Assignment 5 – drafting and hiccups

Assignment 5 : Narrative and Illustration

 The ‘nearly’ Assignment 5

From the beginning of Part 5 I’ve wanted to focus on the Common that plays a large part in my life.  I played around with the idea of Geocaching for a brief time and, indeed, eventually managed to combine it with the Common. During the Part 5 Exercises I produced two sets of images – one using the Holga lens with 500D  and the other using my smaller G12, but processing with artistic filters.

I went back to just the Common though and one particular event which happened at the beginning of the year. I realise now what a challenge I set to myself and how anything I did for this particular Assignment could only be a brief snapshot of the ebb and flow of its Seasons; changing moods; environments; animals and people. It is bounded by major roads and largely hidden from view by trees, with only two car parks to its major area. We live close by, so I walk over there daily with our two dogs through a tree-shadowed, path and, usually, up to the Sandpit. I decided that this Sandpit was going to set the scene for my Assignment. Mist can hang around in the mornings (something I hadn’t portrayed in any previous exercises or Assignments) and I wanted to include this as well.

This is how it was shaping up as a booklet:


First page/’editorial’

The mist that can hang around in the morning




The events that can emerge

       4 images (see below)

End of the day


I’ve run into some difficulties though which have been highlighted by a further telephone conversation with my tutor yesterday.  She also emphasized some aspects of presentation.

The Cover page

This is in portrait format, but the rest of the pages are in landscape format.  Now I had actually realised that, panicked, and tried to shuffle the other images around on portrait format – but they didn’t work.  I then had a look at some other Assignment 5’s that did appear sometimes to show a similar format. I reassured myself then that it would be okay, and carried on merrily. My tutor, quite rightly I think, was not in agreement with this. She thinks I do have some strong images and also pointed out that one of the mist images could actually make a good cover. If I do this it will alter my pagination and how images are being put together.

Emerging events

I was charmed by the cross country event that emerged (and the dog spectators).  One of the areas that I think had been making me dawdle about this subject though was that it involves children. The original discussion with my tutor reinforced this ethical issue. I can submit for an assignment but it would not be appropriate to post them on my blog. I spoke with Lee at OCA office, and discussed further.  Another possibility might be to post the assignment on the protected student site but, if in continuing doubt, my tutor or myself could get in touch with someone from the management team about this. I discussed this again with my tutor yesterday and she doesn’t think the OCA site would be suitable either.


Two of the images juxtaposed together don’t look right  due to their relative sizes and position on the page (the small dog covered in sand and the large dog) . They were ones I was already uncertain about . My tutor commented on presentation in a wider sense.  I already knew that emailing PDFs or putting them on a disc was not a good thing to do because of the amount of time it takes to download them. I had thought that it would be faster to place a reduced size PDF on a Dropbox folder but my tutor said it isn’t.  It is therefore not a good idea at all to submit a PDF by any method for an assignment or formal assessment.

Digesting feedback

I went for a walk with my husband and the dogs shortly after my discussion with my tutor.  On the Common a rather large, friendly, young Labrador came bounding up to say hello to our dogs. He was quite heavy and wiggly. Somehow or other he knocked into me, just behind my knees, and as he moved away I lost my own momentum and was poleaxed! My husband said he saw it all in slow motion – the top of my back hit the ground first, followed quickly by my head. No bones are broken and I’m not having any symptoms of concussion, but I certainly feel very stiff around my shoulders, neck and lower skull. It brought back to me a comment made by John on my previous post in terms of him hoping that my holga ‘wolf’ didn’t lose its legs. How prophetic John!

A briefer discussion yesterday with my tutor concerned the holga images in fact. In previous email feedback she had been very positive about these and given me several references to follow re photographers and authors. Her concern was about the amount of time, effort and challenges I’d already worked through with the Common images and what would be the effect on me of changing the subject theme at this stage. Her viewpoint also was that the holga images had the potential to form a much larger body of work, at a more advanced stage than an Assignment at Level 1. Level 3 seems light years away to me though and, in between, there doesn’t seem to be a Module which fits that type of work. It certainly wouldn’t seem to fit in People & Place which I’m doing next.

I woke up very early this morning with thoughts churning around in my head and feeling a really strong urge to ditch the Common images for the assignment and do some intense work on the Holga images, which have now increased in number.

There are changes that obviously need to be made so far as the Common images are concerned.  The portrait format cover image was, in fact, originally a landscape one which I cropped so I can still use it. Having looked again at the first page ‘editorial’ I realise it doesn’t look right to my eye at all. Some of the type is overset and it all seems wrongly placed on the page. Maybe two columns would be better than three. The image of the sandpit is too small really so it all looks out of proportion. I think it might be better to leave it out all together.

Quite a lot of thinking and work to be done today

5th April 2012

7 Comments on “Assignment 5 – drafting and hiccups”

  1. John Umney says:

    Oh dear Catherine, hope you feel better soon! I’ll keep my thoughts to myself in future 🙂 Having said that I think the “Fairy Tales” does have a real narrative starting to emerge. I suppose the rework is about development and learning – I’ll look forward to seeing the update.

  2. I also hope you are now recovered.

    I understand very well the temptation to start again with the Holga images that you like. How wonderful that you get so much support and detailed feedback from your tutor: I am wondering what you will decide. I think the Common pictures work well but I don’t completely follow the narrative thread – that may be because you have (I think) removed some of the pictures from this set, but also because the first page gives some background to the Common and the Sandpit area and then you get into what appears to be a narrative and I don’t see the link.

    • Catherine says:

      You’re right about the thread Eileen. It is because I had to remove some pictures for the blog, although a complete set would be submitted for the assignment if I do use this set for it – which I’m now very much in doubt about!

      • eileenrafferty says:

        I am pleased that you seem to be swaying towards going with your own vision and the pictures you really like, however much that may add to the process.
        Also testing again to see if I can comment without logging into WP, FB or Twitter.

      • Catherine says:

        That’s good it looks like everything is working ok today. Am working on the images – problem is that, being holga, they’re a bit blurry!

  3. Saadia says:

    Catherine, I love the images of the mist through the trees and the front page editorial. The Horses quietly grazed is lovely too. I love the misty affect. My first impression is that the idea starts off quite well. The section on the Mist is really appealing to me. After that I am not quite sure what you are trying to say. I hope you are feeling better now. Keep at it. I am really looking forward to your finished work.

    All the best Saadia

    PS – What software are you using to make the editorials?

    • Catherine says:

      Thanks Saadia. The idea of this was to show images of the Common throughout the day – starting with the morning mist and ending in the late afternoon. The difficulty was that I couldn’t show the middle section images on my blog as they were of children. Eventually I decided not to submit this work for the assignment because I wanted to submit the work I had done on ‘Valeria’ – which was a new form of photography for me. the ‘Valeria’ images are on a later post. I used Adobe InDesign to make the editorial for the Common.

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