Assignment 4 – Tutor Feedback

I received my tutor feedback today and was very happy with the outcome. My tutor’s comments are below. My responses are in italics.

Overall Comments

A very articulate and well researched assignment submission that demonstrates a good contextual understanding of the image analysed and an in-depth application of the relevant literature.

I’m very happy to hear that. I was a little worried that there was not enough information in the essay.

Feedback on assignment

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity

 A very articulate and well informed essay which applies many of the terms discussed in the course material to the specific example of Robert Capa’s photograph of frontline ambulance drivers in Italy. This is an excellent choice of image with plenty to get your teeth into!

You successfully apply much of the theoretical terminology discussed in the wider reading for the assignment within your analysis. The essay flows and reads well, communicating with the reader a clear understanding and contextualisation of the theoretical considerations proposed by Barthes.

So happy to read this as semiology is not so easy to explain, for that matter, neither is Barthes.

There is a subtle balance within the essay between your analysis of that which is denoted and that which is connoted, this is not an easy balance to strike within 1000 words but you do so to excellent effect. There is a good mix between description, independent research, insightful analysis and final concluding statements.

Good to hear! I did try and limit my denotation section so that I could have more space for the connotations, but still felt rather limited within the required number of words.


Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity

The reflections and analysis you make on Erwitt and Arbus’s singular images are also of a high standard, demonstrating a good understanding of visual analysis and ways of reading an image, balanced with a need for consideration of intertextuality and what the reader might bring to that analysis.

Thank you. I’m very pleased that you looked at my coursework sections as well. Much appreciated.


Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

You maintain a strong practice of independent contextual research across all of your assignments, which is evidenced in your blog. Continue to read across a wide range of sources and reflect upon these, I especially enjoyed your highlighting of the editing of Arbus’s objection to editorial additions describing her work. Uncovering discussions such as these will enrich your understanding of the subjective appreciation of the visual arts and make your critique all the more informed.

I agree that discovering these little back stories will make my critiques more informed and interesting. Hopefully the local library will have the stock I need to reference for future assignments/projects.

Did you look at the Panzani advertisement as suggested in the exercises? I couldn’t find evidence of this, if I’ve missed it apologies. If you’ve not had a look yet I would definitely recommend doing this exercise in order to get a practical understanding of some of Derrida’s theories of deconstruction. Also have a further look at the Judith Williamson articles in relation to advertising.

I did read the Panzani advertisement a number of times and was positive that I had done a write up on it as well. I checked all my blog postings, hoping that I might just have forgotten to publish it, but couldn’t find it. Possibly it wasn’t saved, so I shall redo it. [My review on Rhetoric of the Image can be seen here]. I have looked at Judith Williamson’s articles that were posted on the OCA student site. My write up can be seen here.

Learning Log

Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

Your learning log is very clear to follow and easy to navigate, I have no problem finding any of your material. As outlined above, your critical thinking, reflection and analysis continues to be well structured and insightful. I have noticed how this has developed throughout your assignments (although it has always been a strength of yours).

Thank you.

There is less space for self reflection in this assignment and that is due to the nature of the brief itself, not a comment on your work. In previous assignments I have encouraged you to work on being more self reflective in relation to the images you produce. Whilst this is not relevant here, it is good to note that you are capable of being incredibly reflective when considering the work of others photographers – now, how to apply this to one’s own work…!

Self reflection or critiquing one’s own work, I find, is incredibly difficult. I even struggle with this during my annual performance review at work. Sometimes my work just ‘happens’ without any preconceived thought or plan. I will try and be more self reflective in future – I guess it will become easier with practise.

Suggested reading/viewing


Are you able to access the BBC website/iPlayer? If so I would definitely recommend a series of podcasts called 21st Century Mythologies by Peter Conrad. They discuss Barthes original theories and apply them to objects, people, places in the 21st century in much the same way Barthes did at the time of writing. I really enjoyed them and found they deepened my understanding and the relevance of Barthes writings within popular culture.

Sometimes I am able to access some BBC materials, other times not. I have just checked the above link and happily I can access the podcasts. I think videos are restricted outside the UK.

Pointers for the next assignment / assessment

* Complete any unfinished project exercises (Panzani advert).

Its at the top of my to do list – completed posting can be seen here.

I can’t believe I’m approaching the homeward stretch of this module already. The time really has flown by and the journey has been a very interesting ride so far.


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