Category Archives: ASSIGNMENTS

Assignment one – ‘Two sides of the story’ – The end

Course:  Context and Narrative

Assignment one – ‘Two sides of the story’ – The end (following ‘The middle‘)

Overall I enjoyed this Assignment once I had gotten over the nerves of asking semi strangers access to their private space.

Documentary images for me have to have that ‘just taken and left’ look.  So I didn’t attempt to stage any of the images I took, I didn’t move any of the objects either in the frame or in the space where I was taking the images with my camera, I worked with and within the space I had.  I didn’t direct the occupants to do anything out of the ordinary for the images I just wanted to turn up take the image and leave.

I knew the framing I wanted to use and had this planned even before turning up at the houses.  In my mind I wanted to try to be as objective as possible and to capture a moment in time where I was somewhere I hadn’t been before in the most honest way I could and my own small way I believe I achieved this.

As part of this post I wanted to as a regular part of my reflection comment on the course assessment criteria and provide a few points of more directed reflection:

Demonstration of technical and visual skills – with this assignment I wanted to keep all the windows framed the same, inside and out, to give continuity and the viewer the ability to form comparisons.  Both sets had to be exposed differently, the outside shots being natural lighting and the inside shots made up mostly of ambient lighting.  I used a tripod to ensure all images were taken from the same height and distance from the windows (the reference point).  Originally in planning I wanted to use a wider angle to get more in frame but I was restricted with the lens I had and the space I could use to get the shots due to furniture etc.

Quality of outcome – I think the consistent composition aspect of the images worked well.  All the inside spaces had different lighting levels/types so I had to adjust the exposure but in each case I tried to used the largest depth of field I could in each given circumstance and used auto white balance.  I am pleased with the outcome and as I said before it was the social aspect of this assignment which was the greatest area of personal growth for me.

Demonstration of Creativity – Although the resultant photography could be argued to be straightforward imagery, this assignment ended up being more about gaining access to areas not accessed before (or by anyone other than friends, family or a persuasive neighbour!) and pushing my boundaries to achieve an outcome of both insider and outsider.  To make this assignment work I needed to be respectful of people I didn’t know very well and of their private space.  I was surprised they were all very supportive of my endeavors once they knew I was studying a degree and that the images would be used as part of my study portfolio, which was encouraging.

Context – Two different viewpoints representative of the Photo-journalistic inside/out viewpoint.  I needed to be objective when explaining what I was trying to do, so the neighbours who were giving me access felt comfortable about what I was doing and why.  Also one of my aims was to preserve anonymity so I purposefully didn’t include the occupants in the images.  A closer frame around the window also in all but one case excluded the door number of the house.

This concludes my posts for this Assignment submission and I now await my tutor’s feedback and will post this in due course.


Assignment one – ‘Two sides of the story’ -The middle

Course:  Context and Narrative

Assignment one – ‘Two sides of the story’ – The middle (following ‘The beginning‘)


“Create at least two sets of photographs telling different versions of the same story.
Choose a theme and aim for 5-7 images for each set.  …ensure the images are candid and ‘taken from real life’.
Include an introduction of 300 words outlining what you set out to do and how you went about it.”

The images I have submitted for this brief were influenced by the photojournalism section and, in particular, the Inside/Out viewpoint.

I have been interested in the insider aspect of photography for a while and have thought about what circumstances would enable someone to become an insider.

My starting point was to think of a situation where in everyday life I was, in general, an outsider and then see if it was possible to become an insider and compare the two viewpoints.  These two different viewpoints would form my two-image set, of which I needed 5 to 7 ‘sets’ to complete the assignment.

We have a large bay window in the front of my house which I, and my dog, spend a fair bit of time staring out of and as I sat there one day I saw a number of people walk past and look in and it was then that I knew the idea I wanted to pursue.  

I had the viewpoint of occupier looking out in to the street and they had the viewpoint of general public looking in.   So I started by photographing, using the same framing, my front room window from the inside out and then from the outside in.

Great, I thought, that’s one set in the bag.  Then I realised I needed another at least 4 sets to complete my assignment.  This is where what should have been a simple assignment turned from producing a set of inside/outside photographs to a social experiment of meeting neighbours and persuading them to give me access to their inner sanctum to photograph their windows.  This was the toughest part of the assignment, apart from being a weird thing to ask I felt I was asking myself into their private space.  

I was very relived and thankful when I was given access.

And here are my results:

I interpreted the part of the brief which stated ‘taken from real life’ to mean not to digitally manipulate images as we did in Project 5 i.e. using Photoshop or equivalent.

That concludes my official Assignment submission (‘The middle’) please now move on to the next part of the blog ‘The end‘.

Assignment one – ‘Two sides of the story’ -The beginning

Course:  Context and Narrative

Assignment one – ‘Two sides of the story’ – The beginning

Here I am again.  Another diagnostic assignment.  At the start of another course.  Which I’ll probably spend far too much time a) thinking about the creative possibilities for, b) cogitating on the depth and breadth of content, c) pondering on the scope of the required/recommended reading and d) the extent to which analysis across texts would be required, well, I was right….

My mind has been in overdrive since I opened up the course materials and was instructed “Before you go any further, read the introduction to each part of the course to give yourself an idea of the course content.”

I learnt from EYV that each Assignment should be informed by the content of the part of the course it follows, as a result I skim read the whole of part one and the Assignment one brief before I started the first part of the course so I knew what I was aiming for.

Further on in the course notes I noted that a diary would need to be kept to inform another exercise so I decided I would do this from the start and with it I would also keep a ‘list of potential ideas’.  I have light bulb moments when I am least expecting, or prepared, for them so I now keep a notebook with me all the time, this means I can quickly jot down the idea when it comes to me.   Ideas in my experience can disappear as quickly as they appear with little chance to acknowledge and remember them, so the only option is to commit them to pen and paper as soon as possible.

The ideas I have obtained this way are far too many to actually execute but there are some which given time and opportunity they are ‘must dos’ on my photography bucket list.  Hopefully I will be able to bring some of them to life during my photography degree coursework.

Why is all this so important?  Well, I had been pondering Assignment one for some time and had by now 4 different ideas in my notebook for this particular brief.  I had ruled all of them out due to either difficulty of execution, unavailability of resources or having an idea which wouldn’t stretch to 5-7 sets easily, so those were discarded for this assignment (they are still in my ideas list though!).  As I was starting to panic the idea which I have used for this assignment came to me, however, not without its issues but out of all the ideas, this was the most suitable and attainable for the brief.

Of course the added challenge was that it also had to be informed by the teachings from part one…

Format of my Blog response:

Before I start with my ‘Blog’ response on Assignment one I wanted to explain its content structure.  I think the Learning Log is meant to capture more than the official Assignment response to the tutor, or at least this appears to be the general working assumption, so text from my official response has been highlighted in bold to enable you (the reader) to distinguish between what is just ‘chat’ i.e. my thoughts, and what has been ‘submitted’.  This will help contextualize my tutor’s response/critique and any rework that is requested.

As with EYV I have split my blog posts up into a number of sections;

  • The beginning – (this post) my initial thoughts on the brief and any relevant background information;
  • The middle –  my response to the Assignment brief including written submission, my images and technique adopted;
  • The end – reflection on the brief, including a self-assessment of the assessment criteria; and
  • Tutors Feedback – tutor’s response to my submission and my comments in response to the feedback given.

Please now move forward to the next blog ‘The middle‘ which contains my Assignment response.