Overall I was pleased with the first feedback I've received from my tutor, Keith Roberts. Partly this was due to the fact that Keith was quite complimentary about the work I had submitted but also, more importantly, because for the first time someone is able to look at what I'm doing with a professional eye and point out where I might be going wrong. Up until now I have been my only critic, as my friends generally make nice comments regardless of whether my photographs are worthy or not. Nice as this may be, I won't improve with that kind of review! Receiving criticism also means that compliments carry more weight so it was pleasing that Keith praised a couple of my images too.
The full text of my feedback can be found here.
The main points I took from the Keith's feedback were:
- The importance of composition alongside good technique; how good composition can help you stand out from 'normal' photographers.
- Ensuring that if a photograph is worth taking, it's worth taking properly. If it can't be made into a good photograph, for whatever reason, move on to something that can. I shouldn't try and shoe-horn a poor image in. This was particularly in relation to getting the exposure right.
- I should be able to justify my choice for using monochrome instead of colour. A handful of the images I'd used in the assignment were in monochrome for no apparent reason; I need to think about why I'm doing this and should note my thoughts when doing so.
- I need to incorporate more gallery/exhibition visits into my study schedule and to review these on my blog.
- I need to study the work of skilled practitioners and review my thoughts on them on my blog.
Keith recommended I look at the work of Magnum photographers Henri Cartier-Bresson and Josef Koudelka in particular, to help get a better understanding about how good composition improves a photograph. I plan to do this over the coming few weeks while I continue preparing for the second assignment.