Tag Archives: Tutor feedback

Assignment 5 – Tutor Feedback

After a few weeks of anxious waiting for my final tutor feedback, I received it today and I really couldn’t be happier. I’m relieved that my final assignment is wrapped up and also the course, but also sad to say aurevoir to my current tutor. She has been absolutely amazing with her feedback, pushing me beyond my comfort zone with each assignment for which I am grateful.

Her feedback follows below. My comments are in italics.

Overall comments

A great set of images exploring the hunter and the hunted, technically very proficient, well styled and thoughtfully executed. Your background research is thorough and supports your creative experimentations. Well done!

Thank you – very pleased to hear that.

Feedback on assignment
Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity

As a series of images I really enjoy the piece of work you have created for this assignment. There is something of the unreal/surreal, within the set up that jars my reading of the work. We know this is a constructed image, a lion is obviously not going to pick up a gun with their paws… but somehow I want to believe this is possible and to see it enacted in a photograph. I want to be tricked!

This was the reaction that I was after, so good to hear this feedback.

The saddest thing about some of Chancellor’s images, that you comment upon in detail, is the evident pride in the expression of the hunters who have killed such beautiful animals. The way the animals bodies are draped around the hunters like trophies induces a real sense of sickness and disgust in me when I look at the photographs. Perhaps it is the carnivalesque mask that punctures my viewing, its lack of expression or inability to change expression that doesn’t quite have me convinced.

I had hoped that the lion’s stance with his foot on the prey’s shoulder would convey some of this arrogance.

I feel you have done extremely well to produce the images you have in the context of the forest with the resources available to you (considering that Jeff Wall and Gregory Crewdson have massive teams of assistants and helpers to create their work).

Extra voice activated light stands would have been most welcome :-).

Technically the shots are well observed, as you note there are some exposure issues, but in this context I don’t think they matter massively as we are interested more in believing the shot. You make great use of a variety of poses, experimentation in make up, the natural lighting and different view points within the frame to create a set of effective, stylised and constructed photographs.

Thank you.

Have you considered how you will present the work for final assessment? I enjoyed seeing the sequence of images develop, or perhaps you will opt for one single image. Something to think further about.

One of the OCA students had suggested a tritych and this might be my best option. If there were a few more images, I might have considered a short film clip, but I think with only three images it might not have the deisred effect. I also don’t have the time available before the assessment submission deadline to learn how to put a film with sound together.

Your pre-shoot location scouting is well documented and you have evidently spent much time considering how to construct the shots. The annotated contact sheets work well in this context to show your working process. This is highly effective work presented in a professional way showing strong judgement. Well done.

Thank you and also thanks to Jayne Kemp who suggested annotating the contact sheets.

I like that your colleagues thought you were weird for wanting to do this, as you rightly state it probably means you’re on to something! Well done for taking a risk, being imaginative, creative and playing around with your ideas. It’s been great to see your work develop throughout the assignments.

I think I’m beginning to realise that the wacky ideas are more fruitful in the long run and I’m now more comfortable getting out of my comfort zone. Of course I know that the comfort zone boundaries are ever shifting so we shall see where this leads me in the next course.

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity

You have engaged thoroughly with all the suggested exercises and projects within this assignment. You often go the extra mile in terms of additional research and reflection in relation to these projects. Your log is easy to navigate and I was able to quickly locate all of your responses. I especially like the embedded links to specific practitioners and your analysis of their work/application to the assignment in hand.

Thank you. I know how frustrating it can be to navigate a badly signposted website or blog.

Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

As above, your research is thorough, detailed and insightful. You visit a range of sources to inform your practice and are able to critically evaluate the work within its wider contemporary context.

You write well, clearly communicating the information that is relevant to the exercise/project/task in hand. You also strike a good balance between writing in an academic context, where analysis is valued over description, whilst also maintaining a sense of the personal approach and view of the subject. I find your reflections and research both enjoyable and easy to read.

Thank you. Academic writing is quite hard and very dry to read most times, so I’m very relieved that there is a good balance between that and the personal approach.

It is commendable that you are also pursuing other MOOCs to do with photography at MOMA and other online sources. I’ll have a further look into some of these as they might be a good resource for other students on the course.

I can highly recommend the MOMA course as a companion piece to Context and Narrative. It would have been wonderful to have had that available at the start of this module. The accompanying reading texts from the MOMA exhibition catalogues are also very handy to have.

Learning Log
Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

Similar comments as above, your learning log continues to be thorough, detailed and insightful. The depth of self reflection is evident in your write up, where you consider both technical improvements that could have been made whilst weighing up the practicalities that the situation demanded. You go on to implement several of the suggestions into the presentation of your work, which works to good effect (annotated contact sheets – nice!).

Seems like I’ve made a bit of an improvement in self reflection which is always difficult for me, so I’m happy to hear that.

In using the OCA student forum, you take full advantage of peer feedback and develop this further, following up practitioners suggested by other students and incorporating this into your wider research. I think I have mentioned before in a report, the importance of being critical of some of the feedback and pushing beyond the purely positive comments to find some critique, or have some of your own in response. This is not a criticism, more of an observation, it is also something that is not always possible depending on the student group. However I would encourage you (perhaps on future courses) to guide the feedback a bit more and push people to engage beyond the positive comments.

Point taken. I did make a note of amendments I had made after receiving peer feedback, but I do take your point. I should analyse and document my responses better. I will take this through to the next course.

Pointers for the next assignment / assessment

North American paper sizes are different to those used in the rest of the world. The closest I have to A4 is 8.5 x 11 inches which is what I will use for assessment.

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.

Assignment 3 – Tutor Feedback

Overall I’m really satisfied with my tutor’s feedback for Assignment 3.  Some good constructive advice was also given regarding my research. Her comments are below. My reflections are in italics.

Overall Comments

A well-researched project that incorporates many points of view. You have chosen a complex subject matter that demands attention, producing an interesting set of images exploring multiple aspects of immigration and what ‘home’ means in different settings.

Thank you! The whole process of immigration is quite emotional even if one immigrates as a skilled worker.

Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills:

Now that we’ve reached assignment 3, I feel I have a good sense of your work and I’m confident in saying that the technical side of things is not an area that causes me any concern in your work.

From what I have seen in previous assignments it seems to me that once an idea is formed in your mind, the ‘how to’ of the technique and materials is not an issue for you. You are competent in your use of the camera; images are well composed, you are able to narrow and define your area of interest/subject matter and apply appropriate techniques to make what images you want to make, happen!

As such I’m going to keep my feedback in this section short for this report as I feel my feedback could me more helpful in other areas…

Good to know.

Quality of Outcome:

What I really enjoy about the work in this project is your approach in terms of research and conceptualization of imagery to accompany quotes from the research group. The multi-layer narratives offer a layer of complexity to the images, which viewing the images alone would not suggest.

The overall emotion of the work is sad and reflective and I wonder was this something you intended or were particularly attuned too? There is a sense of loss throughout the set, I wonder if you found in your research any positive experiences from your subjects regarding this part of their identity?

I had suspected that the overall emotion would be one of sadness and I really did want to emphasis this in my work as non-immigrants are blissfully unaware of the subtle nuances that a person has to go through/experience in order to ‘become accepted’ in one’s new country. Of course there were positive experiences expressed as well, but I only concentrated on the responses that were more applicable to the set of questions that I had raised within the group.

One thing to consider when doing work in this way is to consider the way in which you frame your research questions, and to acknowledge any bias you may be injecting or guiding the work in the direction of. There is nothing wrong with this of course, we are all biased in many ways, but it’s good practice to acknowledge this and to consider ways of approaching a subject that might yield alternative readings so as to give a balanced view.

Understood, but as I had posted the questions that I had asked the research group to respond to in my introduction, I would have thought that that would provide/support the direction I was taking. I really wasn’t aiming to get a balanced view of immigration because I wanted to highlight the subtleties that the majority of non-immigrants are not conscious of.

Some of the most successful images in terms of conceptualistion of thought and the communication of your ideas as I understand them, were figs 5 and 7. The harsh shadow cast by the African carving in Fig. 5, can be read in multiple ways. The carving acts as a mask, but also another identity; the shadow could also be a metaphor for another identity in this respect. The juxtaposition of its placement on a domestic mantle piece, immediately seems at odds with its surroundings, again the object acts as a metaphor for you/the other part of your history, a sense of belonging/longing.

Fig. 7, a picture of a couple, your parents I presume, again you employ a multi-layered narrative that simultaneously explores something of your own past, but also something of the shared experience of all people who move away or have to leave their loved ones in another country for a variety of reasons. This images works well and communicates on different levels.

Thank you. The picture is not of my parents, but my in-laws. Sadly, I do not have a photograph of my parents on their wedding day. Those photos remain in South Africa.

I feel there are too many shadow portraits within the set, which detracts from their power as a set and I would encourage you to re-visit some of the quotes and experiment in ways that do not include so many shadow variants. For example, the use of objects as metaphors works very well in some of the images, the cross section of the tree trunk is interesting, not only in terms of a subject matter full of texture and line, but in terms of the rings and years of lived experience it can represent. The pairing of text for this image (fig. 5) of Africa being in your soul, communicates clearly through the concentric rings of the tree stump, the multiple layers that build our identity, that stay with us always.

I will try and take out a few of the shadow images and replace them with something else.

Demonstration of Creativity:

Throughout the assignments you have developed your creativity and I commend your choice in subject matter, as it is often complex, personal and difficult. You do not shy away from pushing yourself or your creativity, which I can see is really starting to bloom.

I’m so happy to hear that my creativity is starting to bloom, although it really doesn’t feel like it. I think it helps when tackling a difficult subject.

I appreciate you emailed me asking advice prior to submission of this assignment, but I think perhaps some of the advice was taken too literally, I now regret perhaps shutting you down from some of the experiments I note in your learning log. The double exposure was especially interesting in this respect and perhaps there is still space to include it in the final set?

I was wondering if it would work within the set, but I really wasn’t sure, which is why I left it out. Some of the feedback that I received from my peers was that I should go either with shadows, or without and I didn’t want to muddy the waters by throwing in a double exposure, as I did mix the shadows and objects in the end. I will try and include another double exposure in the rework and see how the set looks.

Thank you for including some contact sheets, this is very insightful. My only comment would be to include any further images from the pre-shoot experimental stage and your reflections on them… more on this below.

Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays


You reference a variety of sources and investigate the work of many practitioners. I would encourage you to focus in on one or two of them in greater detail. You might include an image that you have responded to and offer some analysis of your response. The reflections you make on Schietti, demonstrate a criticality to your thinking that we are looking for at this stage, here you move beyond the descriptive qualities of the images and engage with some of connoted meanings.

I have been hesitant to include images of other photographers where I do not have permission to use their images in my blog, hence the use of hyperlinks.

I also note you are reading around semiotics and structuralism, again, try to bring some of this reading to your reflections where possible. It is better to write less/refer to less practitioners, and to increase the quality of your analysis. I referred you to Jim Goldberg, Open See, and you note that you read it, but there was no critical response as such, I would have liked to have heard your response.

I think I have been a little hesitant to bring semiotics and structuralism into my analyses, as I’m still trying to get to grips with the concepts. I did read Jim Goldberg’s Open See, and it must have been an oversight on my part not to write a response to it. I’m going to put this down to being horribly overworked at work that I’ve barely been able to think straight these last 4 months. I have now completed a review on Jim Goldberg’s Open See and it be seen here.

You make excellent use of the student Facebook forum and it’s great to hear you find it so supportive. Having read the student comments on your work I would be keen to know what your response was. It seems a bit one-sided, Do you agree/disagree with what was said? Keeping a record of your thoughts and responses will help us as tutors and assessors see you develop and respond, becoming more reflective in your work, which is what learning is all about!

I have gone and added my comments to the feedback document. My comments are prefaced with the initials “LK” and highlighted in yellow.

Suggested reading/viewing


I feel you are looking at plenty of practitioners, and would like to see a more detailed analysis of some of these before moving onto more. I note not many of the reading list suggestions were included or reflected upon – was there a reason for this? (perhaps I missed a link!)

I have done a re-write on the following photographers (the re-worked version is directly below the initial text): Ruth Kaplan and Maha Alasaker.

I’m slightly confused by the second part of this remark. I had referenced Bate and Bright in my Bibliography for Assignment 3. However, if you are referring to the suggestions you made in Assignment 2 feedback i.e. Grombich’s The Story of Art and Art in Theory series, I can report that I have purchased The Story of Art and am slowly working through that as extra-curricular reading. If you are referring to the OCA Reading List for Context and Narrative, this reading list changed a few months ago (after I began this module) and there are now only eight texts under Essential Reading and seven listed under Recommended and various websites listed.

Pointers for the next assignment

  • In the learning log, you might like to include images of the photographer’s work you refer to, rather than weblinks. It would be good to hear your analysis.

Again I must mention that I am hesitant abut using any photographers’ images in my blog without permission due to copyright issues. However, I will try it out, according all rights to the photographer, but if I pick up problems along the way, I will revert to using hyperlinks again.

  • Include any reflections/re-workings/re-edits of the work into the assignment so the assessors can see your response and our dialogue.

As mentioned above, I will put my re-edits/re-workings of my analyses directly below the initial analysis for ease of comparison.

  • It’s great to see your creativity coming through, this is an insightful project, you have produced some worthy images, keep up the creative curiosity!

Thank you.

On the whole, I am very satisfied with this feedback. I find it constructive and extremely helpful to know which areas I should concentrate on for improvement. Now to get to grips with semiotics …