6. Reflection on Assignment 2 related to Assessment Criteria

Demonstration of Technical & Visual Skills:

I’ve continued to experiment with layers and composites and also new approaches such as folding photographs and 3D sculptures such as here . In Assignment two I used different types of layering, also experimenting with the warp tool in Photoshop to turn handwriting into waves as this seemed to me a way of representing travel overseas and also waves of sand in the desert of Egypt.  I feel reasonably competent in Photoshop although do occasionally have to resort to re-reading chapters in manuals.

The Assignment required me to produce a digital photobook.  I have produced two Blurb books in the past but two years have passed since then.  It was a relief to find that I hadn’t forgotten how to use and adapt their templates for my own purposes.  To begin with I used a board to sequence small prints cut from contact sheets but then being able to manipulate sizes in Blurb software helped me with further alignment of images and relative sizes and make some further decisions on replacement images. I think that, in general, I made good choices on which images went well together.  I also sought feedback from student colleagues individually and within OCA Thames Valley group. Feeling at ease with Blurb meant that I also had more opportunity to think what was involved in the whole process of creating a book. I became aware that the idea of a physical book was still in my head so that I was concentrating on making sure that viewers could read the handwriting extracts whereas, of course, an image can be enlarged in a digital book. Book-making is one of the skills I wish to improve on both digitally and in print.

Quality of Outcome:

I feel confident and competent in expressing thoughts/ideas in writing and within my learning blog and often receive positive feedback on this. Most of my work so far on this Module has been in digital form, although I have printed small size images to present to Thames Valley Group. I usually enjoy printing my own work, despite printer frustrations, and don’t want to lose the skills I have gained. Digital manipulation is interesting, challenging and enjoyable but I continue to prefer the feel of prints – their materiality and tactility. As mentioned above, the brief for Assignment 2 was to produce a digital photobook but I have also ordered a printed book because I want to see how the images and layout look in print. The book has not yet arrived but when it does I will take it to OCA Thames Valley Group to ask for feedback and suggestions for improvements. My longer term aim is to create and print my own photo book.

A new aspect of this Module has been work with my personal archive. I have done this before but, this time, have had to get used to a larger volume of scanning, retouching and then re-working old photographs. Wherever possible I aim to retain the original monachrome tones. So far as the letters are concerned I have worked towards producing just large enough extracts to carry the message I wish to portray

Demonstration of Creativity:

As mentioned above (re technical and visual skills) I have continued to experiment with new approaches to working with photographs. The creation of the digital photobook for Assignment 2 also took me further into areas of more complicated editing and sequencing – how to balance facing images and make decisions on relative sizing for example.

Whilst planning for the Assignment I thought of new ways to combine images and utilise my learning during this Module.  Also, through the act of more intensive and systematic looking, I found themes new to me within the letters from the 1940s. I hope that this has enhanced my emerging personal voice and given me more clarity in what I want to express.

Context

I’m very aware of my tendency to read and research too much admit that, this time, I got somewhat lost in reading about archives because I find it so interesting. My eye sight problem slowed me down as well and, strangely enough, seemed to affect my ability to summarise what I was reading. Thankfully, with better eyesight, I do now feel more focused and energetic., However, eyesight problems apart, I do think that Assignment two has benefited from being well-grounded in its emotional, familial and historical context so perhaps slower thinking enabled me to enter into the project at a deeper level.

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