twofold and that it would be different for each student. If some log is important, key for that project then share what was written on that day (1 version). The other version was that there might be that there is no specific day of key importance, but rather an accumulation of notes in which case one might need to go through and pull bits out and assemble them into a new post. He then stressed that there was no one answer to this.

I then followed up with a question about documenting learning outcomes. Most students do a self-evaluation against assessment criteria at the end of each assignment, so would it be OK to put a link into that posting. Dan replied that if we feel that something is serving what we need, then use the existing reflection or existing mapping. But we should be aware that there has been one change. Previously there was more emphasis on looking at assignments, now there is flexibility in that we can present assignments, but we can also present other parts of our work: exercises, research, tests and development. It is possible that important pieces we’ve made may have happened somewhere else. We can now select from anywhere in our BOW. (This doesn’t really work for Documentary students as with the exception of an exercise of using our own archival images and another doing a little surrealism exercise, the assignments are the only times we actually picked up a camera during the course, so all our creative work does originate from an assignment).

Another student queried whether it wouldn’t be better to take the assessment criteria and show mastery of that as well for better balanced approach. The new rationale is that we now have to use the learning outcomes and use them in organising our work. The learning outcomes are different to the assessment criteria. As long as we use the learning outcomes as the basis – 2-3 learning log entries for each learning outcome, if we want to consider mapping against the assessment criteria then we can do that, but that is not the way we are being guided to do.

The idea is that our tutor will be part of assessment – play a lead role. But our presentation should be such that another assessor can engage with our work and make sense of it.

I asked Dan if we should keep A1, which was historically was not used for assessment, out of our selections. Dan stated that while A1 was not assessed in the past, that is no longer the case. Any work we have done as part of the unit can now be assessed, including A1 and also non-assignment work.

There was a further question by Emma on what constituted a “piece”. There was some confusion around this as work in sequence needs to be viewed as such – would a website portfolio be OK to present such work, or could projects go in as a whole? Dan referred Emma to the answer on the assessment padlet, but advised she could do a bit of both. A “piece” could be a multiple image selection, e.g. a web page containing multiple images or there could be stand alone images.

There was some discussion around what to load to the G-drive and from what I can gather is the advice is that if you are presenting something via a website or the learning log, create a page for the G-drive that contains a link to the work. The work does not have to be self-contained within the G-drive.

Regarding video files – good idea to upload a copy to the G-drive as a backup if you are linking to Vimeo (belt and braces approach).

Dan recorded the session and has posted it onto the discussion forum.

So am I any clearer on what is needed … not all that much. I subsequently asked on the forum if the critical review forms part of the “10-12 creative pieces” but apparently it falls into its own category outside of that.


Photography specific adaptations to COVID-19 – Subject area forums / Photography – OCA Discuss (s.d.) At: https://discuss.oca-student.com/t/photography-specific-adaptations-to-covid-19/11641/87 (Accessed  21/05/2020).

L3 Tutorial: Ariadne Xenou: From the synthesis of theory and practice to a methodology that serves both | Ways to limit/extend, control and manage your research

Today I sat in on Dr Ariadne Xenou’s L3 tutorial, the last in a series on research and covered the following topic: From the synthesis of theory and practice to a methodology that serves both | Ways to limit/extend, control and manage your research. I merely observed and didn’t take part in the discussion.

The L3 students gave Ariadne feedback on how they were synthesising, or relating their CS to their BOW and I found the in-depth discussion around the various students’ work very interesting.

Ariadne shared three points:

  1. Synthesis is not about expressing something in two different languages. It should be thought of as using the same language, but in different dialects. One should not be too literal.
  2. Some guidance around the literature review – this document is very individual and will differ entirely from student to student. Its needs to work for you with the aim to help get you further along. Its a start to form a solid foundation for the thesis, aim is to get you to engage with the references/texts. Its very personal.
  3. The sign of an early research is someone who has amassed a lot of information. That means the information or narrative you are looking for is in there somewhere. (This is something that I encountered with my A4 research, so I can totally relate to this). Its better to have too much rather than too little research. When doing a draft or redraft its better to have more and whittle it down to the required word count. This refines the methodology and helps fine tune the grand narrative.

Amano shared some of the challenges he was experiencing in fine tuning his thesis. I was particularly interested because it involved history with a reference to the Anthropocene. He had mentioned the history in the first part of the essay and of course the geography and was introducing theories of place.  The second part of his essay was the challenging bit for him as he was trying to be more analytical and had introduced the concept of psychogeography as a different way of looking, but found that there needed to be more of a contemplative aspect introduced to the essay. He mentioned the work of Ian Sinclair and Nadav Kandar (Dust).

Doug raised the question in CS to what extend does one need to reference contemporary photographers. Ariadne replied with her academic hat on that although there is a drive to reference contextual work, this can be problematic. History informs contemporary works and those connections should be highlighted. One does not look at things in a void. One’s methodology needs to stand up. As long as there is a reason for referencing historical or even other disciplines like engineering etc., it will be fine to use. It will be worthwhile to pre-empt this and introduce the methodology and state the scope of the work.

Anna mentioned the TPG’s artist talk video on Anton Kusters and remarked that his work is an excellent example of how research/theory/practice come together and the methodology then follows through to the presentation and exhibition.

The next tutorial will be on 20 July 2020 at which stage I hope to be on L3 and will be able to contribute to the discussion. My thanks to Ariadne for letting me sit in and observe. Much appreciated!!

Weekly Check in – 16 May 2020

Monday – Got up early to watch another Head On Photo Festival artist’s talk only to discover that the time was for pm and not am – but luckily the same day so I haven’t missed it yet. Had my final tutorial with my tutor for pre-assessment review. I had fired over a few questions regarding the new assessment guidelines that I had and she recommended that I run a few of them past Dan Robinson later this week in his assessment Zoom meeting to get clarity. There are some aspects which are rather hazy for the tutors even, so I don’t feel too bad. In the afternoon I watched a Zoom artist’s talk from the Centre of Photographic Art. The artist was Jim Kasson who specialises in the depiction of time, or chronography. I was particularly interested in his work as I had experimented with time stacking during the Landscape module.

Tuesday – I received my tutor feedback for pre-assessment and my tutor has sent this off to the office so that my “clock can be stopped” time-wise. That has now been posted to my blog as well. I need to start compiling my assessment document, but I’m going to hold off until I’ve attended Dan Robinson’s Zoom meeting tomorrow. It takes place at 5:00 am for me so I just hope my brain will be sufficiently awake by that time!

Wednesday – what an early start to the day – up at 4:30 am for Dan’s Zoom meeting at 5:00 am PST. I still came away from this meeting feeling rather vague about these new assessment guidelines and very frustrated. Although I completely understand the need to go digital as a result of this global pandemic. This new method literally requires a total rethink of all the work done as well as a revision of everything that has gone before to try and identify the learning outcomes in the work, especially if one has been gearing up for a physical submission and A1 is now on the table for assessment as well, where the manual states it has a diagnostic element [p 8 of course manual]. All work in the assignments have already been through rigorous editing exercises in order to comply with set briefs and the edits have been chosen as a coherent series, and now to further edit down those series will dilute the impact of the narratives I feel. I’m not sure if this has been taken into account. Assessment is normally a stressful time, but to have such a curve ball in the mix, is most definitely not pleasant. If OCA wants to introduce new criteria that is fine, but introduce it at the beginning of a course to allow students ample time to prepare properly, not a month before assessment deadlines. This really could have been handled differently. A few hours later I joined Andrea’s Tutor led tutorial on Research.

Thursday – another great live-stream from BJP’s 1854 Access featuring Simon Roberts and Harriet Logan.

Friday – I printed off one of my A2 images in 4 sections in order to make a large 33 x 48 cm size print. Ideally the images in A2 would be printed large – the bigger the better – in order to drive home the impact of the micro-Anthropocene, but for demonstration purposes I’ve had to work with what I have here at home in order to depict the impact size would make. I’ll upload photographs of the collage once I’ve taken them.

Saturday – my Blurb book for A3 has arrived and I’m very happy with it. I will be making a video page through for that too.


To Do List
  • Figure out new assessment criteria & pull together a portfolio
  • Rest of World Hangout – 17 May, 2020
  • Documentary Hangout – 21 May, 2020

Centre for Photographic Art (2020) Online Artist Talk: Jim Kasson: Chronography, explained and amplified. At: https://photography.org/event/online-artist-talk-jim-kasson-chronography-explained-and-amplified/ (Accessed  11/05/2020).

Kasson, J. (s.d.) Jim Kasson. At: https://www.kasson.com/ (Accessed  11/05/2020).

Kuit, L. (2018) Time Stacking Experiment | Lynda Kuit Photography – Landscape. At: https://lyndakuitphotographylandscape.wordpress.com/2018/12/14/time-stacking-experiment/ (Accessed  11/05/2020).