I received the feedback on Assignment 2 from my tutor. I was encouraged that I had fulfilled the brief but he made the comment that it lacked something, something with which I agree.
“I think the end series falls short of a really interesting set of images that would engage an objective audience but I have a feeling you are aware of this.”
I found this assignment very frustrating because I could not translate what I had in my mind into images on a page. Eventually I settled for something that I felt was not what I wanted to submit but I had spent so much time chasing it, I needed to submit something and move on. The end result was competent but not what I had wanted to achieve. In fact, it was probably what I had achieved with the Fire Officer photos but with a slightly different emphasis.
He suggested looking at Celia’s Children Albert + George Clark, Los Angeles April 7th 1982 composite polaroid, 35 x 23 1/4 in by David Hockney as a comparison to see how the connection could be made between a photographer and the subjects. I can see that the children are sitting awkwardly but there is a connection, and although they appear to be unwilling it is perhaps because of their age. With Barney, there was a sense that he was humouring me and I found it difficult to draw out of him exactly what it was I wanted to portray. I think that this is what my tutor is alluding to, that there is a distance between me as the photographer and Barney as a sitter. Hockney was not the boys’ parent but still managed to capture something of their youth with a fondness. Maybe that is where I failed in that Barney is my older son and that is the barrier to effectively direct him.
Portrait photography has never been my strong point, maybe photography is not my strong point, and this assignment confirmed how difficult it is to produce works that have a connection. One of the reasons that I choose to do academic study in photography is to stretch myself and try to get past the snapshot to something more interesting. In this assignment I had seen a glimpse of what I was trying to do while essentially playing around with an idea, and while I pursued this it actually got further away from me leaving me feeling frustrated, annoyed and doubting that I could do anything of any value. This is what my tutor picked up on but he has suggested that I might revisit the original idea again in order to experiment more to see what happens. I am aware of time constraints in that I don’t want to take the full two years but I would like to do exactly that to see if I can find what I was looking for, even bossing Barney around a bit more. I think that by not directing him and allowing him to do his own thing I actually moved away from creating something meaningful. Obviously I need to plan better and have a clearer idea of HOW I am going to achieve my goal rather then letting it happen around me. Maybe that is what my tutor is saying!