Conclusion: Part 4 photography

Demonstration of subject based knowledge and understanding
Broad and comparative understanding of subject content, knowledge of the appropriate historical, intellectual, cultural or institutional contexts.

This part of the course was  valuable in widening my limited knowledge of photography and photographers. Thinking about the context of display and media context as well as spatio temporal considerations,  the beholder’s share etc  all widened my understanding. It was also valuable to consider the flood of photographic images we are deluged with today and how to manage it. I found myself particularly interested in documentary photography, the photographic road trip and beauty in the banal.

Demonstration of research skills
Information retrieval and organisation, use of IT to assist research, ability to evaluate IT sources, the ability to design and carry out a research project, locate and evaluate evidence from a wide range of primary and secondary sources (visual, oral, aural or textual).

I’ve become aware of curator talks and similar by galleries, universities and museums and will watch out for more of these online. At the OCA we don’t get to go to lectures and these can be used as a practical alternative. Overall I feel my research skills are sound and that I am well able to distinguish between commercial click bait and authoritative sources. I am becoming better at planning  my research from the outset  so that I do not waste time going off on tangents that overwhelm me with material that is not relevant… although it has to be acknowledged that this sometimes leads to intriguing discoveries.

Demonstration of critical and evaluation skills
Engagements with concepts, values and debates, evidence of analysis, reflection, critical thinking, synthesis, interpretation in relation to relevant issues and enquiries.

Assignment 5 on Marker’s film La Jetée pushed my critical and analytical skills to the limit. It was a difficult and esoteric film and I found plenty of research material about the construct but little  interpretation. There was also little in the artist’s own words to give me confidence. I was ambitious in terms of having a go but I definitely could have been braver and attempted a deeper analysis. The lesson I take away is that at this stage of my studies my  views have merit and I should have more confidence in my personal interpretation and not be afraid to express it.

The ability to communicate ideas and knowledge in written and spoken form, including presentation skills.

The exercises and the assignments continue to improve my ability to express myself in written and spoken forms. My understanding of different concepts and widening vocabulary is helping enormously. I am enjoying the essay writing and now welcome the opportunities to put pen to paper.

Ideas for my own practice and artists to research furthr

The idea of the photographic grid has stayed with me and I would like to carry this forward into a drawing project – perhaps featuring the  Dutch Quarter Doors.

The road trip photography and beauty in the banal is telling me to look beyond the pretty landscape to urban, commercial, wasted environments when I next focus on landscape.

I am much more aware now of how photography and film (which is really just a collection of still photos run together) can inspire my own practice in drawing and painting and that I can learn from  the subject matter, composition, angles, perspectives and innovative approaches.

Artists to return to: Jo Spence whose work challenges context; Matt Collishaw for his Death Row series of photographs and his extraordinary  3D zoetropes; Tacita Dean’s decaying fruit; Robert Franks, The Americans; Joel Meyerowitz, Ground Zero WTC; Alexsandra Mir, First Woman on the Moon; Robert Adams, New Topographics; Mitch Epstein, American Power (I felt this had huge current relevance).

And finally Fay Godwin, Forbidden Land. Her work makes me think about studying the written signs that are in my local environment to consider how I might incorporate them into text art.