As the time draws near for assessment, I will briefly reflect on my studies while doing Context and Narrative this past year. The course was not what I had expected. It far exceeded my expectations! I have probably learnt more in this course than in any other photography course I have taken. The course has led me down paths that I probably would not have ventured or even attempted if left to my own devices. My special thanks to my tutor, Gina Lundy, who has been so supportive and encouraging. Gina, thank you for pushing me beyond my comfort zones and encouraging me to take risks! My fellow students on the Facebook Level 1 group have been fantastic and very supportive. I have summoned up the courage this year to ask for constructive feedback, before submitting assignments and this has paid off in spades. It really is good to have such a group with which to interact. I am still enjoying the freedom that distance learning affords me, although it does require quite a lot of self-discipline. Below are a few points that have stood out for me over this past year. My in-depth reflections can be read under each assignment’s individual tab.
Demonstration of technical and visual skills (materials, techniques, observational skills, visual awareness, design and compositional skills)
I found myself slowing down and analyzing scenarios more this year. Due to the nature of the assignments a lot of thought had to go into framing and composition – not always easy when you are doing self-portraits. I found myself paying particular attention to the overall tones and colour palates of my assignments as well. I think I have begun to think more in a ‘series-related’ fashion as opposed to each individual image and this has resulted in more cohesive sets of projects.
Quality of Outcome (content, application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner, discernment, conceptualisation of thoughts, communication of ideas)
The most challenging and difficult assignment for me was Assignment 2, as I was making images right after my surgery and a few weeks beyond that. However, in retrospect, it might have been one of the assignments in which I learnt the most. Due to the very personal nature, it also left me feeling rather vulnerable. It is quite one thing to talk about your feelings, but really another to translate them into images. My third assignment had me reflecting on my identity as an immigrant – again very personal issues were raised. I am definitely more comfortable expressing myself in my blog and have rather enjoyed writing about various photographers and exhibitions.
Demonstration of Creativity (imagination, experimentation, invention, development of a personal voice)
My creativity has definitely come a long way since the previous module, The Art of Photography. I have experimented in all but two of the assignments (Assignment 1 and Assignment 4 excluded). I feel that the experimentation has reaped dividends and I now have a base measurement to improve from in the following module. The assignment that I had the most fun with was my anti-hunting narrative in Assignment 5. It was good to be stretched in this creative fashion. I have also found during this module that the more personal and crazy the ideas I had, the better the outcomes – something to carry forward to the next module.
Context (reflection, research, critical thinking)
I think my research methodology has improved quite a bit since doing TAOP. I have become more focused in researching photographers that are relevant to whatever particular assignment I am busy with and this has helped me to become more structured in my thinking. When looking at images I am now able to look with more of a critical eye at the work, exploring the what’s, why’s and how’s of the photograph. Semiotics has been a tricky concept to grasp at times. Learning how to use and decipher it will, of course, come with practice and more in-depth reading.
Finally I’d like to thank my family members for their support and willingness to be used as models and accompanying me to exhibitions. My thanks also to my work colleagues who follow my photographic journey and provide valuable feedback and commentary.
Context and Narrative has come to an end, but another new and exciting journey awaits me: Identity and Place.