Tutor’s Feedback for OCA Learning Log: Part Three: Processing the Image and Assignment Three: Monochrome

Overall Comments

Many thanks for submitting this third assignment Chantelle, which contained some interesting imagery.

Key issues mentioned in my last report are as follows:

  • Try to redress the balance of theory to practice.
  • Respond to previous issues raised in the feedback, through additional blog posts.
  • Look at the work of Harry Callaghan / Hilla & Bernd Becher / Henri Cartier-Bresson.
  • Consider blog navigation for summative assessment submission.
  • Start to cite academic reference within written work, linking it back to a bibliography.

I can see from your submission that you are responding positively to some of the feedback suggestions provided, which is excellent to see.

Feedback on assignment

The contextual component of this assignment demonstrated some early research into the use of monochrome imagery, but it is possible to really dig deeper into the monochrome versus colour debate and form your own opinion as to how the issues relate to your own practice. (Historic / Nostalgia / Less Distractions etc are all topic headers around which much has been written).

Anyway, it was a good start to the assignment along with your planning and practitioners research.( Don’t cite Wikipedia as an academic reference

though !)  When I think of monochrome images of steam trains … one immediately thinks of Link …. But Shaughnessy’s work was new to me … and I have to admit I think I like it better than Link’s.  It’s often just good to have another take on things really … like when considering the Yosemite National Park, you immediately think of Ansel Adams and as great as this work might be, I think I prefer the more unorthodox approach to having documented this area, such as Mark Klett’s 3rd View project.

I did like the fact the images detailed the trains and various associated hardware specifically, managing to exclude any public who might have been around at the time.  The images that stood out for me were four, seven and nine.  The fourth image of the tracks really detailed the engineering aspect and was a very simple composition. (Could this have had a touch more contrast though perhaps ?)  The seventh image really showed your connection to Shaughnessy’s work and gives a really well exposed and composed ‘detail’ of the couplings.  Lastly, the ninth shot was really well spotted and was packed full of inherent interest.  I don’t think this shot would have worked as well in colour, so for that reason you should be commended for pre-visualising this shot. It appears to me that the some of the most useful work you conducted for this shoot was the research into both Link and Shaughnessy prior to the trip, as this offered you visual clues to seek out on arrival.

Jumping ahead a little it might be worth thinking about the following in relation to the fifth and final assignment.  The shots an editor would be expecting to see in a photostory would be Establishing [setting the scene], Portrait [Human Condition], Action and Detail shots.  Obviously depending on what you are trying to say with the work, they would not always include all of these.

Photographic stories are the visual communication of a personal experience.  They can be considered unique and can provide an excellent vehicle for personal expression.  In order to communicate effectively, you must try to make a connection with what is happening.  In order for this to work, you must research your subject thoroughly and if the story includes people, patiently observe before starting to photograph them.

Just to dwell on the subject of the photostory for a while, it is important for you to have a ‘point of view’ or an ‘angle’ for the story.  With this work you could argue it was capturing the space of yesteryear. You must have an opinion about what is being recorded and this should in turn come across.

The most popular subject for the photostory has always been the ‘human condition’.  The aim is usually to select one individual or group of individuals and try to relate their story to the viewer.  The story may then relate the experience to a brief or extended period of time.

Learning Logs/Critical essays

The blog is working very well for you and is being updated regularly – which is great to see.

Two points I would make though …. As mentioned, I’d advise against citing Wikipedia as an academic reference … these are not trustworthy sources unfortunately and certainly do not hold any academic rigour.  Also … try to use the full Harvard reference (like below) rather than just a URL for a website.


Suggested reading/viewing

Evans, W.2013. American Photographs. Tate Publishing. London

ISBN-13: 978-1849761284

Joshua Cooper, T.2004.Point of No Return. Haunch of Venision.

ISBN-13: 978-0954067199

Davis, Pete.1997: Cader Idris – Soul of a Lonely Place. University of Wales School or Art Press.

ISBN-13: 978-1899095087

Conclusions and targets for next assignment

I’d really just like to see you continue to read around the subject matter and cite references to theory that really supports and underpin your practice.

I’ll look forward to receiving your next submission Chantelle – ‘Real or Fake’

My Thoughts:

I am really happy with my tutors feedback for this assignment. I researched a lot into this theme, prior to my trip. Therefore, with a lot of research behind me, I was able to pre-visualize how I wanted my final photographs to look. I will take a look at image 4, and manipulate it slightly to enhance the contrast between the tones. Otherwise, I don’t believe that I need to change anything else for this assignment.

I will take into consideration my tutors recommendations and advice regarding the next assignment.




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