I have now had the feedback from my tutor on Assignment Four and had the opportunity for some further dialogue. Overall, the feeling is that I have done a solid job; planned well; met the brief; and produced a ‘good variety of thoughtful images’ that would ‘provide a good mix of illustrations for the magazine article’.
He commented, understandably, that whilst I had said that the town and the images have a ‘real mix of people’, the reality is very ‘white’ with few if any ethnic minorities. That is a true representation of Holmfirth, on the whole, and my ‘real mix’ was more to do with the fact that there are still families around who have been farming the valley for hundreds of years, alongside others associated with the mills of the industrial revolution, combined with everything else up to today’s professional commuters. But what the feedback does quite rightly demonstrate is that the perception of one’s images lies, ultimately, with the audience; and unless there is accompanying text to provide context or explanation, that audience will always read the images from their standpoint and their experience.
There were specific comments on individual images but also a suggestion that I might have one too many views of the stone houses – perhaps Image 11 could be replaced with something that added a further dimension such as the cinema or the water that I referred to in my notes, or maybe a night time image. I think that is useful feedback and it is something I will give further thought to before my assessment submission.
The other significant overall comment, which I had picked up myself in my notes regarding ‘lack of emotion’, was that I didn’t seem to be expressing a point of view or making a particular statement about Holmfirth. To be fair, I don’t think I set out to express a viewpoint, preferring (in the context of a magazine article) to reflect, without comment, and to document what I analysed to be the characteristics of the town. The point to learn from this, of course, is that such an approach should produce a competent and thorough outcome for a brief such as this one, but it won’t necessarily result in a set of images that make an impact on the viewer.
I’ve been discussing Assignment Five with my tutor. More in here later, but I hope that I am homing in on an idea that could have more of an emotional content that will contrast with and complement the more structured and shall we say detached/rational approach of the last two assignments.