In this self-assessment for Assignment 2 I will evaluate how I feel my work produced for the assignment holds up against the following 4 criteria for assessment: Demonstration of technical and visual skills, Quality of outcome, Demonstration of creativity and Context.
Demonstration of technical and visual skills:
I didn’t use any special materials for my photography, it was fairly straight photography although within the images I used the composite technique. Here I stacked multiple images (all taken from the same spot) inside Photoshop and revealed parts of each layer on top of a base layer of the scene. Revealing only certain parts of the scene on each layer required close attention to detail in order to make the composite appear realistic. I had to use observational skills while creating the images that would be used within the composites, especially pre-visualisation, because the objects changing within the scene (mainly people) had to have space in between each other for the composite approach to work. I went out and sought settings to set my tripod up at carefully. I wanted to make obvious the layering of the old and new of Deptford by juxtaposing them within single images. Therefore I chose these locations based on their content. As well as this I took care when composing the scene to make the juxtaposition more obvious and telling. Lastly I was selective in the weather I chose to photograph in, namely cloudy, overcast lighting so the composite technique was easier to implement and to bring consistency to the work.
Quality of outcome:
I feel the content I produced for Assignment 2 was consistent and got across the message of the old and new coexisting within Deptford well. The nature of my approach to photographing Deptford (the grand documentary landscape) meant in my opinion the images produced worked better on a larger scale. My vision was to print these images large in 20×16 inch prints. When presenting Assignment 2 on my blog, I laid the images out one after another in a non-fanciful manner. However, I made sure that once the viewer clicked on an image, a higher resolution image appeared. I think this was important as at the moment only my tutor will see the 20×16 inch prints. I also decided to name the image using a method which in my mind signified the objectivity of the project. I recorded the latitude and longitude coordinates for each scene and named the images accordingly. I feel this lends an air of authenticity to the images. This approach was inspired in part after I read On the Invention of Photographic Meaning (1982) by Allan Sekula. Furthermore, I found the coordinates can be entered into Google Maps. Subsequently the viewer can see on Google Street View how many of these location in Deptford have changed even since the Google Street View images were taken in comparison to mine.
One area I thought my quality of outcome could improve was conceptualisation of thoughts and communication of ideas. Instead of simply scouting and then photographing the locations, I could have documented the journey (my thought process) more, rather than relying on the images to speak for themselves. Having said that, the composite approach I’ve found is quite demanding in terms of attention to pre-visualisation. Though before and after the composites were made I could have documented my thoughts on taking the images.
Demonstration of creativity:
Although I feel I’ve produced a solid second assignment which builds upon the first, I don’t think it is particularly creative. Once I’d arrived at the concept of layering the old and new in single images, I didn’t experiment much. One area I was quite inventive in was the use of the composite technique in order to bring potential narrative between the people and their setting of Deptford. Whether I’ve allowed Deptford to speak for itself rather than organising it conveniently into my own vision is something I hope to discuss with my tutor as part of the assignment feedback. Also, although the composite technique I’ve put into practice is somewhat different, I’m not sure it constitutes a personal voice. In my opinion it could be considered a feature in photography made much easier to implement because of digital technologies. Rather than the composite technique being my personal voice, I feel the combination of adopting a wide viewpoint, the juxtaposition of two contrasting elements within single images, deliberately choosing certain weather to shoot in and the composite approach shows I’m developing a personal voice.
Relating my body of work back to the theory-based contextual studies was difficult at first. However, I feel recently a lot of my research has helped inform my practice. Having said that, there is still some disparity in that some of my contextual studies does not inform my body of work. This is when I research artists that approach photography quite differently to the approach I have adopted for the assignment. While I would say it is important to look at different approaches like more conceptually driven work, it would be more conducive if my critical thinking was going in one general direction. With that in mind, recently I’ve conducted some focussed research into regeneration in Deptford which I feel should help me going forwards with this project.
Sekula A. (1982) On the Invention of Photographic Meaning. In: Burgin V. (eds) Thinking Photography. Communications and Culture. Palgrave, London