So I don’t lose my thread I’ve broken down the feedback into manageable sections. My responses are in blue. Please note only relevant feedback from my Tutor has been selected and is shown in italics.
This is an interesting set of images and is ideal as an introduction to the way that you photograph as well as how you describe your visual and conceptual process.
Reading your commentary about this assignment Ben, it is encouraging that you are thinking about a set of concepts in an attempt to bring together your visual experimentation. The effect that man continues to have upon nature is an enduring theme and one only has to look at recent press surrounding the prevalence of waste plastic in our oceans to realise that this is a hot topic at the moment.
I am interested in your notion that ‘the world of humanity is artificial’ – is this true? I believe that man has become separated from nature by his greed, his urge to dominate and desire to own. Are we not part of nature? Sadly not, we have lost our way, become alienated, and it’s very sad. Surely we have evolved on this planet in the same way that every other organism has? No doubt, but unlike other organisms, we have become selfish, greedy and see all others as servants to be used as we wish.
Feedback on assignment
Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity
An interesting image to start your series as the contents of this frame does not obviously sit within the conceptual framework that you outline or the collective visual strategy that the rest of the series employs. I assume that you are attempting to show how we have built up villages and cities and that the continued use of fossil fuels is affecting our planet in detrimental ways? I have to be honest I selected this image as it portrayed one of those rare moments of beauty in the everyday. A moment when our actions of destruction can be equally beautiful. Does this image fit with the series? In terms of light, subject and composition no, but in terms of being part of my square mile, then perhaps so.
In technical terms, think carefully about your framing. Should the railings in the foreground be straight? These curve around in front of me hence the slant. Should the edge of the sign on the front of the building right of frame be included? I included it to put a stamp on location initially, but with thoughtful cropping, I could have precluded it from the image entirely. Where is your point of focus? The front of the lorry, again not entirely obvious, and now with the cropped image it’s the door of the lorry. Here I’ve fallen into snapshot mode. Aesthetics over form. Ideally, I should have made it in front of the outside front tire of the stationary vehicle.
Image One Revisited
I like the relationship between the specific danger warning sign and the wider potential harm that the creation of electricity, in general, might cause. Are you suggesting that the ‘danger of death’ in the modern world is our continued exploitation of natural materials for our own existence? In a very clumsy way yes.
The almost unnatural purple colour of the ivy fronds is interesting here, offering the suggestion that nature itself can also look ‘unnatural’. I loved this image, but also chose it as a demonstration of how, no matter what we do, nature will reclaim.
As well as being an ironic addition to the series, I like the fact that the word ‘everlasting’ echoes the natural term ‘evergreen’ that is used to describe some plants. I’d also chosen this particular image as it’s a metaphor, for me at least, that human life is not ‘Everlasting’ and this statement is made in defiance at the natural order of things by the interned soul.
Again, a more obvious image for a series with this kind of conceptual underpinning – the mixture of decaying natural and man-made forms. The almost unnatural colour is engaging here as is the composition – I like the creeping shot of ivy in the bottom left hand corner of the frame. I was chuffed to see my message had translated visually in this still.
The reference to death and burial is clear here. Through the apparent vandalisation of the flower holder, is there is a suggestion that man is as good at looking after its own sites of burial as it is the rest of the planet? It was, it’s symbolic of our destructive and careless nature, even in an environment that is ‘Hallowed Ground’. Perhaps this still would be well titles ‘Is Nothing Sacred?’
A different compositional strategy here and I am wondering how this picture fits with your concept(s)? You mention the impermanence of benches in your commentary but the viewer may well need some help to link this image with some of your others. The intent was to show this bench, which sits in the cemetery, as a resting place for the living to commune with the dead. However, the composition is all to pot. The framing should have included a gravestone to help set the scene/theme with the cropping focusing on a gravestone in the foreground and the bench in the background.
The close-up creates an annoying (but not necessarily unsuccessful) visual experience. I find myself desperately trying to pull back from this image – in the same way as I do when trying to focus on something close-up when I am not wearing my glasses. Look at the image and you can see how the bole of the tree is slowly growing over the wood of the fence. Nature overcoming, taking back its own.
This picture fits conceptually but I am not sure how visually engaging it is. I chose it to show nature reclaiming its empire over the artificial construct of man.
Consider a tighter crop here, do we need the suggestion of another tree in the background? Very good point as it does distract. The cropped image is shown below and is far more effective visually.
Image Ten Revisited
Images 11 & 12
Although I guess these images act as a bookend to the series (along with your first image), I am not sure how they fit within the series and are not particularly visually engaging. A bad choice on my part, there is no flow or real connection with the previous images. Retrospectively I should have sought a more suitable subject and moment.
||Areas for development
|Evidence of conceptual thinking
Good initial reflection
Some good research
|Conceptual and visual focus – will come with study
Final edit of images – must learn to be brave and crop
Broaden knowledge of contemporary photographic practice – will come with study
Overall I enjoyed the challenge of the task and have quite a bit to learn. Onwards and upwards!