Here you can find a PDF with my tutor’s feedback on Assignment 2:
I am very happy with the feedback received, specially after my initial concerns with the direction my Assignment 2 was taking towards meeting the brief. I was quite aware that my ideas and approach were risky or at least not a very straightforward answer to the brief and I feared a negative feedback would make me have doubts about trying different routes than the obvious on following assignments.
My tutor seems to like my ideas and creative process and I appreciate his encouragement to continue on this line. As I started presenting one idea but ended up sending a different one for formal assessment, the feedback is directed to both, the initial and final work. As a response to the feedback, I am following the advice given and developing some concepts.
First, I am continuing with the initial project (which I called “Innominate”) by producing new images of the strangers that reply to my advert. All new work is published here. In addition, I am also working on the suggestion from my tutor about integrating the text from the titles on the photographs. I have not come to a final decision on which technique or aesthetics I want for the project yet, so I am still experimenting. I have tried scanning my handwriting, blending it on the image by playing with layering options. I like the result but I am not happy with the image quality of the text itself, so I am looking forward to try a drawing pad to see if I can gain some more definition of the handwriting.
The other option I am looking into came from a memory I have from an old photo my auntie gave me when I was about 8 years old. It was a picture of her in Egypt, with the pyramids behind her in the middle of the desert. It had some handwritten text on the back of it (my brother did it) so the photo had bumps at the front with the text appearing back to front. This annoyed me a great deal on that time but I think it could add a lot of personality to my images. Since the titles are secrets, the idea of writing them on the back of the photograph, almost as it would be hidden from the viewer, runs parallel to the whole concept that inspired the project. I found an old picture and wrote my name on the back of it, using a soft surface for support in order to get a greater relief. It did not work quite well, but I think it does depend on the colours/pattern at the front of the image where the text shows. So, the next step is getting the images printed and testing where the text would be more noticeable from the front. If it works, I will then scan the images and re-print them to see how the final result looks.
Secondly, different ways of continuing the submitted project (which I called “Almost 36”) were discussed during the verbal feedback with my tutor. He introduced me to artists such as Karl Baden and Tehching Hsieh, who committed to their self-portrait pieces in a way I could not have imagined before. Both, (Baden with his daily self portrait for a period of 30 years and Hsieh with what it is known as the “time-clock piece”, where he took a picture of himself every hour for a whole year) show not only an extraordinary tenacity but also a common interest in recording the passing of time. Hsieh´s work is quite amusing, as he spent a whole year inside a cage without talking, writing, reading or listening to the radio/tv before committing to the time clock piece for another year, in 1981. Still, after this one project was finished, he spent the following year living outdoors, without being able to go into any building, vehicle or tent.
I am not planing to modify the submitted series but I would like to use these ideas and the inspiration from Baden and Hsieh in future work. It has been a good experience for me and only now I can see how it would worth taking it to another level. I have been thinking a lot recently about memories and time and I am currently gathering information for future development of the idea of time and how it reflects on people and places. I am also thinking more about presentation of my work. My tutor gave me good examples during our verbal feedback and I realize that should be something I want to develop for future projects.
On the pointers for the next assignment, I am definitely going with the idea of “the indecisive moment”. After going through the exercises in Part Three and researching some of the artists suggested plus some others that I have encountered on the way, I have a clear idea of what I want to create. I really liked the work photographer Bettina Von Zwehl produced in her series “Alina” and the whole concept, which somehow freezes a moment where nothing seems to happen at the time that creates a perfectly valid piece. She could have triggered the flash in many other moments and the results would not have been better or worse, maybe not even different. Neither the sitters or Bettina herself could know how the image would look like. Is there such a thing as the decisive moment then?
– Bettina von Zwehl. (2017). Bettina von Zwehl. [online] Available at: http://www.bettinavonzwehl.com [Accessed 9 Sep. 2017].
– YouTube. (2017). Wasting Time – Tehching Hsieh. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfwDKJUlldU [Accessed 9 Sep. 2017].
– YouTube. (2017). Tehching Hsieh: One Year Performance 1980-1981. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvebnkjwTeU&t=210s [Accessed 9 Sep. 2017].