Tutor Report Form
Student name: Edward Lerpiniere
Student number: 506079
Course/Module title: Photography 1: Art of Photography
Assignment number: 2: Elements of Design
Thanks for this assignment. You have completed it in good time, and I’m glad to see you make a good start to the module. I really hope you can make the most of this momentum and I’m sure this energy can only improve every aspect of your photography. I’m very happy with the presentation of your work on your blog. It is very navigable and clearly laid out. The accompanying notes are useful and give an impression of a considered approach to learning and a commitment to make the most of the module. Please could you number your assignment images though for easy reference?
Feedback on assignment
I had a quick look at your first assignment as well and the tutor feedback. I noticed they picked up on the compositional aspects. Hopefully this assignment was an opportunity to really hone the compositional elements of image making (yes, I generally like to think of it as making rather than taking). With that said however, I do feel that these raw ingredients (forgive the pun) have been a little ‘over-cooked’ – the images feel rather too ‘made’ an a bit contrived in places.
Students can fall into two one of two traps with this assignment: i) they go out, take a load of images rather instinctively and look back at them later, picking out the ones that they think fulfil the brief, or, ii) get a little too focused on creating the ‘right’ compositional relationships that it becomes more important than whether or not the image is interesting in itself, irrespective of whether it ticks the right boxes in terms of the ‘brief’. I feel you’ve fallen into the second camp a little.
Raw food is a perfectly valid choice of subject matter for this assignment, and artists over the years have returned to this subject a lot. Your research skills are great, but perhaps in this instance it might have paid off to do a little more visual research into how artists have used food, ranging from still life painting to contemporary professional food photographers. Edward Weston made some famous images using peppers that might have been nice to reference.
In any case, I think you have responded relatively well to the brief and I will look at your images individually:
I like the first image of the garlic, which has nice contrast next to the black, scratched surface. This image feels quite authentic, but the second one with the single clove to the right somehow looks a bit too contrived for me. The colour of the pink skin has been caught well though and there is a nice simplicity to the image.
Several Points in a Deliberate Shape was not found. It’s a shame as your description sounds interesting.
Ok I can see it now. Yes, this is a nice image, and it’s good that there is something made from ‘life’ in the assignment in addition to the still life shots.
Combination of Horizontal and Vertical:
This image almost works for me. The highly contrived approach actually works here, and it has a kind of Oriental feel to it. The bird’s-eye-view complements this simplicity too. I like the shadows – they add to the composition. A shame they couldn’t have been more defined.
The amount of shadow to leave in is something that’s difficult to get right I think, it’s all a matter of taste. I personally like more shadow than I’ve shown but I deliberately lightened everything up because on a course I did prior to joining OCA it was considered poor image making to have shadow, hey ho, different strokes and all that. I’ve taken the image and deepened the shadow a bit,
The French stick shot is ok, but I think there’s too much tablecloth and not enough of the food – much more appetizing! (Remember, food photography should make the mouth water!)
I see what you mean and in hindsight I agree that it would have been better to get closer to the main bulk of the food, but I was so intent upon showing good diagonals that I messed up the whole image as a consequence.
It isn’t all that obvious what the pasta is, so perhaps you could have exploited this a little more. The tonal contrast is nice and this would work in monochrome. But if you are going to contrive an image and make it look graphic and modernist, make it really graphic, and try to balance the frame a little better (there’s an imbalance in the bottom left of the frame).
That bottom left corner is a bit bare now you’ve brought it to my attention.
Distinct, Even If Irregular Shapes:
These are the weakest images for me – they just look somewhat random, these 5 halved bits of veg. Perhaps if the background was dark or a bright colour then this might work a little better. Think about how objects in a still life might block light falling onto others. The poor carrot is in the shade and has no definition.
Fully agree and I’ll be replacing that image with something better before assessment submission.
You’ve caught the texture of the baguette well but the background is a bit cluttered. As a viewer, I don’t really feel a triangle is being implied – it just looks a bit messy.
You’re absolutely right, it didn’t look too bad at the time, but once again with hindsight it’s an awful attempt. I’ll be changing that one too before assessment.
Rhythm & Pattern:
I really like these two images, although they are rather similar, so it would have been nice to see two more different images. Anyway – the white veins of the cabbage leaves contrast well with the darker leaves, and they complement the white background. The lighting is a bit flat but you can get a sense of the waxy texture though. These images do have a beauty to them and I want to look at them. I like the depth of field you have achieved with the second image as well.
This is coming along really well. It’s full of your personal responses to contemporary photography, and it exactly what we like to see. The blog should also be a place where you can upload work that might not necessarily be directly related to the module – it would be good to see more of your self-directed work. (I appreciate your fiber log may be where you want to put this, but, for assessment purposes, it would help if things were more streamlined. I didn’t actually have a chance to look at this because I wanted to have a good look through your blog. But whatever works for you.)
Usually this is where I start telling students in my sternest, teachery voice, about the importance of reading around the subject, attending galleries and generally making oneself aware of what’s going on in the world of photography, but I’m refreshed that this isn’t necessary in your case. These are a few useful sites and blogs to be aware of, some of which will give you regular updates if you wish to subscribe.
The Guardian’s photography pages:
The British Journal of Photography: http://www.bjp-online.com/
Source Photographic Review: http://www.source.ie
1000 Words Photography online magazine http://www.1000wordsmag.com
Foto8 – publishers of documentary photography and photojournalism
Victoria & Albert Museum’s Photography pages:
La Lettre de la Photographie: daily updates on photography worldwide:
American Suburb X: a rich resource of interviews etc by contemporary practitioners
The magazines associated with some of these website are worth getting hold of as well if they look like your cup of tea.
Don’t feel like you haven’t ‘got’ this assignment, Eddy – you have. And there is plenty of evidence of this throughout the exercises that relate to this unit, but I’d liked to see something a little ‘freer’. Keep taking lots of pictures, and don’t get bogged down with rules. Weston once said something like: consulting the rules of composition before taking a picture is like consulting the rules of physics before stepping out your front door.
All the best,