A thoughtful submission that fulfills the brief. The initial impression of straightforward wildlife photos belies your preparation and attempts to provide an alternative to the typical.
Feedback on assignment Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity
Notes from, and in addition to, our Skype tutorial :
You found the idea of ‘discounting stories’ difficult – we discussed the impossibility of removing narrative from individual and sequenced images.
This pushed you to look at birds – there is no story there, in fact “nothing there”, animals simply feed and look out for danger.
Your process involved you staking out, and waiting for them to come into your plane of vision.
This lack of storytelling, meant that the decisive moment is simply the birds and squirrels doing what they do.
I noted that in your images there is no critique of bird spotting cliches – ‘should there be?’ was the question I asked myself, is it my snobbery about ‘typical’ imagery. Are they in fact ‘work’ photos, evidential images? It brought to mind Mike Mandel and Larry Sultan’s work. Does there need to be something that’s against the typical or is that our prejudice towards this subject matter?
You noted that slowing down the very fast movements of wildlife leads to things that we can’t see with the naked eye.
We discussed how by using animals you were using, in effect, non actors. Despite this they look like staged images, particularly because of the black backdrop.
References – Neeta Madahar, Melanie Stidolph
I brought up the idea of peripataie in David Bate. How a good photo gets the message across. We then discussed the idea of privilege with reference to Cartier-Bresson.
The context is something that has started to interest you, potentially starting from this idea of Cartier Bresson
We discussed Julian Baggini’s Welcome to Everytown, in relation to your location – Baggini spent 6 months in your postcode.
Prints are fine, you used Photobox, and are happy to continue.
We discussed assignment 4. You want to challenge yourself with direction. Look at reference Bettina von Zwehl. Nicholas Nixon, the sisters. Hannah Starkey
Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays Context
With reference to the exercise shots of your dad – Bruce Gilden
Put some of your thoughts on books you have read in your blog.
Suggested reading/viewing Context
Keep up with the books! See one reference above.
We spoke about Sally Mann and your excitement of being inspired by her.
Pointers for the next assignment
You should follow your enthusiasm for light in Sally Mann’s work. I suggest the 2005 Phaidon book on the family.