Assignment Two: Digital Image Qualities – Tutor Feedback

Feedback from my second DPP assignment has been received; the full report can be found under the ‘Tutor Feedback’ tab above.

Overall, the feedback is quiet positive, but as ever there are a few areas that need to be worked on as I go forward in this module.  As I read (and re-read) the details of this report, there is a general feeling that although this was an assignment that allowed us free-reign on our subject matter, there should still be some form of cohesion under each of the headings, and my work does lack this.  This ‘issue’ is not something new, I have heard this comment many times from previous assignments; but again I seem to have gone off, like a bull in a china shop and just taken some of my images for the sake (and love) of taking them.

My tutor states:

I would like to see you think about content of your images as well as thinking about this as an exercise in lighting techniques.  The second image (from backlit scene, whether in direct or indirect light) is setting a scene in the mind of the viewer and starting to build a story.  The environment helps here to add a sense of purpose to the result.  The shadowed detail on subjects or the silhouette can be used very effectively to add a sense of mystery to your story.  I feel you could build on this point a little more with your other two examples, using backlighting to achieve an end result.

So, although the assignment stated that ‘The locations and subject matter of the scenes that you photograph are up to you’, more thought on my part should have gone into the work and I should have introduced more cohesion within each title.  The term ‘running before walking’ seems to be bouncing around my head again …

Another term that keeps jumping up and down in front of me is juxtaposition and I am beginning to see how important this is to photography.  It’s many facets can be used in the composition of images; not only to make them more pleasing or interesting to the eye, but also to tell a story or highlight someone’s plight in the world (as per my writings surrounding the Ulsan International Photo Festival).  I have only really thought about juxtaposition in my photography once, and that was back when we did our exercises during TAOP, but I am beginning to see the need to start factoring this into my work as and when the need arises.  I also need to start thinking a bit more about my position within photography and what I would like to achieve aside from taking good photographs.  Part of the feedback I received from my first assessment was that I need to develop an awareness of an audience for my images, and after discussion with my tutor; she has suggested that I think more along the lines of finding my own voice within the medium.  I am still very unsure about how I could do this, but her suggestions within my assignment about building stories within my images seems like a good place to start.

One image that my tutor pointed out that she really liked was my dry ice shot from the ‘Indoor scenes illuminated by a single source of artificial light of high luminance’, as it shows experimentation to achieve the final result.

Fire & Ice Shutter Speed 1/2; Aperture F5.6; Focal Length 122mm; ISO100; WB Cool White Fluorescent; Spot Metering

Fire & Ice
Shutter Speed 1/2; Aperture F5.6; Focal Length 122mm; ISO100; WB Cool White Fluorescent; Spot Metering

I am really pleased about this comment, as I worked hard to get these shots – although I only took them as an activity to fill time – but with better than expected results, and positive comments from my tutor all helps in building my confidence to try things like this again in the future.

With regard to the work I carried out to produce alternate, low contrast images, the comment stated that I worked effectively to achieve the results required, but I have been asked to elaborate and discuss; When might this be useful to you?  How would it alter the story that you are trying to tell?

As we know, high contrast images are produced to give varying degrees of wow-factor to our shots, with dark shadows and lines and areas of brightness to further enhance the darkest reaches within our images.  On the reverse of this, a low contrast image will produce a more even colour cast; softer lines and an almost flat feel to our pictures.

Times when we might consider using low contrast over high would be when the light is low or covered by a veil such as clouds or mists; some landscape situations could be more appealing in these conditions like this photo of some heron’s taking rest in the early morning haze.

Low Contrast Image

Low Contrast Image

Or when our frame is full of more even, complementary colours, such as this bloom surrounded by the dense green foliage of the riverbank.

Low Contrast Image

Low Contrast Image

Low contrast images could therefore be used to portray calm and serenity in our images, or if we are documenting a subject that is sad or sensitive to the viewer, where we do not need to cause a stir or a situation of WOW …

Conclusion:

So, all in all I think this assignment went well, despite the hiccup surrounding the cohesiveness of my work.  I am becoming aware of this more and more and although I should be taking photos that demonstrate the skills I have learnt during the pervious module, I still need to be aware of content so that I can make my shots work both individually and as a body of images.

Building on this, I also need to start thinking about how my images can tell a story.  By introducing this, I should also be able to formulate my voice within the medium and find an audience for my work.  Although sometimes it is okay just to take a nice photo.

And finally, I need to become more aware of juxtaposition and as my tutor suggests, I need to explore this idea more and be aware of introducing it into my work.  I think I have been lucky with this in the past, but now it needs more consideration.

I do feel that I am managing to meet most of the assessment criteria laid out for the DPP module, my learning log is beginning to fill with everything I have learnt so far and of images that inspire me and teach me new skills.  I could probably use my blog to document more of the thoughts I have, as although it may not seem like I read or research much, I always have some form of photography literature with me to consume.  There has been opportunity to visit exhibitions and to look at the work of others, which may not have an immediate impact on what I do, say or think about photos, but as I am seeing more and more work of others I am beginning to understand what appeals to me and how I would like to start moulding my own identity.

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