"There’s a classic tension here, which I often see, between the images you want to make and the images that you think you ought to make.
Some students go the safe route and just photograph what they think they’re being asked to photograph and end up with a collection of generic images that they perhaps didn’t enjoy making and haven’t really moved them any further forward, which they get a middling mark for.
Other students will use it as a base line to set off from in a direction that interests them, have a good learning experience from it and produce work that’s progressive and interesting to view.
You’ve landed somewhere in the middle; although, as you say, ‘I realise in hindsight, I was limiting myself by thinking like this.’ "
Good feedback from Clive on this assignment and no real surprises on what he thought worked and what didn’t. I am very disappointed that I submitted such pedestrian images just because I’d had some sort of weird ‘Photographer’s Block’ for so long and desperately wanted to move forward.
Clive reminded me that I need to be sure that an image really resonates with me above all, before worrying so much about whether it fits the brief. Good photography is more important than anything. I do feel that this anxiety and over-analysing is hampering my creativity. I should be being much more experimental and using my intuition.
Some of my images were just snapshots with no real heart – particularly the Christchurch set and the Spitalfields pics (possibly the most dull images I have ever captured). Clive also mentioned that a lot of people choose railway stations for this assignment.
Worst image = B3. Just a snapshot with no sense of an organised picture space. No creativity of composition. Could have maybe shot from parallel to the subjects? B4 – had potential but not straight on the horizontal and needed human interest. Probably looks obvious to the viewer that I did not want to even be there. Churches are not really my thing. The tutor report also suggested more attention to the shadow areas on B2
Paddington C1 – could have been cropped better – use shadow lines to lead to some interesting human activity. Also blown highlights near the dog. C2 equally dull. C3 – am fairly happy with – empty platform and then cross-patch of humans – interesting dynamic. C4 – also ok, nice energy – Clive mentioned that it looks like red door has just dropped open when the train landed.
Spitalfields – could have got in tighter and used mannequins/humans to more interesting effect. No one fascinating in shot. Use wide angle so can get close but still leave space.
I am quite heartened by the fact that the Weavers Fields images are stronger, which indicates some progress during the assignment itself (and I should hope so, given it took me so long to complete!). I now need a step change in my approach to my work and must make sure that every image is as good as possible, rather than allowing the brief to lead me to settle for banal and amateur photographs.
One key thing is that I need to study other photographers much more. I think this will help me to understand better what kind of images interest and excite me, which will then help me to find my own ‘voice’.
Clive's final comment:
"We’ve got to get more Helen into the next assignment. It’s ‘Sense of Place’, forget the brief, interpret that as widely as you like and entirely please yourself; don’t do anything that feels like going through the motions or a chore and I’m sure the result will be worthy of you."