People & Place Assignment 5: Response to Tutor feedback

I was pleased to have the usual quick feedback from my tutor, especially as this is the final Assignment for the module. His overall comments were brief but positive so good to start with:-

Overall this has been another good assignment. I was impressed with the lengths you went to find an interesting subject and explore it in an interesting way. I thought you hit upon something interesting by finding a long term resident and this may have been the best avenue to explore –a series influenced by Geoffrey’s memories of a life spent in this place. If you could fit in another trip then this would be a very interesting avenue to pursue –speak to Geoffrey whilst showing him your photographs and see what memories they conjure. If you record this session then you could use this information as the basis for captions for the photographs. This would form a fascinating link between the photographs of Geoffrey and his home and the photographs of the wider space. This is certainly not a requirement for level one though and may be just something to consider in later modules.

  • Re my query regarding different sizes of prints:  a  mock-up of a magazine article can dictate how the work is viewed and relative sizes of each photo.  I can still present prints of different sizes but this works better on a wall than submitting a portfolio of loose prints.
  • Agreement that this could be a very interesting multimedia project – with video and audio interviews alongside still photographs of the landscape.
  • I should have held out for the ultra-modern interior, ultra-wide lens shot from same viewpoint, as an interesting counterpoint.  Certainly ,Geoffrey and I had talked about how this type of house can adapt itself to different ages and types of furniture etc and this idea is something I can always return to in the future.
  • Portrait submitted of Geoffrey not the strongest and suggestion that 5579 is a more natural composition.  I had thought of that one but hadn’t been sure because of the angle that had been necessary due to the small amount of space for manoeuvring with my camera.
  • A portrait of Geoffrey is important to avoid interior shots becoming a bit “’Through the Keyhole-esque’”.   Also a detail shot does give the sense of the house being a lived-in space and my tutor liked the idea of 5722 which shows the built-in cupboard between kitchen and dining area.  Suggestions made re the crop and straightening but I’d already done that – I hadn’t included this in my final 12 because it was portrait orientation and I’d thought this would make it ‘stick-out’ and lead to a comment about it.
  • My overall edit is interesting – particularly those showing the close relationship between the estate and the landscape. On that point I may need to open the series a little differently – showing the houses within their setting.  5722 suggested but without the car. I had used that image in my write-up when discussing my visits to Templemere.   An initial attempt at ‘removing’ the car hadn’t worked. Also a suggestion that, (although I have already done it this way),  I more definitely divide  the series into 3 ‘Acts’  – houses in their setting, residents and interiors, wider forest setting.
  • With Geoffrey as the only person I need captions relating to how he sees the place. Suggestion of visit to him with my final pictures so that he can relate his memories of living in this place. This would tie the work together and make the series about his life within this space.
  • As I’d expected, my tutor also did a slightly different rough edit

Here is my original edit:

Screen Shot 2013-09-20 at 14.38.46

Here is my tutor’s edit:

Screen Shot 2013-09-20 at 14.35.24

My tutor has chosen the more contextual portrait of Geoffrey, and replaced the shot of the two chairs with a wider view of the living area that also shows his original room heater.  The closer shot giving more prominence to the room heater is replaced by the cupboard detail. I had originally thought of  5471 for one view of the houses but had decided against that because the grass had turned brown due to the prevailing hot, sunny weather without rain.

  • My tutor noted also that it might be useful to have a view out of a window that, ‘could serve to tie the forest and estate images together’.  Geoffrey has nets at his window which was why I hadn’t done that.
  • So far as technical details were concerned my tutor had noticed I was getting some chromatic aberration where the sky comes through the trees and suggested the fix. This was because of my attempts to reduce the extremes between almost white skies at times and dark greenery. Prints generally acceptable although some a little cool looking and one print (No. 12) was a bit green. Fix suggested.  I’ll do a re-check when the prints have been returned to me.
  • A wider reading list of blogs suggested. In fact I do have a long list of blogs I follow which also include art; creative writing and design. Some I follow through WordPress but others from different hosts are followed via Bloglovin. I hadn’t entered links onto my blog because it is such a long list. In fact I’ve decided that for my next blog (DPP) I won’t include a blog roll unless there’s a different way of doing this.

Action taken

I arranged another visit to Geoffrey. I intended to show him contact sheets of my edit, my tutor’s edit and the set of 6×4 prints of my second selection and then, after discussing them, to suggest he might choose his own 12. I also wanted to see if I could get another view of the houses in context, without cars, and maybe another with greener grass.

I had a really pleasant two hours with Geoffrey who was very interested in all the photographs (although not enthused about the portraits of himself that I’d  posted to him some time ago, thinking that he looked ‘so old’.) I recorded most of our conversation on my iPhone as well. After discussing both edits and  going through all the 6×4 prints Geoffrey then chose his own twelve. I must admit to maybe being over-encouraging that he should choose one of himself. I also mentioned about a shot from the window and he was all for that, although it would have to be through the net curtain downstairs as the rail was in a flimsy state for moving it.  I also had a tour upstairs and was able to photograph through an open window there. On the way back to my car I took more photographs of houses in context. Cars were still there and to cut them out gave a narrower view.  Here are the best of some of the photographs I took.

Templemere retakes ContactSheet-001 low resTemplemere retake ContactSheet-002 low res

I now had decisions to make about my own ‘final’ edit based on my tutor’s feedback, Geoffrey’s own views and the new images.  The ‘dialogue with Geoffrey has been very important to me in understanding the underlying approaches to the creation of Templemere and its continuing effect on its residents. I think I’ve been very fortunate in being able to engage in such a positive collaboration and with such an interesting and welcoming person. Not forgetting Bill and Brenda Boyd as well who facilitated my project so smoothly. I therefore want my final choice to embody something of their  attachment to Templemere,  whilst including my tutor’s suggestions but still being ‘mine’.

I chose my ‘final’ 12 but then got to wondering about differences between an original more spontaneous edit and then a subsequent one through the filter of other people’s feedback. There have been crossovers of course but any edits are the outcome of individual viewers’ perspectives. How much might I have lost my original response to Templemere? I decided to allow a night’s sleep to process everything. Woke up thinking about the woods and that I could do a ‘side’ series on them. I’ve done my own printing so far but it might be worth ordering a trial print on aluminium.  I put out a query on OCA Flickr and, having considered suggestions/advice I’ve went ahead and ordered one print on metallic paper. I actually like the effect but have heeded warnings on it not being a good idea to submit shiny prints for Assessment. I’ve now ordered a different type of ‘metallic’ photopaper from Permajet and will experiment with that in due course. This is a side series though so I must return to my Templemere edit which I decided not to change from the previous night.

Here are my final 12.


I decided that, here, it would be most useful for me to produce a book to contain captions and also a small amount of narrative. I prepared a proof copy and got some feedback and then re-edited a final copy. Here is a PDF (open it up in two page view)

Templemere final version reduced pdf

and here is the book on the Blurb site.

The book should arrive in time for me to send with assessment material as ‘supplementary’ work. I’ve been thinking a lot about narrative and I hope that the book can be understood in it’s own right.

Conclusion and thoughts for some continuing work

I enjoyed working on all aspects of the project.  I’ve been pleased as well that I have enough reasonable images to enable different edits. I had thought of recording an interview but that was more in passing, as in something to do for a future project, as I knew that I would have to do some concentrated learning on this.  I’m pleased though that my tutor’s feedback actually gave me the necessary push to go along with the recording and to talk more with Geoffrey about the photographs. I intend to create a book just for him as well, with his favourite images included and also to do one which will be just about Templemere itself.  This will enable me to include images I had to omit for the final 12 re-edit.  It really was hard to choose just 12! I have endeavoured to take into account my tutor’s comments on processing/colour whilst printing the definitive final 12, particularly with the colour green.

I still have the recording and will experiment with ways of linking it with some of the photographs in a video format.  I’ll add it here if I have time before assessment.  Now onward to getting everything ready to send off for Assessment and completing Study Visit write-ups etc before Assessment day..

30th September 2013