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A4 C&N – self-reflection

Here I reflect on assignment 4 of C&N, A picture is worth a 1000 words, prior to submission my tutor (assignment link here).

I thoroughly enjoyed the assignment and learned a lot from it – before analysing the photo I was drawn to it intuitively, but through analysis I was able to understand some of the reasons for its appeal and articulate them. There were moments when I felt I was tapping into things that would have otherwise remained subconscious, particularly when considering ‘punctum’. The application of theory gives it tangible value and affirms its significance.

I faced a practical difficulty when writing the essay as I unthinkingly worked on it directly in WordPress, which has a weak spelling/grammar check engine and doesn’t allow for effective tracking of changes / versioning. It wasn’t much helped by Apple Pages when I copy/pasted there for assistance – although it helpfully provided a word count on the body of the essay only, the spelling/grammar check seems fairly weak and errors needed to be identified by painstaking proof reading. The lesson was learned and I’ve now installed a copy of Word on my Mac (Microsoft Office helpfully discounted to £9.95 through my employer).

Against the OCA assessment criteria, I conclude:

  • Demonstration of technical skills – I effectively applied concepts and tools of reading photographs to the analysis and wrote a well-structured essay.
  • Quality of outcome – surprisingly, the limit of 1,000 words made the essay feel a little contrived – demonstrating technical skills within that limit felt a little forced. However, I think the essay makes an interesting read and my contemporaries also seemed to find it a good read.
  • Demonstration of creativity – There were various levels of research into the image that uncovered context that was not immediately apparent. I’ve used this information creatively to write an interesting story about the photo, but also about Izis the man.
  • Context – The context is noted in the two preparation posts for this assignment (see prep 1 and prep 2) and also referenced in the assignment itself. There is a breadth and depth of context. However, one area I deliberately omitted was a comparison between the work of Izis and his contemporaries – there simply wasn’t space within the 1,000 word limit and I felt it was more important to focus on the reading of the one photograph, the photographer and its immediate context, rather than brining in the dimension of the work of others.

Finally, I note the value of peer review of the draft of my essay – there is nothing like having a fresh pair of eyes (or several) and feedback through the Facebook page and directly to my blog helped significantly in guiding me to a stronger outcome.

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