Reflections on Progress as at 31st July 2012

Thoughts on feeling stuck

Instead of putting pen to paper or my hands to the keys I’ve spent considerable time over the past few weeks mulling over in my mind why I’m stuck.  It isn’t that I haven’t been taking photographs towards the project exercises or the next assignment because I have. I’ve even formatted an individual handwriting font for myself via so that instead of laboriously handwriting reflections, and giving myself aching thumbs into the bargain, I can just zip my thoughts down more quickly. However, images have been processed but not written up and my thoughts on the ‘Out of Control’ exhibition remain unwritten.

There was something about a part of my tutor’s feedback (on 1st Assignment) that made me feel as if he was perceiving me as someone who had only just started on a Course with OCA even though he had also made comments about my AOP blog. It got me wondering whether all my previous study and reflection was lost somehow so that I’m starting with a blank slate. This bothered me so much that I began a new discussion thread on the OCA student site (General/Tutors Questions) on 16th July Here’s the link for those readers who are able to access the student website. 

It took a while but the thread gathered momentum with tutor responses and also from other students. In brief, what came through it is that yes, in essence, we arrive at a new Module armed with all our previous knowledge/skill/experience. This is our starting point and we are then assessed as to how we develop from there. This implies that we are assessed on an individual basis yet against the criteria so there must be some kind of levelling process. I’m thinking here of those people with lots of practical/prior experience, maybe professional photographers as well as against almost novices (which I certainly was in January 2011). Out of all that came my realisation that I hadn’t actually rounded off AOP by doing my own summary of progress. This should really form my own platform for growth and needs to be done. I also decided to keep an occasional reflective ‘diary’ that can be as in depth as I wish for my paper log but edited for my blog as I feel necessary (this post is a part of it). I will print this on different coloured paper and it will form a section in itself in both my blog and paper log

Looking for Inspiration

We spent a few days in Cornwall last week staying on the edge of Bodmin Moor. I didn’t take many photographs (part of my current lack of motivation) but we walked on the Camel Trail a couple of times where I did some shots of the ruins of a china clay depot (standing by what was once a railway line and is now part of the Camel Trail) and also of the river camel. Lovely dappled light falling through the trees and creating swirls of coloured reflections in the water. It felt so liberating to just take a photograph of something I liked and not having to bother about apparatus, props and whether I was being artistic or not.


When I looked at the images afterwards they reminded me of Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poem:

Pied Beauty

Glory be to God for dappled things –

For skies of couple-colour as a brindled cow;

For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that Swim;

Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ Wings;

Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough;

And all trades,  their gear and tackle trim,

All things counter, original, spare strange;

Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)

With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;

He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:

Praise him.

There was a post on WeAreOCA recently about finding inspiration in poetry – not new to me because I had written along those lines on my AOP blog last year.  This time though it was the other way round because my photograph had evoked the memory of the poem for me. I’m not religious but Manley Hopkins’ poetry often rings true with me. I’d forgotten how much I enjoy his poetry so I’ve ordered a new book from Amazon.

Where am I now?

I was surprised to get an email from OCA before the weekend informing me that the Assessment results were available much sooner than anticipated and would be posted on the student site on 31st July (with written breakdown of different section marks and assessor comments/advice for future study to arrive in the post by 17th August). This was done anonymously rather than the intended route which had been to post our student numbers as well, with the promise that we would receive individual emails by the end of 1st August.

So, today dawned and the results were posted on the student site at lunchtime. I still didn’t know where I stood though in the variation of grades.  Thankfully, an email arrived not too long afterwards and I attained a mark of 75%.  I’m very pleased that my hard work had a good result although there is that little bit of me that worries that I’ll never be able to attain as good a result for People & Place given my current low motivation.

Hopefully I’ll be able to recover my enthusiasm now that I’m no longer in the limbo of waiting for a result.  I’m optimistic that a celebratory drink or two of bubbly, followed by a good night’s sleep, will see me waking up with renewed energy and determination to get to grips with People & Place. Watch this space!

31st July 2012