Overall, I thought this assignment submission was an effective and personal take on the ‘decisive moment’. At first, I struggled not with your approach to ‘the decisive moment’, as the indecisive moment is just as valid, but with how your diary entries related to the pictorial content of the pictures. Once I found your website and read through the assignment post everything became much clearer and I thought the work was very effective in communicating an autobiographical ‘decisive moment’. With this in mind I would suggest the key aspect to address between now and assessment is how to present the work so that the links remain absolutely clear. By this I don’t mean the text must be descriptive, but I would suggest finding a way of matching up small segments of text with each picture. These might be written on the prints or printed on the labels, the final method depends on how you want to personalise the work further.
Feedback on assignment
Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity
Below are some key points I wish to make about your work. The list is not exhaustive but covers what I feel to be the most salient at this stage.
- I’ll admit I felt a bit lost in the work when just looking at the prints and the accompanying text. It was almost as if the text referred to what you wanted to be doing vs the prints looked at your reality, but everything made sense when I found a link to your blog in an old assignment and reviewed the post here: https://mndcanttakemyeyes.wordpress.com/category/assignments/assignment-3/
- It was apparent then that ‘Day 1’ doesn’t necessarily equate to print 1, etc, and the work began to fit together more for me as a viewer with no experience of your day to day reality.
- Once I read the online diary alongside the pictures the work came together so I think you will need to consider this when you collate the work for formal assessment. Perhaps longer, diary entry captions on the back of each print? Or text (just a few lines that hit the heart of that day’s entry) under the image on the print might work. As you have your own printer perhaps try a few different approaches and see which works.
- In terms of presentation the prints looked good but you don’t need the plastic inserts. Just a portfolio box of A4 prints with labels on the back is acceptable and appropriate for assessment.
Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity
I see that you weren’t able to complete one of the exercises. This isn’t the end of the world and you should not be penalised for it at assessment. I will forward your comments to the Unit leader and we will think of a compromise for future students. I agree they could be worded better but the first part at least is entirely optional and depending on students still having access to a manual film camera. The second part though does not need to be completed from an elevated position, it is just easier. Your view shown in the window (photograph 5) is actually ideal for the exercise. The exercise is all about understanding how the view can be a multi-layered scene and is designed to encourage students to look at everything with in the frame, rather than just the aspect that caught their eye.
Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis
I noticed you spent some time looking at Fay Godwin’s work. What you may not know is that Godwin made several bodies of colour work, the most interesting of which were one set looking through greenhouse glass and another of found objects on a beach photographed with a scanner. You can find all of Godwin’s archives on the British Library website.
I see that you include a lot of research into other photographers with the actual assignment but I wonder if these sections might be better separated away and in their own posts within the Research section of your learning log. You can then link to them from within the assignment post. This will then demonstrate very quickly to the assessors the breadth of your wider research into photography.
Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis
The blog is easy to navigate. My one hesitation is as I mention above, that perhaps you would be best served by dividing the research included within the assignment post into separate posts under the research category.
Whilst not dealing with physical disability, I think you could do a lot worse than spend some time looking at John Darwell’s ‘A Black Dog came calling’, all about his experiences with depression after the loss of his wife.
Overall, I am pleased with work on this assigment given the limitations I had. David makes some relevant points in particular “At first, I struggled not with your approach to ‘the decisive moment’, as the indecisive moment is just as valid, but with how your diary entries related to the pictorial content of the pictures. Once I found your website and read through the assignment post everything became much clearer and I thought the work was very effective in communicating an autobiographical ‘decisive moment’.”
I can see why this could be the case perhaps my labelling of the prints did not necessarily make sense with the text and the suggestion by David, “I would suggest finding a way of matching up small segments of text with each picture. These might be written on the prints or printed on the labels, the final method depends on how you want to personalise the work further.”
I researched John Darwell’s work as far as I can at the moment as the thesis is currently not avaible to me until I visit Kent University Templeman’s Library. However, I found a e-book with a study of Darwell’s work. I was struck by the similarity to my print submissions. Darwell must have had quite a traumatic time with the death of his wife, which caused his depression. I have to agree with sterotyping that depression is ‘ a black hole’ or ‘darkness’. Depression is not like that or for me personally. I would say it a sense of hopelessness, feeling lost and living at time without a purpose and difficult to be motivated; at times life seems quite normal, whatever that is? But that ‘black dog’ is never far behind snapping at your heels dragging you back to the dark corners of your thoughts and mind and the world looks upside down.
Mental helath is more widely accepted and without the stigmatism that it has had. But I found the images of the decay and abandoned mental health hospital a refelction of today’s NHS crisis and it cannot cope with the demands placed on it. A lack of resources, buildings and mental heath beds. I find it very sad.
A couple of years ago when I was more mobile I visited an old mental health unit that had long since been abandoned. St. Augstine’s hospital had a eerie echo of it’s former use but to me echoed the decay; metophorically representing mental health. It is very easy to slip into the state of chaos and find no way out from the labyrinth of corridors.
I found a couple of articles about the life of St. Augstine’s, which closed in 1993. https://www.kentlive.news/news/nostalgia/gallery/inside-one-kents-most-infamous-980615
The hospital succumb to vandalism, theft and damage and with exposure to the elements felll into decline. The NHS, sold the land and properties and moved to St. Martin’s, Canterbury. I have my own thoughts on the ‘new’ hospital having visited with patients as a Police Officer and I can easily see some of the old victorian buildings falling the same way as St. Augstine’s. It all feels a bit unloved and uncaring when you arrive not exactly a place of rehabiliation and recovery.
Mental Health, is a massive issue with underfunding and the government’s promises to plough extra resources into it. I only hope that we have not gone too far to cope with demands placed on a creeking system.
On the recommendation of my tutor I looked at Fay Godwin’s colour work, which it would seem that she turned to later on in her career. Godwin’s colour photographs’ are a total contrast to the more traditional black and white early years. She seems to have focused in minute detail.
Godwin’s Pioneer Glassworks series (1999) produced abstract work of leaves, flower petals shot through a diffused medium such as glass or netting, and mixed with debris and detritus working at close range to the subject. I found one example in the British Library Prints. (Fay Godwin: Glassworks and Secret Lives, no date)
I now feel I missed an opportunity here that St. Augustine’s was perfect for producing some interesting photography with all the old and ruined parts of the building and infrastructure left behind. Sadly, not a place that I can re-visit as it is now demolished and became very, very unsafe. But Dungeness has a wealth of old fish netting, delopodated fishing huts and old boats, so perhaps this this maybe a project I can start when the warmer weather arrives.
Godwin was filmed in ‘Don’t fence me in’ a production by Malachiterthe most fascinating abstract work using a digital scanner and artifacts she found beachcombing and by placing them onto the bed of the scanner producing mysterious, accidental compositions in contrast to her macro photography of tangled beach finds. (Mapleston, 2014)
My tutor suggested, “Once I read the online diary alongside the pictures the work came together so I think you will need to consider this when you collate the work for formal assessment. Perhaps longer, diary entry captions on the back of each print? Or text (just a few lines that hit the heart of that day’s entry) under the image on the print might work. As you have your own printer perhaps try a few different approaches and see which works.”
I gave this a great deal of thought and having looked at Darewell’s work and how it was produced with small captions I felt this enhanced my photographs. It took a little figuring out how to produce the final work. I used a combination of Lightroom and Photoshop to create the final set of images.
I think I worked to literally and that each image had to be in the order of the day I took them, when in fact it works in any order and adding my diary gives more of an insight to each image and as a collection. I am pleased with the final seven photographs and could easily add to this.
Mapleston, C. (2014) Don’t Fence Me In – Fay Godwin’s Photographic Journey. Available at: https://vimeo.com/88588932 (Accessed: 19 February 2018).