Tutor Report Form
Student name: Edward Lerpiniere
Student number: 506079
Course/Module title: Photography 1: Art of Photography
Assignment number: 3: Colour
Thanks for your assignment, delivered in good time. Usually I give feedback in quite a regular manner: I look through the log first, write some notes on it, and then go over your assignment in depth. I’ve had a look through your blog, spend a little while writing up about it and come to your assignment, and I’m not at all that sure how useful it will be for you, and how effective a use of my time, to go through it image by image. So, I’ve decided not to!
Learning Log & Suggested reading/viewing
Your blog is a wonderful documentation of your ongoing interlocution on the ontological nature of photography. (I thought you’d like that!) Seriously, it is very interesting to read about your genuine struggle with much contemporary photography and your more pictorialist instincts. Unlike a lot of students however, you have actually attempted to understand some of these key texts, and I really take my hat off to you for your dedication. I think we discussed quite a lot over e-mail over the past weeks, so I won’t go on too much about this. I don’t want to really overload you with reading, but Ian Jeffrey’s How to Read a Photograph is a great book – lots of pictures, short, snappy analysis and some really interesting photographers featured that are often ignored from the ‘canon’ of great photographers. It’s certainly a lot easier going than some of the other stuff you’ve been reading. I too found your comment about Barthes amusing…
Judging by your comment about Similar Colours no.7 – I don’t really think you’ve really grasped what I was trying to communicate to you: being contemporary or progressive isn’t just about making a less inspiring image as opposed to a more attractive one. I also don’t really understand why you are aspiring to make imagery or pursue a genre you don’t like. Contemporary Photography is the kind of thing I’m interested in, but there are plenty of other aspects of photography that are interesting and worth looking into, especially if this High Art business is getting to you. There is nothing wrong with aspiring to make beautiful images: this is how some commercial photographers make a very decent living, for example.
Personally, I just think you need to think less about photography as a means to make pretty pictures to hang on the wall, and just think about using photography to explore things that interest you – this is a more documentary approach. All (well, most), of the photographs that you have been criticizing weren’t made to hang on a wall – they were made in exploration of something else: Don’t think “Martin Parr: maker of ordinary photographs”: try and think “Martin Parr: photographer of Britishness, cultural stereotypes and global consumerism.” Then ask whether his pictures convey these subjects effectively, not “do I want it on my living room wall?” You can’t criticize a gun dog for failing to round up sheep.
I wouldn’t criticize you if you do want to focus on more commercial imagery, and I will support you if this is what you want to do, because I know you have really attempted to get to grips with this. But life is too short… Just photograph what interests you, not what you think I will be pleased to see.
Feedback on assignment
As I said, I looked at your assignment backwards. There is some strong imagery here, but I am compelled to pick up on at least one photograph that doesn’t look recent – the starfish. There are a couple of instances where the course does ask you to look through your archive for specific images, but apart from that, all of the images for your assignment should be made within the time period of the module. The dust marks are a bit of a giveaway… The point of the course is to develop your photographic skills and interests (I’m deliberately not using the word ‘progressive!’) and it is just a waste of yours and my time using your stock images.
I just wanted to say that the image of the starfish hasn’t got dust on it, that’s the sort of debris there is in water and causes a great deal of “back-scatter” that is the bane of the underwater photographers life. In this case I enhanced the sharpness of the image from what I had originally and it brought those small phytoplankton to the fore unfortunately. It takes a great deal of jiggery pokery with flash positioning to reduce the effects and this was probably the best result I could get at the time.
I take your criticism of the age of the image, and quite a few others in that series, and now realise that in future I’ll have to use contemporaneous photographs wherever and whenever possible unless specifically permitted otherwise.
With that said (and moving back to the beginning of your assignment) I agree that life isn’t really like a colour wheel and there is a degree of artifice to the assignment, and no, I certainly don’t expect you to follow precise ratios. All I want to say on this is that you use colour effectively and obviously have a good observation of it and see how it can contribute to the composition of your photographs.
What really concerned/encouraged me was reading that the first image (Maize inspired) was part of a personal project. I want to see more!!! Please, please use these briefs as a way to present your work: Don’t work for the briefs – make them work for you. You’ve got a subject – this is exactly what I mean. Now just photograph it and use your skills to make strong images of it. Are the purple and the red ladies, drinking rose also from this series? This is a lovely image and the colours really convey the sense of positivity I think you are trying to express in this work. Great work. The image on the first page of Sylvia’s painted nails is also very strong indeed. Keep this project up.
Just work instinctively.
Dare I say it, Eddy? I think you might be being a bit contemporary….