Tutor’s Feedback for OCA Learning Log: Part Four; Reality or Intevention and Assignment Four-Real or Fake

Overall Comments

Many thanks for submitting this assignment Chantelle, the imagery and contextualization for which worked well in my opinion.

Key issues mentioned in my last report are as follows:

* Look at the work of Evans / Joshua Cooper / Davis

* Try to dig deeper into the Monochrome v’s Colour debate

* Try to use the full Harvard Reference and avoid Wikipedia

* Look at the Mark Klett 3rd View Project

* Consider the Establishing / Portrait / Detail / Action shots

Within the broader photographic consideration of the terms ‘real’ and ‘fake’, I normally suggest to my students to take a look at this image taken by Nick Ut in Trang Bang village just outside Saigon, Vietnam in 1972 [see below].  It is a very famous image that has been seen all around the world and has been used on various front covers of magazines etc [Time 1972].  It depicts the young nine year old girl Kim Phuc, running towards the camera after a Napalm attack on her village by the US forces … another example of friendly fire as the villagers were allied Southern Vietnamese and not part of the North Viet Cong fighters.  The image is full of all the harrowing impact expected to be found in war imagery and has lost none of its initial impact over the past 40 years since it was taken.  There was also some moving image footage taken of exactly the same event at the same time, but this fails to have the impact of the stills shot which has literally caught the moment in time.  The reason I bring this image to your attention is that the original image was cropped slighted on the right hand side.  We now know that this was shot on 35mm monochrome film and therefore the format of the shot is slightly more square than it should be for a full frame 35mm image.  What was excluded from the shot was a soldier at the side of the road loading a film into a camera – which when included completely reduces the overall impact of the image as the question is asked why he was not in assistance etc.  He was removed to add impact.

Description: Image 11

Nick Ut – 1972

There is also a similar debate raised with an image taken by a photographer called Dorothea Lange, who took photographs for the American Farm Security Administration [FSA] in the 1930’s.  This image has been called ‘Migrant Mother’ and is also pictured below – the debate was about a ‘thumb’ that had been printed out of the bottom right hand corner, suggesting somebody was ‘revealing’ the family from behind the side of the tent and therefore staging the shot. You have actually touched upon this within your contextualization of the assignment on your blog …. “Even the most subtle and discreet changes to a photograph, can have profound impacts on how we as viewers, interpret or judge it.”

It might also be worth reading about Robert Capa’s ‘Death of a Spanish Militiaman’ taken in 1936.  These are all healthy arguments still raging within photographic debate in relation to image manipulation and could be elaborated upon within your blog.

Description: Image 03

Dorothea Lange – 1936

Feedback on assignment

Reading the written component of your assignment from the outset, I really liked your stance on various issues, which I felt you got across very well. (Kelly Clarkson Cover etc ).  I also liked the fact that you have chosen to work with a subject that you actually feel passionate about and have a personal standpoint on (Hunting, Poaching & Culling). Half the problem with working on these assignments is being able to engage with your topic or theme … so if you choose something that you are actually interested in, then your enthusiasm for the subject matter will come through into the work.

I also liked the research you conducted into your Badger theme, especially the protest posters.  Your approach to this assignment was really well thought out and well organized, often not taking the easy option and actually locating and photographing real badgers … as opposed to just sourcing from elsewhere.  Your choice of background scene I did find curious though …. As for a magazine the format of most is normally portrait as opposed to landscape … therefore I think I might have been more inclined to use image 3 rather than image 1 in that respect.

It took me a while to pinpoint why this magazine cover looked a little odd though … but I think it might be down to the fact that we are viewing badgers here in broad daylight … when you would normally only expect to see them in photographs that have been taken at night with the use of artificial lighting … seeing as they are nocturnal animals.  Surely, this point in itself renders the image somewhat ‘fake’ in that respect ? From a technical perspective …. Some of the badgers do look a little ‘stuck’ on to be fair … which was always going to be a challenge for you given that both images have been lit using different light sources (IE: Ambient / Artificial) So with regards to this … it might be worth looking at trying to perhaps colour balance the badgers to the background independently before dropping them in.  This can be a very tricky exercise in colour and will test your Photoshop skills … so it might also be worth trying the same exercise in monochrome … which makes things much easier as you are only really dealing with contrast then.  A monochrome cover would also be easy to argue given that it leans towards the badgers natural colorings !

With regards to the interesting research you have conducted into photographic manipulation, I’d like you to take a look at the work of Mishka Henner.  One of the projects Henner created was entitled ‘Less Amercains’, which was a play on words in relation to the famous 1950 works by Robert Frank entitled ‘The Americans’ … which when it first came out was published in France with the title ‘Les Americains’.  Have a read into what Henner was trying to do here and especially about the controversy surrounding what is called his ‘re-appropriation’ of Frank’s images. (see below for an example)

As mentioned previously, I thought the research you conducted into historic manipulation was of interest to the assignment.  It might also be worth thinking about how photographers have used manipulation historically to place emphasis upon particular compositional components … rather than more brutally just cutting and pasting.  Look at these two images by Chambre Hardman below.  This is a famous photograph he took in Liverpool in the early 1950’s called ‘The Birth of the Ark Royal’.  His manipulation here has been with the use of Coccin Rouge on the negative, which has resulted in the off putting highlights (such as the gable end in the left foreground) being reduced tonally, in order to place emphasis on the large white Ark Royal in the background. …. Thus almost making it leap out of the photograph. The only true white in the image becomes the ship.

Learning Logs/Critical essays

I had a good look at your blog again and feel this is proving to be a good vehicle for evidencing the development of ideas and generation of research and testing.  There is plenty of practitioner research being conducted and reviews of books / exhibitions etc.

As mentioned above, you’ll also need to include books / literature / journals / magazines as source of research prior to submission for assessment.

Suggested reading/viewing

These would be project specific for Assignment 5

Conclusions and targets for next assignment

Try to take a look at what I have suggested above and drop me an email, when you have an idea about what you intend to do for Assignment 5.

My Thoughts:

After reading through my tutors feedback, I can see that changes need to be made to this assignment. I will update the assignment itself, and write notes from this feedback next to any updated photograph.