4. Feedback

In a departure from earlier assignments, I have posted my responses alongside the tutor feedback,

differentiated in grey, right justified

Overall Comments

Thanks Nick for sending assignment 4, and well done on making timely progress so far. Thanks for sending prints again which are of a good quality. 

Please continue to reflect on feedback on your blog. As you start to think about the process for assessment you will need to adapt or reshoot certain aspects of your assignments and be sure to clearly label everything so that the examiners are clear on what you produced before and after feedback to demonstrate your ability to respond and develop your ideas. You mentioned being unsure about the assessment process in your email and I will make some suggestions about this at the end of this feedback, you might also find it useful to look at the student forum: discuss.student-oca.com as there is helpful advice there. 

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, providing you commit yourself to the course, I believe you have the potential to pass at assessment. In order to meet all the assessment criteria, there are certain areas you will need to focus on, which I will outline in my feedback. 

Feedback on assignment

You have chosen to explore the Barbican for your assignment and have explored the space while considering useful existing artists who have informed your approach. You have considered a range of viewpoints and details which produce a thorough investigation. You have reflected on different potential groupings which is great to see. 

Your prints are of a good quality, and I know we have discussed this previously, but I still wonder about the use of the black outline for every assignment? It may be more suited to some subjects than others, and perhaps useful to consider when it works best to serve your purpose.  


You have included an image of the flowers as a cover photo in your printed set, with your name and assignment text on it. By doing this it has a different status to the other images, and it feels removed from the set. On the blog it appears as part of the assignment set along with another colour image. 

Box A
Asg. 4 cover image

This effect was intentional. I thought that use of a cover image was preferable to the simple sheet of A4 with large black text used for Assignment 3. One of the pleasures of submitting assignments on paper rather than online is that it gives (the impression, at least) of some control over the sequence in which they are viewed. The notion here was to use a contrasting but related image in an effort to increase the impact of the relatively austere, black and white, architectural shots that followed and which make up the body of the submission. By choosing a colour shot of flowers which is barely discernible as The Barbican (only a sliver of the flats in the background, and that not in focus) the contrast was, I thought, maximised.
In practise, however, it appears that the effect has just been to give an impression indecisiveness.

You might want to think about whether you want the coloured images to be part of the set or not, and if so how you negotiate this, as the difference in presentation of the blog and printed images make this seem like you haven’t quite decided? There is definitely room to develop either approach.  

Box B

I have always understood (though I have no idea where I learned this) that combining black and white and colour images in the same set was simply not done. I am delighted to learn that this is not true, but the idea is so ingrained that I doubt that I will ever be able to overcome it.
I had dithered over whether to submit the set in colour or in black and white (see Blog, 22nd May)

If you wanted to include both colour images into the set there is potential to really push the contrast between the colour and monotone images: 
Your printed cover image provides an interesting stark contrast to the brutalist monochrome architectural shots, and especially when considered with image 8 (the shot which you haven’t sent as a print), I wonder about interspersing some coloured images inamongst the monotone architectural detail images -perhaps a crop of the red hot pokers with their yellow underbelly, or a portrait crop of the concrete wall and metal casing with yellow arrow from box A, when placed alongside the flowers and yellow cone image thematically play with yellow, a colour you might not expect from this building.  

Box C
alternative cover
Box D
Image 8, not included

The photographs shown in Box D in the Blog, and one of which is shown in Box C, right, were taken specifically as alternative cover images for the assignment. The idea was to incorporate a flower bed and the iconic Barbican balconies, but no view was found where an area of clear sky could be included to take the text, as in the image used, shown in Box A above.

Regarding Image 8, shown in Box D, this was taken on the first of the two photographing visits. I included it in the consideration process because it is, in my view, the most interesting photograph I produced on the project. But it is outside the scope of the remit I set for the assignment and was never intended to be included (at least in colour). It can be argued that I should have been more flexible and produced a wider ranging selection of images, but I consider it important to have produced a creditable set of images within the self-imposed brief.

Box E
The Granite Room

Reference to the “concrete wall and metal casing” allows mention of The Granite Room, not available to the general public, but an optional extra when time permits on the guided tour. Every exterior surface on the site was hand finished, at considerable additional expense, and examples of the initial experiments in colours and surface textures are preserved in this subterranean chamber.


You have made an interesting and creative set of images in relation to the brew dog can, as a reaction to the commercial uniform images from the search engine. The Tate shot was a good idea, and works well due to the contrasting colours against the can, as well as a nod to art using real objects juxtaposed against the modernist art past. You make interesting refections on the priority given to specific objects in an image, once the can is in front of Brighton West Pier, and it is interesting to see you experiment with ways of decreasing the piers significance in the image. 

Box F
The Can, Exercise 4.5

The positive comments on Exercise 4.5 are appreciated.


Good to see you focusing the research in your index. This is a useful resource where you are using it to reflect in more detail on the images you mention, considering content, concept, presentation, or formal elements. The more in-depth you can make your analysis the better, as this will give you a space to develop your analytical writing skills. Also consider how these artists are enabling you to think in different ways about your own practice. 

As mentioned previously, I find it very useful as a general resource and I am slowly learning to relate my output to the past works of others.

Learning Log

From the home page you have clear links to all sections of your work. Good to see you considering alternatives to your assignment 3 work after reflecting on my feedback. Sometimes allowing yourself a wider brief initially is a good plan to get out an allow unexpected things to develop, and then as you consider, reflect on, and edit the images you can narrow the selection, in order to clearly communicate your idea. Even having reconsidered these sets as alternatives you still might decide for assessment to print out a different final set: whether one that combines some of your first submission with some of these images, re-shoots in response to another protest, or pulls together a differing narrative about protest and so reimagines the set for a final time. [7]

I think this is the approach I need to move to in the future. I believe that I have a tendency to decide too early on too narrow a brief, rather than setting a general direction and exploring it freely.

I will try to be less restrictive with future assignments, though this may be more applicable to future courses than to the final EyV assignment which must be started soon.

On reworking, the next task is an extended, colour version of Asg. 4 (a mixture of colour and mono being a step too far). This will be the link.

Pointers for the next assignment / assessment 

For your last assignment you can bring together all the skills you have learned and really push your personal voice. Consider location, props, and how best to communicate your chosen idea.  


As you are approaching the end of the course I would suggest looking online at how to book an assessment date, and consider how you will send your prints for assessment. A4 size is fine to print your final assignment images, once you have thought about reworking or adaptations you might make (with other earlier versions left displayed and clearly labelled on the blog). Label and number your prints on the back. You can also print out your commentary for each assignment. It is recommended that the work is well presented in a clam shell archival box or something similar to show your work in a professional manner.

I will work on this on a separate page.

Asg4 feedback

Comments completed 13th July.