Feedback and its Value

20th June 2013

After I published my latest assignment, four, I received three pieces of feedback quite quickly regarding the images, as I’d also put them up on Flickr.  It was interesting to note the differences of what is noted by the respondents.

Respondent one thought it was a good overview and was pleased to see that I’d managed to maintain my core objective of continuing to make the work about the place I live. Respondent two hadn’t done People & Place themselves and was making comments directly from the Flickr images and the captions.  This person seemed to twig what the brief had been, just from looking at the images and reading the captions, which pleased me greatly, and realised that it was in fact promotional literature that, to me, are usually designed to provide an idea but  no real substance.  The third respondent provided their feedback via Flickr, although they may well have read the assignment in detail but, as far as I’m aware, they have done People & Place and so may well remember the theme of assignment four.  Their feedback was that I’d missed an opportunity to continue a subversive element that they had perceived in earlier assignments and that the portrayal this time was bland and perhaps wasn’t the way I felt about the local facilities.

The nice thing about feedback is that you get very different reactions which collectively provide a very good feel as to whether or not you’ve achieved your goal.  I must admit that in this work I hadn’t stated anything about my feelings about what I thought the local facilities are like for older people, are they good, bad or indifferent, is there everything needed in the right place, is it of sufficient quality etc; but I didn’t see this as my role in this assignment.

If the brief is to  ‘Imagine that you are on assignment for an intelligent, thoughtful, travel publication (not tourism promotion) that is demanding a considered, in-depth treatment of what buildings and spaces mean for the people who live in and among them.’ then, to me, this is a client led brief and very rarely would a client want to portray somewhere in negative terms, that doesn’t endear you to the area in question and to my mind isn’t necessary. Neither would it be correct to provide something that would embellish the area to the point where you portray something that isn’t real.  If that then means that what I’ve produced is bland, but also gives the impression that it’s been produced for non-residents with a good overview of the area, and for a particular group of people, I feel I’ve achieved perfection.  A travel brochure approach should, in my view, provide an unadorned overview of what the area can provide, showing the target audience what there is that will MOST LIKELY appeal to them.

Have I benefited from what my colleagues have written?  Most certainly.  If I’d received anything other than this range of feedback I think I’d be somewhat disappointed as it would mean that I’d failed to raise questions, appeal to sensibilities and failed to provide a rounded view that allows everyone an opinion worth making.

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