Assignment Three: Feedback Report

Student Name:  Eddy Lerpiniere

Student Number: 506079

Course/Module: P & P

Assignment Number: 3


Overall Comments

This building has a very interesting history and your personal connection to it makes these not just pictures of a building but a story.  Which is great.

This works best without people.  It makes my mind imagine all sorts of scenarios.  Mainly not fun!  But I think that’s the point!

Assessment Potential

I understand your aim is to go for the Photography Degree and that you plan to submit your work for assessment at the end of this course. From the work you have shown in this assignment, and providing you commit yourself to the course, I suggest that you are likely to be successful in the assessment.

Feedback On Assignment

Hard hitting clearly means a very different thing in portraiture and architectural photography.  I think it would be helpful for you to define what you want to obtain through the building photographs and what makes them hard hitting.  i.e. How would you define ‘hard hitting architectural photography’?

Perhaps my use of ‘hard hitting’  should have said instead ‘arresting’, to make the viewer stop and look and consider.  A slight nuance difference, but from comments received from contemporaries I think I achieved what I set out to do, make them uncomfortable and glad to finally look at something not institutional.  That’s exactly what I wanted to convey, the institutionalism of the place, the other concepts you’ve picked up as you’ve read through all the captions are there but I didn’t want to move away from the broad approach and get into detail.

Arresting is a good way to put it.  I’m not challenging that all those things aren’t there – this is my way of provoking you to really know what you are doing in your work and to be able to defend it.  I think you do know what you want instinctively and it’s matching the terminology with the outcome that is important.

I love this one, compositionally speaking.  The text also works very well here.  It becomes almost an abstract image but the text really anchors it down and highlights a serious problem.

Traditionally architectural photography would be shot at a high f stop to ensure complete sharpness, on a tripod of course, normally with a large format camera.  Perspective is a very important consideration.

I think you have done a good job of the sharpness and the lines and shapes of the angles become interesting, like obstacles which fits very well for your project and may be something you could draw upon further.

Navigation is not made easy for these people who live with so many physical problems.  How can your images of the building bring this element out?  I think you do get a sense of confinement and difficulty from looking at your pictures, don’t get me wrong but do you want that element to come through the whole set?  I’m only trying to provoke you and get you to consider what is the main point of this set as a whole for you?

I’m wondering a bit about  your use of terminology.  You say ‘Traditionally architectural photography would be shot at a high f stop to ensure complete sharpness, on a tripod of course, normally with a large format camera.’  In the manual the very first sentence in the first paragraph says, ‘It is important to stress right at the start of this section that while buildings and man-made spaces are the subject, this is not about architectural photography…….. it is about structures as an extension of human activity and as being ‘usable’. In other words, the somewhat dry, graphic formality of architectural photography is quite inappropriate for this course……..’  It follows, for me anyway, that the absolute sharpness that using a high f stop would give is not appropriate as I’m looking to purvey usage, ambience, feeling etc and sharpness doesn’t really equate to this.  That also speaks for  ‘Another trait of architectural photography is that the highlights and low lights are equalized as much as possible.  We don’t want a Rembrandt chiaroscuro!  In camera or in post try to even out the highlights and shadows to create a more stark and clinical image which I think would add more to your concept.’  The differences in lighting were exactly what I was trying to show, to give an idea of the difficulties encountered by partially sighted people moving from highly lit areas to near darkness in some cases and once again, it’s the ambience, mood, feeling etc I want to purvey

Of course every genre of photography can be used to mean one thing and then another.  I had just come back from visiting a friend who is a photographic artist as well as a commercial one, shooting for clients in fashion and advertising etc.  One of his personal projects was documenting a building being constructed from the same vantage point over time.  He used the methodology of architectural photography but very much for his own personal vision.  I probably had this in mind when I was responding to your work.  SO in other words Architechtual photography doesn’t mean very much at all!  ONly that the techniques I assosiate with that type of work can be applied in a very interesting way to personal work and I was just wondering what the effect of that would be on your project.  However you seem convinced that you don;t want to go down that route.  Which is fine – I would just write it in your write ups to show you have clearly thought about this approach and made the decisions accordingly.  What you have written here is perfectly fine – The differences in lighting were exactly what I was trying to show, to give an idea of the difficulties encountered by partially sighted people moving from highly lit areas to near darkness in some cases and once again, it’s the ambience, mood, feeling etc I want to purvey.”

I like the title!  I wasn’t sure at first but now I have lived with it and looked at the images I think it is apt!

The noticeboard disappoints me simply because I want to be able to read everything on there and the perspective immediately gives me a ‘point of view’ – I don’t want a point of view I want to be objective.  And to keep it in line with the type of architectural imagery and the 90 degree angles I would photograph it straight on, on a tripod on f.22 or more.  Even if it means you can’t fit the whole thing in.

Another trait of architectural photography is that the highlights and low lights are equalized as much as possible.  We don’t want a Rembrandt chiaroscuro!  In camera or in post try to even out the highlights and shadows to create a more stark and clinical image which I think would add more to your concept.

As a whole I wonder if this project needs a few more rules.  The angles and subjects are very different, so while it gives me an overall view I have become quite overwhelmed and confused when looking at them all.  Perhaps you could set yourself a few restrictions – ie only shoot in a consistent format (tripod, wide angle, f.22, at a certain height – perhaps waist level) Or you could limit yourself by perspective and lines and shape to get a feel for the awkwardness of the place or you could set yourself more personal restrictions – like where people generally walk – like a psycho geography of the place.  Following paths.  Or finally you could go with the landlord vs tenant more adversarial route – looking at obstructions, broken shower heads, notices and letters, broken microwaves, empty ‘help’ seats…

As you can see there is a lot going on in this short(ish) series and I think it would benefit from being edited down (conceptually) a little.  It’s great really because all these themes are relevant subject matter and you could be working on this project for a long time!

I agree that perhaps it would be better to reduce the number of images overall, by removing some that are ‘same-same’, but I don’t want the main idea I’ve got of ‘institution’ to be watered down as a result of detail and removing too many images.

So regarding this assignment if you were to do any reworks – i think it’s really about what I said about editing.  Keeping the flow nice and tight and giving yourself a tighter structure.

I hope the new curatorial layout, the image removal (and changes) have made this a tighter structure, I think it has.

Some of them fit really well together – especially the walls and stairwells like:

I found this one more powerful than this one

It’s about looking at all your pictures together and decided what they are saying together, what is most poignant and what best communicates what you want to say from the whole set.

Colour palette

I think this one is great because it is tonally restrained.  This point makes me think of Sarah Pickering’s work and makes me wonder what these would be like in harsh blacks and whites.  It would probably put them in another era but it might make it interesting to see a contemporary world that looks like it is left behind…  Although I generally prefer colour photography it just crossed my mind as something to consider. Even if you don’t chose anything black ad white these are very interesting images by a very interesting artist.

Learning Logs/Blogs/Critical Essays

Really great – you are continuing to be as engaged as ever.  Keep it up!

Suggested Reading/Viewing

Sarah Pickerings work (although totally different subject matter) could be a good approach for you.  Her series in black and white (link below), very stark and sharp images – like pensive thoughts on a place and it’s destruction.

Pointers For Next Assignment

I’m talking widely about your theme:  I’d like to see more details about the things you describe.  Like microwaves that don’t work, broken shower heads, 20 written notices of warnings or barriers.  Details that give a feeling of the adversity and battle that is set up by the landlord / authorities.  The devil is in the detail.  (Sorry I couldn’t resist!)

I’m having difficulty trying to make the concept of ‘describe effectively and attractively the way in which the spaces are used.’ with your suggestion that I show images of the detail, which to my mind is closing down the overall discussion and concentrating on small, but important concerns, which move the emphasis away from the assignment theme.

I like your final point – and even when you finish with your housing project you have 25 more to be getting on with. J

Don’t go to fast.  Try to reflect more on the shoots you have been on and really condense the images and therefore your thoughts on what the images are saying.  Put all these in your learning log and as you think it through start shooting and making editing decisions in response.  I know you are eager to get it done and I am also one for being impatient but I think you will be more pleased with yourself in the long run by filtering your ideas through your own reflections and high standards.

This course doesn’t allow enough time to explore to its full extent the many threads I’ve uncovered, but what I do think I’m doing is following along in a tradition of a magazine/journalistic approach that highlights the need for more in-depth investigation and the need for more detailed reports on separate areas highlighted in the article.

I hope I’m not suggesting I’m not open to change, but that I’m questioning what this assignment is really about.  I think you’re suggesting I take a more detailed approach whilst the brief in the manual suggests a very general approach, which I think I’ve followed very closely.

When I was talking about detail – I was meaning it as a new area for potential future exploration.  Sorry for the confusion.  I think this assignment has brought you to another interesting route and that shows it’s success.  I agree that the details are not appropriate for this brief but might be interesting threads to follow in the future.

I hope you like the new curatorial and editorial work I’ve done on this assignment, you’ll find it here

Yes I think this has really helped.  The lines, juts and awkwardness stands out more to me now.  

 Do you agree?

Glad you think it’s better.

Do I agree that I can see what you see?……… It wasn’t the first thing on my mind when I changed it around I must say, I did have something else in mind from the first effort though.

I looked at what was the core explanation of the building and removed those images that didn’t match, i.e. the kitchen and dining room, the bathroom fitted because it adds to the disability angle.  The image in our flat was changed because of your comment about the rest of the images being better without figures in them and the new one gives a better vision of our flat layout, similarly that’s why I left out the communal lounge party.

The curation change to me was to bring together the sets of images that belonged together more.  So the three where I describe blockages from items being where they shouldn’t be are a set, the three showing corridors and lighting problems are a set, our flat is a set and the three where I describe faults or problems form a set.  So to me I see more things in this iteration than the lines, juts and awkwardness; but what you see, I see too.

Hope that explains it?  And yes, I left it out of the log because I wanted to get your take on things before I put mine in possibly colouring things.

Yes – Sorry I wasn’t too in-depth I just thought it overall flowed better, hung together better as you might say curatorially!

I also like the sets.  I was just taken by the perspective that jumped out at me more this time, which for me, better emphasises the awkwardness of the building and the difficulties it brings for it’s inhabitants.  Which I think is in line with your first efforts, just clearer.
Write it up!

2 Responses to Assignment Three: Feedback Report

  1. Catherine says:

    It’s so interesting to follow your ‘conversations’ and how you’re both ironing out any misunderstandings. You are so lucky to have such an interested tutor.

    • Eddy Lerp says:

      I think that’s what’s helping me develop more than ever I expected Catherine, that and the constant questioning of why I do things they way I do and the suggestions to look at things a different way.

      I’ve just had the feedback from my assignment re-work and Sharon thinks it’s better now, BUT…. there was a question added at the end making me justify what I did… always pushin’

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