Assignment 5 : Response to Tutor Feedback Part One
I’ve mentioned before how heartened I was by my tutor’s preliminary feedback on and support to take the leap and submit Tales with Valeria for Assignment 5. She also commented that my draft of Village Voice was a strong contender as well and she hoped I would draw attention to this when I send my work for final assessment. What I have done is to place all the draft work for the latter in my paper learning log.
In addition to the positive feedback there were three suggested areas for further work/reflection so far as Valeria is concerned:
- The varying degrees of sharpness/blur in the prints
- Suggestion that I discuss in greater depth the works of other photographers/artists/writers who employ similar feminist themes/strategies
- Encouragement to produce a Blurb book
For this post I’ll concentrate on the prints and the book.
My intention from the start had been to have a small, square book as a final product for myself if not for actual assessment. For the Assignment itself, though, I had created larger pages in InDesign using the Blurb plug-in for a small portrait book (approx 8” x 10”). I had done this because I thought that my tutor (and Assessors) would want to see larger prints and my tutor agreed with this assumption.
My tutor was concerned that the first three images of Valeria were perhaps a little too blurred compared with the images with her sister, the tree trunk, the frog, the children and the birdcage. She also commented that the last two images were quite blurry again but didn’t seem to fit the narrative. Her suggestion was to work on the sharpness a little or perhaps just increase the contrast slightly. She thought she agreed with my point about printing the images smaller. Additionally, she commented that she found the completely sharp woodland path a visual jolt and, for her, it didn’t fit the sequence in its present form.
I had had some problems in managing the colour in InDesign, despite using the same profiles for all the Adobe software, and this had driven me quite distracted in trying to produce a print that matched my calibrated monitor. This was particularly so with the wolf. My tutor’s other concern was with, ‘She wanted them’ where, in the print, Valeria is slightly darker and it’s easy to overlook her presence. Suggestions there were to experiment by using the dodging tool very carefully or using magnetic lasso/Select/Modify/Feather.
1. The cover
I made the blue background larger which makes the image itself smaller and sharper. I also increased the contrast on the image, which makes it stand out more against the background. The blue is a paler colour but I think it works well now that the image has more contrast.
2. The Woodland Path
I discussed this on the telephone with my tutor. She said she was less familiar with the Helga lens but was surprised that this too had been produced from it.
At the time I’d been pleased that I’d obtained such a bright, clear image from the lens but I do accept the point about the visual jolt.
I’ve added some Gaussian blur, which is probably more obvious on the print I’ll be submitting than here on my blog.
I have also re-printed the wolf so that he looms more out of the darkness in the wood and ‘the babes in the wood’ so that Valeria’s face is more noticeable. The soft-proofing function in Lightroom 4 really helped with that. I’ve also re-sized the image on the page where Valeria is looking at the Wolf man so that, again, it looks less blurred and all the re-worked prints will be submitted with the Assessment material. I’ll write more about the Wolf man in Part 2.
For the assignment itself I submitted a booklet I’d put together which showed the layout and wording, together with approx 8” x 10” prints of each individual page. As mentioned above though my intention eventually was to have a small square book. I think what was in my mind was a similar book I’d been given by my headteacher at infants school when I’d passed my first piano exam (which turned out to be my last as well!). The book was Cinderella and it’s a shame that I no longer have it.
The idea of a small, square book was reinforced when I bought a lovely small book Andre Kertesz : The Early Year (2005)s. This book is only 5” x 5”. It has a lovely navy blue, linen cover with a small (2 x 1 ½ `’) sepia image of three little boys reading a book (A link with Kertesz’s series On Reading which I also love). The Early Years contains some unknown early photographs created in Hungary between 1912 and 1925 and the book accompanied an exhibition. The book has a an Introduction by Bruce Silverstein and a beginning Essay by Robert Gurbo, curator of the Andre Kertesz estate, which details the reclaiming of the long-lost negatives and prints in 1963. The photographs in the book are quite tiny – most of them 2 x 1 ½ “ and you almost need a magnifying glass to see them, and I knew that really would be too small for Valeria. (In any case, at present Blurb’s smallest book is the 7×7”).
My tutor had encouraged me to go the self-publishing route and so I re-sized Valeria into the separate Blurb software rather than in InDesign. This was because I was concerned about the colour management problems that I still haven’t been able to resolve. My tutor had a look at the ‘proof’ on the Blurb website, pointed out a typographical error, which I corrected, and made a couple of suggestions on possible minor tweaks in the placement of the wolf and the pacing of the last two pages. The book was re-uploaded and here it is
It’s just a small and simple book but it’s very satisfying to follow the whole process through to a proper completion. It won’t arrive in time for me to send it with my material for Assessment but I am including the link here so that the Assessors can see another outcome of my work.
I still want to produce a more personalized book though especially after buying another book from the bookshop at The Whitechapel Gallery the other week. This is Six Fairy Tales From the Brothers Grimm: With Illustrations by David Hockney. It’s a small portrait size (8 ¼ x 5 ¾ “) hardback, with a blue-green coarse linen feel cover which has a small inset etching of Rapunzel. The book is illustrated with black and white etchings drawn onto plates by David Hockney and information on the back cover states:
Although inspired by earlier illustrations of the tales by such artists as Arthur Rackham and Edmund Dulac, Hockney’s extraordinary etchings re-imagine these strange and supernatural stories for a modern audience …”
The Fairy Tales are the lesser-known ones, apart from Rapunzel and Rumpelstiltkin and it’s delightful book to hold and read.
I’m not going to promise myself that I’ll do it for Valeria but I do intend to talk with Otter Bindery where I did a Workshop on Bookmaking some time ago. They offer a Photobook printing service with software you can use for arranging photos and inserting text etc plus bespoke bindings in addition to standard ones. I really do like the idea of linen bound covers with inset images.
8th June 2012
Hockney, D, Six Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm, (2012) Royal academy Publications
Silverstein, B & Gurbo, R , Andre Kertesz : The Early Years, (2005), W. W. Norton & Co., New York, London.
The Art of Photography
Assignment 4: Response to Tutor Feedback
This was an Assignment that I struggled with due to technical issues of dealing with the lighting whilst wanting to stay connected with my subject. I was relieved to get positive feedback overall. My tutor also noted how I had struggled in one or two cases with the shiny surface of the cup and suggested that bouncing light from white reflectors rather than silver might have overcome this. She also suggested that I could try the Clone or Healing tool in Photoshop and experiment with various Opacity and Flow settings. Well – I did attempt this on No. 9 where you can see how the light fell at each side of the cup.
I spent some time experimenting with both tools but, unfortunately neither of them worked well enough. I think this was because there were striations of colour which couldn’t be duplicated accurately enough at least at my stage of technical know-how of Photoshop.
Suggested reading for the next Assignment – ( 5 : Narrative and Illustration)
I was guided towards the works of Olivia Parker, Josef Koudelka and Chris Steele Perkins and I wrote about the latter two here
I’ll write more about Olivia Parker in my response to feedback on Assignment 5.
7th June 2012
When I looked again at my Assignment prints I decided that although No. 9 definitely had too many striations of light/colour for me to improve on (at my stage of expertise) I should look again at the others. I thought I should at least try to rise to the challenge! I therefore looked again at 2, 5, 7 and 8 and used the clone and/or healing brush tool to see what I could do about the ‘imperfect’ effect of the light. The originals are at the top and re-done images are on the bottom.
No. 2 : Form
I think I have improved on the shine that shows between the middle berry and the blue.
No. 5 : Texture
There was some shine which showed on the top right of the cup; However, the re-worked version looks somewhat duller somehow so not an improvement.
No. 7 : Shape
I removed the shine over the man in red’s head and I think it is an improvement.
No. 8 : Shape
I know I wasn’t happy at all about the shine in the middle of the cup. I have removed it but, to me, it doesn’t improve the image as now it just looks dull.
I’m pleased that I did persevere even though I don’t think that some of the work was an improvement. I will submit prints of No. 2 and No. 7 with my assessment material.
8th June 2012