Print Size Test

It’s almost assessment time and I have been thinking a while about the size of my A2 prints were I to have a choice on presentation. My experimentation has been limited to the size of paper that my Canon Pro-100 can take – that limit being A3+ (13 x 19 inches). So like my experiment for A1, I have taken one image to use as a sample and quartered it in Photoshop. I have then resampled and printed each quarter on A3+ paper, so technically I now have an image that is 26 x 38 inches.

I decided this time to tape the pieces to my bedroom wall and try and line up the segments and photograph the finished item. I found I had a slight overlap by one or two millimetres on one image, but for experimental purposes it conveys the idea, so I’m not going to worry too much about that. I took another image from A2 which I had printed off quite a while back on A3+ and placed that below the collaged image for scale purposes. I also included part of the door to the side of the images for added scale reference. Yes, I know my picture is slightly skew, but its rather difficult to straighten something that has tape on the back. It was also a little difficult to align the inside vertical edges as there was no border on those edges, so you can see the vertical line in places. Nevertheless, I think this experiment does convey the idea of size well enough. In a perfect world I think I would present them a little bigger – perhaps 4 or 5 feet wide. The details in the photograph are far more enhanced by the size and this allows the viewer to really look into the scene in greater depth.

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.

Experimenting with Print Size

After listening to Mark Galer speak about uploading one’s images as screen savers to a 4K TV, I started thinking about scale and my A1 images. I decided to see if I could create a large version of the print of Terry that I did yesterday. As the largest paper my printer can take is A3+ (13 x 19 inches) I decided to divide the image into 4 sections and print each section at A3+. I was just not sure what would happen with the upscaling. I only have LightRoom and Photoshop Elements so I sent the image over to Elements and worked out the crops and printed each section off.

Once I printed them off I had to lay them out on the floor to see the result. Unfortunately I had forgotten to select borderless printing so the interior borders spoil the effect a bit. But I do have to say that I really do prefer this larger version (26 x 38 inches) than the A3+. I will lay them out again tomorrow on my dining room table which has better light and photograph the result, then I’m going to take an exacto knife and cut away those internal borders and tape the 4 sections together and will rephotograph them.

The following day I laid out the four sections of Terry’s photo on the dining room table and made a couple of photographs with the two versions together. The difference in size is obviously quite dramatic. The portrait is larger than life size. I hauled out the step ladder and had to photograph the second image from the side and rotate it in post-processing. The perspectives aren’t 100% but it does convey the idea well enough. I think, instead of trying to slice the internal white space off these images (those margins are so small), I’ll rather try this technique out with one of the other A1 images using the borderless option.

(Please note this post has been duplicated from my Weekly Check In – 9 May 2020 post purely for assessment purposes).

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.

Bibliography

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).

Photobook

I have created a video of a page through of my photobook for Assignment 3. I struggled a bit with this as my tripod has a centrepost and pan-tilt head so I couldn’t obtain an accurate overhead position. There is also a little too much light on the pages, I think, which would probably be eliminated if I had a decent tripod, but I think the video does suffice to show the size (10″ x 8″) and materiality of the book. For a better online experience of this book, please access the Blurb link on the Assignment 3 (rework) page.

As I mentioned in a weekly check in post, I am very happy with the quality of the book. Blurb, apparently has a tendency to print on the dark side, but I think the tonal quality of this book is spot on. The book has a hardcover imagewrap with a matte finish and the paper is Blurb’s Premium paper with a lustre finish.

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
Bibliography

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).

Research Workshop – 13 May 2020

Tutor Andrea Norrington held another excellent workshop yesterday, tackling the subject “Research”. I made some very brief notes, which I will list below in bullet form.

  • Why?
    • Context – other talks
    • Use research to stimulate ideas and broaden thinking = creativity
    • Hard to copy other photographers’ work. Good to try to help you understand the technical issues (especially in portraiture)
    • Andrea showed a video of Rankin recreating David Bailey’s iconic photograph of Jean Shrimpton. Unfortunately the link is not accessible from Canada.
  • How?
    • Cultural connections
      • Think laterally on resources: film/TV programmes/ literature/poetry, etc.
    • Be obscure
    • Delve deep and explore wide
      • other subject area
      • follow up references you are reading
      • look at references in key texts. Reading lists are a starting point
      • Don’t need to read the whole book – be selective
    • Be curious
  • OCA Library – Helen Barrett
    • help with references & research outside OCA
  • Referencing
    • Be rigorous
    • Methodical
    • Rolling bibliography
    • Use OCA Harvard Referencing
  • Referencing Software
    • UCA recommends Zotero or PaperPile
  • Research: Action
    • When you can research
    • Be organized, have things lined up
    • Set timer
  • Research Take Aways
    • Each blog outline summary of photographer and work with links
    • In own words list key elements – notations
    • 30 second rule
  • Have system of taking notes
    • Written – notebook, journal record cards etc.
    • Digital – Evernote, Dropbox – remember to back up
    • Draft documents for links for backup
  • Not relevant to work?
    • Find way to store useful info which is not relevant – writers use “commonplace book”
  • Alive vs Dead Time
    • Use time you have – online content, share information
    • Pay attention to how good online content is/shared/produced e.g. books/slideshows
    • Make notes & keep examples, if really good for reference.
  • Be critical of your sources
    • Validate
    • Question
    • Who is telling story – historiography is study of the writing of history
  • Research: Use
    • Feed into learning log
    • Use reflective writing to incorporate into thinking
    • Keep bibliography up to date
  • Be divergent = makes work richer
  • Padlet

In Conversation: Simon Roberts and Harriet Logan

I love Simon Roberts’ work and was really looking forward to 1854 Access’s livestream. Roberts is very well known for his monographs Motherland, We English, Pierdom and Merrie Albion. I was not familiar with Harriet Logan’s work at all. Logan is a former award-wining photojournalist who has worked on assignments all over the world, e.g. Somalia, Cechnya, Iraq, Angola, Afghanistan and America.

Simon Roberts and Harriet Logan

I found quite a few take-aways/advice from Roberts’ brief overview of his photographic journey.

In their discussion Roberts revealed it was after he had completed his work on Snowbirds which he had made using two cameras (one with a fixed lens, the other a zoom) that he realised that the better work had been made when he was working with the fixed lens camera as that work showed that he was more in the moment and it was about being there and witnessing.

The next body of work he worked on after this was on Russia and it was during this BOW that he was working on the concept of being an author. The work is a mix of landscape and portraiture. One needs time to develop a sense of looking and to develop your style, to think and to allow the work to breathe. I’m going to bookmark this BOW and carry it forward to L3 to do a comparison with Tomas van Houtryve’s Lines & Lineage.

We English was his next body of work and it was during this BOW that he tried to develop his own way of working – 4 x5 camera atop a camper van. He likens this work to ethnographic studies. He finds that the value of this work lies in the detail, looking for repetitions like people wearing socks with sandals, or wearing hats within a frame for example. It is important to stay true to where one’s interests lie. Consider where your passions lie, what story you are telling and how you are communicating this.

Roberts mentioned a couple of photographers whose work was reflecting the current lockdown situation:

Roberts then questioned Logan about the Incite Project of which Logan is a curator. The aim of this project is to take photojournalistic documentary photos and present them in a different context, i.e. the gallery. An important aspect of the project is that they also support photographers as they produce work (see Matt Black). Iconic photographs of various newsworthy events around the world are being collected for this project. The photos collected include work by living photographers.

Both artists spoke about the importance of printing one’s work, putting it up on a wall and editing. There is a certain intelligence involved in this process and the thought process is more important than the technical aspect – its not just about the image.

Q&A:

  1. What makes a photo stick or become iconic?
    A: Its basically how you remember something – how it naturally fits in your memory process. Part of a collective conscience. It could also be the isolation of one frame from a moving image that encapsulates the idea of iconicity. But this takes time to develop – to see what remains standing in one’s memory post the event(s).
  2. What drives you to cover difficult subjects?
    A (Roberts): He is not a journalist/war photographer and doesn’t cover difficult subjects. His process is slow, sometimes taking 10 years to produce a body of work. The gestation period is usually long.
    A (Logan): She has worked in difficult places, but has always taken the view that she is there to do a job and if an atrocity is taking place she has to make sure that it is recorded so that it won’t happen again.
  3. Some more generic questions around the current Covid crisis – coping/how seeing the future …
    A: Challenging times lie ahead. Some names suggested for further research: John Moore, Mark Peterson and Tortoise Media (for documentary work)

 

Bibliography

1854 Presents: Simon Roberts and Harriet Logan (Live) (2020) Directed by 1854 Access. At: https://access.bjpsubs.com/1854-presents-archive/ (Accessed  14/05/2020).

Black, M. (s.d.) Matt Black. At: https://www.mattblack.com/ (Accessed  14/05/2020).

Harriet Logan (s.d.) At: https://ianparry.org/winner/1992-harriet-logan-winner/ (Accessed  14/05/2020).

Incite Project (Ongoing) @inciteproject • Instagram photos and videos. At: https://www.instagram.com/inciteproject/ (Accessed  14/05/2020).

Kuit, L. (2020) VII Interactive Book Club Meeting with Tomas van Houtryve. At: https://lyndakuitphotographydocumentary.wordpress.com/2020/05/03/vii-interactive-book-club-meeting-with-tomas-van-houtryve/ (Accessed  14/05/2020).

Murphy, S. (2020) Our Bullet Lives Blossom As They Race Towards The Wall. At: https://spencermurphy.co.uk/project/strangedays/#0 (Accessed  14/05/2020).

Roberts, S. (2004) Motherland. At: https://www.simoncroberts.com/work/motherland/ (Accessed  14/05/2020).

Roberts, S. (2008) We English. [Simon Roberts] At: https://www.simoncroberts.com/work/we-english/ (Accessed  14/05/2020).

Tutor Feedback – A6 Pre-assessment review

I had my final tutor feedback on 11 May 2020. My tutor sent over her comments, saying there was no need to respond and that she would forward her report straight to the office as well.

Overall Comments

We ran through your questions pre-assessment – which I have briefly annotated below. If there are still any queries following the Zoom talk with Dan do come back to me. It is important that you feel you have submitted your work successfully.

We covered some of the normal discussion for this, in our previous call – your production of the checklist has been really helpful in you finalising the work for this course.

Your blog evaluation was read here – and this is a clear summation of the course.
https://lyndakuitphotographydocumentary.wordpress.com/2020/05/09/course-reflection-andevaluation/.

We finished off with a brief discussion re Level 3 – I wish you every success on the next
stage and it has been a pleasure to be your tutor.

Feedback on assignment

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity

I had sent my tutor some questions regarding the new assessment criteria that I wasn’t too clear on. Below are my questions, with my tutor’s response in bold.

Assessment Questions

  1. Should we categorize the items we select to evidence the 5 learning outcomes under each learning outcome’s heading? This is already happening in your assignment evaluations.
  2. Do these selected learning log entries count as “pieces”? I would think that the log entries relating to an assignment are a piece – but do check this for guidance.
  3. If a book = 1 piece (A3), and a video/slide show also = 1 piece (A5), then the other 10 pieces should come from A1 and A2. Am I correct? Or should they all come from A2 as A1 isn’t assessed? No need to use A1. Other pieces could be from learning log entries/research posts.
  4. Does the critical review essay count as a “piece” or is it a stand alone element? Yes, I believe so.
  5. P 24 – #2 – Interpret your learning outcomes. All the sections/assignments contain elements of all the learning outcomes – which to choose? This is being done in your evaluations.
  6. P. 24 #4 – Are we required to create a new document that points the assessor to the learning log entries? Does this include all the learning log entries or only a selection? Need clarification – I feel it could be blog post with links.
  7. P. 26 – #3 Documenting your work. This would have been good to know about at the start of the course. I create paper printouts of images I’m working on, pin them to a noticeboard and play around with the sequencing, living with them to see what works. Some of this is translated into my learning log, but I do not have photographs of the work on the noticeboard. When the assignment is finished, I remove the work and staple the images together in a pile and stick them into a sketchbook. Am I required to go and “recreate this whole process”? No extra need for this step – your blog posts/learning log entries show weekly progress.
  8.  Will we be penalised if our evaluation or presentation is in written format? Written absolutely fine.
  9. Padlet is mentioned quite a bit in the guidelines. I have no idea how to use this piece of software. Why doesn’t OCA provide a tutorial on this? Quick demo provided – remember to sign up on oca.padlet.org and use OCA email address.

Thank you for the clarification and the padlet demo. I hope to have the clarification questions answered during Dan’s Zoom meeting on 13 May, 2020.

Coursework

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity

NA

Research

Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

NA

Learning Log

Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

NA

Suggested reading/viewing

Context

NA