OCA Thames Valley Study Group – Meeting 18th July 2015

Eleven students came today with tutor Jesse Alexander in attendance. The agenda for the meeting was to  bring work for discussion  and/or questions for the tutorial group to discuss. I have made brief notes below about each student’s contribution to the day. If  reference was made to another photographer’s work I have included the URL and will made research notes in my blog later.

Eddie provided a very useful insight into the quality of different types of inkjet paper by presenting 9 different papers from a Marrut sample pack all printed with the same image. This made comparisons easy and showed how the surface texture effected the quality and resolution of the image. Eddie’s preference was the Smooth Fine Art. My choice would have been the Archival Matt or the Pro Photo Satin/Oyster. The group went on to discuss limited edition fine art prints and whether if a print was destroyed (by accident) would the photographer be justified in refusing to provide a replacement? An interesting question.

Teresa is studying Context and Narrative. She presented a very personal piece of work entitled “When You Left” which was about  coming to terms with grief. She showed two versions, a book and seven single prints with texts. The work was in 2 sections, three images depicting grief and 4 depicting acceptance. I was interested in this work as I have been thinking for a long time about this subject and how to express my own emotional journey through similar circumstances. It may or may not be something I would be brave enough to share but I certainly got some inspiration from Teresa’s work. ref Sophie Rickett.


Teresa also showed several prints recording progress in the rebuilding of her garden and a personal project on Stanwell (Middx) explaining her personal connections to the locations shown. (This ties in with my later question to the group about personal connections to the landscape which could form the basis of Assignment 5 for Documentary).

Richard is studying TAoP and DPP and showed prints covering some of the exercises for these courses. ref Victor Burgin: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victor_Burgin His question to the group was, should he produce individual prints for the assignment on colour/complementary/contrasting or produce a print with several images show these various combinations. Jesse suggested the old Triple Print idea when a processor would produce one large and two small images on the same print. An interesting idea for presentation that I may use in future projects.

Katherine is also studying context and narrative and has experimented with self portraiture for the section “putting yourself in the picture”. She said she was uncomfortable with the idea of posing and taking her own picture but some of her results were interesting, a manipulated print where she appears twice in the same frame, a fun shot where she is wearing a wig. ~She complained that the remote trigger she was using for her Canon was less than sensitive but this gave rise to the most striking image of all where she had placed herself in the right half of the frame with some beautiful flowers (in a garden) to her left. Her right hand is raised as she points the remote at the camera. I thought this was a more subtle though still overt way of saying “this is my selfie”. https://www.flickr.com/photos/arreton/19282098498/in/pool-ocarts/

Vicki is working on “Woman as Object”. I’m not sure which course this is in. She discussed her idea of photographing parts of a mannequin (which she calls Hayley) in various locations in a shopping street which would include or suggest the terms that are used to objectify women and there bodies at locations which would include the butchers, pet shop, bakery e.g. meat, pet, buns etc. This provoked a lot of discussion around the topic of objectification which resurfaced later with Steve’s contribution. Meanwhile, I see from the Flickr page that Vicki has started her exploration of the High Street: https://www.flickr.com/photos/vickimartine/19635510848/in/pool-ocarts/

John is working on sequencing his “Purgatory” (see previous OCA TV posts) project for an exhibition in the Churchill Hospital, Oxford; 1 August – 12 Sept. He laid out a series of 23 prints in two rows (either side of a corridor) and asked for feed back from the group. Various options were suggested regarding the grouping and sequencing of the images which gave me an interesting perspective on how complex presenting an exhibition can be. I hope to be able to get to the exhibition sometime before it finishes.

Michael is studying Gesture and Meaning and showed his work for the Calendar project in which he has to produce a corporate calendar. He decided he would create a calendar for the fictional Hoverjoy company, based around the disused Hovertravel terminal in Ramsgate. He decided he would subvert the idea of the corporate calendar by using images and gender stereotypes from the 1970’s to exclude and subjugate the roles of everyone except the Males and the heterosexual family group of a man, wife and two children. The idea worked well although some of the images were a little unclear.

I took along my re-edited Assignment 3 for the group to discuss and I got good feedback from them and Jesse. Briefly (I shall expand on this under my Assignment 3 heading) Jesse thought the project was too complex and that I should restrict it to just Kelly’s musical career and contrast it with looking after the children. He also questioned whether my photographs needed captions as I had included all of  the story in the introductory explanation. I got some technical advice on using slow sync flash for low light photography at Kelly’s performance venues. Further editing and reshooting will take place in the coming week.

Steve is working on the Real or Fake assignment for DPP and had produced a video cover for the 1980’s TV series ‘V’ showing a girl with the left side of her face peeled back to reveal a lizard’s head underneath. It looked very good an Steve talked about the different techniques he has used to achieve the effects. A discussion followed on the ethics of manipulation and there was some discussion on the objectification of women and the ethics of the promotion of an idealised female body shape.

Keith brought along his design for a catalogue for his “Lifting the Curtain” exhibition which will take place in Spitalfields 15-25 October. (proposed study visit) He also brought some Platinum/Palladium prints of the modern east end which were interesting to see.

Holly presented prints from the Great Stones Walk project that she is doing which she felt turned out to be ‘pretty pictures’ the same as any other tourist shots. The discussion that followed talked about the difference between directed reality i.e. the way the landscape in tourist sites directs access and views which everyone follows not only physically but visually. The truthful reality is usually very different.

Ref Fay Godwin, Land https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fay_Godwin

This prompted me to discuss my Personal Project for Assignment 5 of Documentary which would be to undertake a walk from my present home to my childhood home via the sites of family interest along the route, Generally the idea was well received. I will do more research on Fay Godwin’s work and look at the work of Richard Long and Andy Goldsworthy who use walking an inspiration for their art. (from Robert Enoch 2012)


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