Tutor Report Assignment 5


I am sticking to my tutors wishes that I only post the odd comment from the report and not the whole report.

So I have used his comments that are relevant to rework or research of the assignment.


Overall Comments

Another strong collection of images that show that you are developing a voice and an understanding of the brief

Assessment potential

It may be worth looking at some of the images and definitely expanding on your reflection and consider producing more research.

Feedback on assignment

As you have progressed your work has improved and this final assignment shows that you are continuing on the path

Concern was shown over my use of the iPhone images for macro shots ideally I should use a macro lens for my Fuji.

When I can afford one I’ll buy one. I had an image in my head that I was after and I used what I had to get it.

Exploring all the possibilities of a flower is ambitious and I believe you have produced some interesting images unified by the black background

my tutor suggest looking at the processing

using a modified curve to increase contrast slightly, ensuing that the highlights are retained, this is very subtle, but it is that degree of control and technique that lifts the images

My tutor suggests I seek out the floral photography of Karl Blossfeldt and Robert Mapplethorpe

The approach you have is often more akin to the food photography that you have previously worked on , maybe that explains why some images as they look like beautiful ingredients from a recipe book

Could this approach be developed further?

No, not that keen on food photography, I just prefer black background.

The graphic quality of such images as the ‘sunset’ ( image 1)could be improved by going wider, looking at the series, it may be worth considering producing more alternatives or more moving images as a single image in the series stands out and maybe worth exploring more of this approach.

For the exercise 5.2 my tutor then suggests that I have

‘produced some strong work although inconsistent, they are some strong portraits and maybe this can be developed at a later stage.’

He recommends that I research Richard Avedon , his use of natural daylight- in the American West


You show commitment to the exercises but you now need to improve on the research and critical feedback on your own output.

Nothing new there, must try harder.

Research and learning log

You have produced strong research, however as stated before, it would maybe benefit from more visual support where possible, the research is so very important.

have to step it up a gear

Suggested reading and viewing

My tutor recommends that I visit the Tate Modern and see ‘ The Radical Eye’ , Sir Elton Johns personal photographic collection.

All artists never stop studying, researching and seeking inspiration from many sources.


After a long journey you are starting to produce strong work and are taking on new ideas and developing your own voice.

In a Nutshell I need to research more and document more reflectiveness. I have put together a gallery of the motion images of the flowers I used for Assignment 5 from my contact sheets.

After receiving my final tutor report I would like to thank my Tutor for his helpful comments.  I have taken his comments on board ready for rework of this assignment for submission for assessment in July. My learning blog will be updated accordingly.



Exercise 5.2

I have selected an image by a photographer I like . Ernst Haas, the image below.


What am I responding to from this image? Basically the idea of colour and the confusion.

My eyes are drawn instantly to the colours on the signage then to the confusion of the reflection then back to the signs. The dark areas are last to be explored and that is when I notice the people. I see lines of colours reflected in the cars and there are no faces visible. Then the scene is whole and my brain digests the information. I think about Ernst Haas’s vantage point. Is he on a bus which has stopped at a traffic light? Is the reflection from a wing mirror ?

This image was taken in Las Vegas in 1975, it is from the series ‘In America’.

Ernst Haas was born in Vienna in 1921 he moved to America in 1951 so to me his perspective is one of a person seeing America through fresh eyes. Someone visiting and marveling at the colours and the peculiar.

My image is just an idea taken from Ernst Haas’s image.  I looked at the strongest component of the image which for me is the signage and the colours. My image was taken in Satwa, Dubai.

It is an old area of Dubai which is lit up on a night like xmas and Blackpool mixed together. No energy saving light bulbs here, its full on illuminations.   Its strange and again its wasteful but the culture here is different. Due to the hotter climate people do a lot more at night in Dubai. Shops are open till 10pm most nights and during Ramadan they are closed during the day and open till 4am.

Satwa Signs- Camera settings:- Fuji X-T1, fl 55, ISO 100, Shutter priority, shutter speed 10 sec, F14

I tried to incorporate as much colour into the frame as possible. I looked for contrasts with the greens against reds, I wanted eye catching. There is some reflections of the signs but I would of liked more.

The three sources of information for this image are available.

The information evident with in the picture,which is the Internal Context,

This is an image of brightly lit signage of shops with reflections and contrasting colours, a leading line towards the number 24 and a shopping festival sign which could be interpreted as a ‘sign of the times’ that Dubai is an open all hours for shopping.

The information surrounding the picture in its presentation which is the External Context

Date, time and location. Factual information which can not be disputed. This shot was taken at night in the Satwa on plant street.

The information about the pictures making which is the original context .

For me this means the inspiration , the influence, how you make the image. My image was influenced by Ernst Haas colour images in the ‘In America’ series.

Each of these intersects with the others along with influences and experiences of pictures.

Which context is my image with respect to Terry Barrett’s essay on Photography and Context ? I think my image has an ‘Original context’ because an idea was present at the time of making this image both physically and psychologically.

You can see the development in the contact sheet images

Contact sheets



Why is ‘Context’ such an important part of the assessment criteria ?

The meaning of photographs depends on the context , where the photograph is displayed and published, the caption or the text with it, the sequence of images surrounding it.

Barrett suggests that we interpret pictures according to three different types of information: information in the picture, information surrounding the picture and information about the way the picture was made. He calls these the internal context, external context and the original context. 

In the course work we are given a link to an online pdf to read by Terry Barrett. I had trouble trying to find it, computer says ‘no’ issues but I did find ‘Principles for interpreting Photographs’ by Terry Barret which I downloaded and printed this off for reference. I find reading paper better than a screen. From that link I eventually found ‘Photographs and Context’ which was what I was initially looking for.

It was a very interesting read, I had to translate it into my simplistic way of thinking.

I have written a full description in my written learning log which I will add scanned pages to assignment 5 if required.

Some points that I highlighted with in the essay

The meaning of any photograph is highly dependent on the context in which it appears

This statement addresses misinterpretation of a photograph.

In the galleries the photograph hangs matted, framed, and under glass with the usual wall label of the artist and date. The ‘Channel of Transmission’.

This refers to where we see the photograph and how it is represented to the viewer whether it be published in a journal, magazine or on a gallery wall. How is the photograph transmitted

The texts that surround the photograph eliminate any residual ambiguity and decide the meaning of the picture.

Again texts can aid with interpretation

The photographs placement int the gallery is above all a tribute to the sensibilities of its maker, It is compared with other photographs and with the collected and preserved works of other modern masters in other art media.

This is related to placing photographs which were not made for the art world for example, security camera images or scientific images.

These and the various uses to which photographs have been put are instances of category displacements: with the addition of surrounding or superimposed text, images are switched from the category of news to moral indictment ; by transferring a photograph from a laboratory file to an oversized coffee table book, Science becomes Art.

There are lots of images now which are used as an example of Scientific imagery becoming art , Fractals from a spectrum microscope, snowflakes, macroscopic imagery.

Displacement of photographs from moral categories to aesthetic categories, however are cause for concern.

The concern is showing the distress and finding beauty in it ,Aesthetic pleasure from the information. People enjoying the images of deformness and brutality and placing them as piece of Artwork.

move us because they document a suffering which causes our indignation and  distance us because they are superb photographs of agony, conforming to surrealist standards of beauty

the medium which conveys distress ends by neutralizing it. Camera miniaturize experience, transform history into spectactle. As much as they create sympathy, photographs cut sympathy, distance the emotions.

Contextual displacements as removing photographs from prisons and hanging them on museum walls. “When viewed in their new context, the museum or gallery, photographs cease to be ‘about’ their subjects in the same direct or primary way; they become studies in the possibilities of photography.”

What is art ? it goes on to say that photographers will become the representation of a subject. World War 2 is synonomus with Capa, Horse in motion will be Muybridge. Do I agree with this ? to some extent, Yes. That is what we remember

“Photography as a Univerasal Language.”

Pictures can translate word symbols

Pictures can clarify vague Ideas ( ikea instructions)

Pictures make verbal description clearer,

Pictures can…. prevent the development of inaccurate generalizations

Photography can be used as scientific evidence.

If we can match the right pictures with words or expressions, we have meaning. As with words, the meanings of photographs rest to a large extent on the uses to which they are put.

It is easy to alter the meanings of a photograph, generally by altering the contexts in which it is shown, specifically by adding text.

In formulating interpretations or in adjudicationg among implicit or explicit interpretations, three sources of information are available for examination: information evident within the picture, informtion surrounding thepicture in its presentation, and information about the pictures making.

Each of these intersectswith thr others and influencesour experience of pictures; each of these contains potential evidence for positing meaning; each of these should be examined before final conclusions are drawn

These sources maybe called the picture’s “internal context,” external context,” and ” original context.”

Internal context includes the picture, its title,date, and maker.

External Context refers to the picturespresnetational environment.

Original context refers to the picture’s casual environment, namely, that which was physically and psychologically present to the maker at the time the picture was taken.

I like order and process so for me these are guidelines on how to interpret a photograph, it is something to aim for when scrutinising my own images. I get that a photograph can be used and manipulated in different ways if the channel which it is delivered is altered.

Contextual investigations of photographs are particulary important because of the nature of photography. Because photographs are segments excised from large real- world contexts, one ought to attempt to place the pictured segment back into the whole for several reasons

one needs to realise what the photographer has done to the original situation, what the photograph is about, understanding the differences between the picture and reality

The appreciation of photographs is often dependant on recognising and understanding the transformations the photographer has wrought in the excising the segmentin order to make it aesthetically noteworthy rather than routine and mundane.

The viewer who wants to understand and appreciate the photograph needs to see what fresh and significant relationship the photographermay have brought about the means selected to make them manifest.

The “eye  selects, rejects, organises, discriminates, associates, classifies, analyses, constructs. It does not so much mirror as take and make; and what it takes and makes it sees not bare , as items without attributes, but as theings, as food, as people, as enemies, as stars, as weapons. Nothing is seen nakedly or naked.”

This paragraph I understand to be about how the photographers eye and the viewers eye already has preconcieved ideas, what is good, what is bad.  What subjects are supposed to look like. Your eye and brain will try and make sense of the image before you have chance to investigate further. Context adds to the creditbility of an image.

 The guy is old and wearing a suit with a bag. I noticed that he was standing there a long time just staring at the word. I started to think about what he was thinking. What was he imagining?  I thought it ironic that he was staring at the word 'Imagine' and it was behind a fence.
I was wandering around taking pictures when I noticed an old guy standing in the same position a long time just staring at something. I started to think about what he was thinking. What was he imagining? I thought it ironic that he was staring at the word ‘Imagine’ and it was behind a fence. He was dressed really smart in a suit and tie obviously a businessman but he had stopped going somewhere to think about the word.