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Last post here

We got our marks for this module yesterday, and I was very pleased with my 70%. After not doing so well in C&N, this was a pleasant surprise and a great fillip for my ongoing work on Digital Image & Culture. The assessors’ comments were:

 This was a strong submission which demonstrated a close attention to detail in terms of presentation and creative output. The blog (which was easy to navigate) showed evidence of indepth analysis of practitioners and research into key theorists as referenced in the course notes. There also appeared to be a clear link evident regarding how the research had driven the practice, which is good to observe at Level 01.
The assignments showed progression throughout the module and were varied in terms of both creative output and subject matter explored. This module should be viewed as a positive step towards Level 02 of the programme.

So, onwards and upwards. My new blog can be found at https://hollyocadic.wordpress.com/

 

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Final Thoughts on Identity & Place

So here I am. The third module of the degree finished and sent off for assessment, and it is time to review this module and where I plan to go to next.

Identity & Place has taken me nearly two years to complete, and I really struggled over the early assignments. Portrait photography is not my genre of choice, and I doubt I had taken a single deliberate portrait before I started this unit, which was why I signed up for it. However, once I had grasped the nettle and pulled, I began to enjoy some, if not all, of the potential for learning that I&P offered. As I was packing my images for posting, it is blindingly obvious that my technical and printing skills have improved significantly, although I would argue that there is still a long way to go, particularly with composition and lighting.

I would say I am happier with the quality of assignments 4 and 5 than the previous ones, and have been thinking about why that is. Assignment 4 had no people in it, being an exploration of a derelict building, while in assignment 5 the figure is only shown in silhouette, and so remains faceless, so neither get up close and personal with their subjects.

Two events were pivotal in stimulating a move forward in my work. The first was a bookmaking course I attended at the SW OCA group, and which was led by OCA tutor Polly Harvey. I have felt much more creative since taking that course, and have expanded my work beyond straight vanilla photographs towards something which explores the physical reality and materiality of the image and how it is presented. The second was the result of a chance post on Facebook that I happened to see, and which led to me to the POZERS Camera Club, a local group of women photographers who meet at a member’s studio and explore the potential of studio photography. Many hours of fun and learning have taken place there, and most of my personal favourite images of 2017. I had never previously considered that I might enjoy studio photography, with its connotations of ‘art nude’ (female, of course) and family portraits. However, this group is full of creativity and we are led by Alley, the studio owner, who has a background as a make-up artist and costume designer, and no end of whacky ideas, and I love it. Together these events have enabled me to step away from straight photography and to explore the medium in a more craft-based way.

Alongside the coursework, I have visited a variety of exhibitions ranging from Grayson Perry at the Arnolfini in Bristol to Joel Sternfeld, William Eggleston and Thomas Ruff in London, amongst others. Of particular interest has been those exhibitions such as Perry’s and Jane Corbett’s in Marlborough, which use media other than photography. The overlap of ideas and the potentially different ways in which those ideas can be made into artwork is myriad, and very inspiring.

At the end of the module,  I feel much more comfortable about finding my voice. That voice is almost certainly going to come from exploring the ways in which the image can be manipulated physically and digitally, and how different art forms can be brought together to make objects that have elements of each, and crucially, which are unique, as in one-off. Producing something material that is not easily replicable is the almost inevitable result of mixing photography with bookmaking, sewing, knitting, patchwork etc. and it seems to provide a fairly clear pathway forward for me, especially when womens’ arts and feminism are added to the mix. The other area I would like to explore further is the archive, and how it can be set up to provide a pool of primary research material into which I can dip a toe here and there to consider why we make photographs. So the obvious next module for me to do is Digital Image and Culture, which I will be starting very shortly. The new blog can be found here: https://hollyocadic.wordpress.com/ .

In the meantime, I am involved in two OCA related collaborative projects:-

  • the Thames Valley group exhibition on the theme of Time, which will be shown in February 2019
  • a notebooks project to provide ideas and inspiration with the South West OCA group

I have also contributed to MA student Mathew Arnold’s project Grey Matters and forged some interesting links with local artists through the Marlborough open Studios event. Overall, I am very pleased with how much I have progressed during this module and look forward to seeing where the next one will take me.

Note to the assessors

Dear Assessors,
Thank you for taking the time to evaluate my work.

My learning log is online at: https://hollyocaidentityplace.wordpress.com/. For previous modules, I have presented everything on my blog, but this time I have made two supplementary journals, for a) formal research work and b) Experiments and practical/technical learning. Thus the online blog does not include all the exercises.

The blog is in descending date order except for the Assignments, which are shown in the following order:

  • final assignment, with amendments
  • tutor feedback
  • initial submission
  • preparatory research

Coursework which I have added to the blog can be found under the Coursework tab. and non-course specific Research, Personal Reflections and Exhibition Reviews can all be found under the Research & Reflection tab.

Included in my physical submission pack are:

  • folders for assignments 1-3, including the Introduction and Background Commentary.
  • a folder for Assignment 4, including the Reflective Commentary and a handmade book, which is the actual assignment
  • a box labelled We Choose to Roar, which is Assignment 5. The box contains the images and a Reflective Commentary
  • a notebook labelled Photography Sketchbook No.1, which is my experimental logbook
  • a copy of this post

Where links are shown for references associated with each of the assignments, they can be followed via the corresponding online blog post.

All tutor reports have been uploaded to the Google Drive, as requested.

Thank you for your interest in my work.

Holly Woodward

Assignment 4 – decisions about editing

I made a second visit to the location of my assignment ( a derelict care home close to where I live) this morning with a fellow student (thanks Kate for coming along so I didn’t feel so nervous that I might be robbed, murdered, or fall through a hole in the ceiling).  I now have enough images to make a selection for the assignment. Here is the long list, and I plan to accompany it by a series of words or phrases taken from generic care home advertisements, along the lines of person centred care, individual, respect, understanding, etc. The assignment will also include an introduction explaining the history and background of what happened to this home for dementia patients, and my aim is to ask viewers to consider how the residents might have felt about being moved from a place they were familiar with, notwithstanding the concerns about poor quality care, to totally new homes at only a day’s notice.

 

The editorial process, again.

Further to my last post about the Marlborough Open Studios, I’ve selected some images for the contacts, and am now playing with them to see what works and what doesn’t. At present, there are three sets of images that I consider to be possibilities

  • Artists at work.

    2. Artists in their studios.

    3. A series of diptychs of artists and examples of their work, such as the example below.

    Other possibilities include:

  • studies of hands at work, though I don’t have enough for a comprehensive series.
  • studios and work, but no people (an interesting idea, though again I am not sure I have enough empty studios in my set).
  • tools of the trade and work, but no people again. An example is shown below. I am quite taken with this idea, and wonder whether to go with it. However, the single most important aspect of the whole venture was the people and how well many of us got on, so realistically I need to go with a variation of one of the numbered series above.