Assignment 1 – Two sides of the story – reflection

Having looked at the images I took and having an idea in my mind of what I was hoping to achieve I found that I was not clear on what the story is. Put simply I think it could be titled ‘Two views of Cambridge’ an attempt to show the city from the perspective of a tourist and a resident, however, I recognise that there is a problem with this as only half the images can be thought of as authentic, those I have taken as resident, the others are my interpretation of what a visitor to the city would seek to capture. On further consideration I realised that this is a challenge with all narratives, the storyteller is not neutral, they have role in bringing the story to life and in that sense I have done the same by putting myself in the role of a tourist visiting the city for a short time. Thinking about the assignment in a wider context the series could be said to ask questions about the impact of tourism on the city and the challenges the large number of visitors creates versus the financial and employment benefits. 

Demonstration of technical and visual skills

  • Materials – I have not printed any of the photographs but will do when I am further into the course and thinking about what images I will put forward for assessment.

Techniques

  • I did not use any new or different techniques when taking the images or when editing them. I was mindful when taking the tourist images of the strong light and tried to shot with this behind me or coming from the side to avoid flare.

Observational skills, visual awareness, design & compositional skills –

  • I found taking pictures of the landmarks relatively straight-forward as the subject matter was easy to identify. What I found most challenging was to take pictures that were representative of a snapshot or postcard but which had a slightly different take on these well-known buildings and landscapes. I think by using different shooting positions, focal lengths and crops I have managed to achieve a degree of difference. I was pleased with the photograph of the mathematical bridge as I altered my position to take advantage of the sun behind me and to maximise the contrast between the bridge and the background.

Overall I found the residents series more challenging as I was keen to avoid a series of similar shop fronts, pubs or takeaways or a series of photographs all taken from the same viewpoint. I was pleased with the picture of the sleeping bag in the residents series as I liked the juxtaposition between the dresses, the reflections and the sleeping bag.

Quality of outcome

  • Content, application of knowledge, presentation, discernment, conceptualisation, communication of ideas – I think that the two sets of images present differing views of the city and convey the idea that those visiting for a short period are keen to cross off the sights whilst for residents their priorities are much more mundane and that they are possibly dismissive of all the main torist attractions as they play very little part in their daily lives.

Demonstration of creativity

  • Imagination, experimentation & invention – For the assignments in Expressing your vision I found it difficult to think of ideas to fulfill the briefs with the exception of assignment 5, photography is simple. For this assignment I found it easier to come up with an idea that I felt met the brief and that allowed me to express myself. Having said that I still find that the creative element of the course is the area I struggle with most and despite being happy with the final images I do not think I have been imaginative, experimental or innovative.

Context

  • Reflection, research, critical thinking – I do not think the reading for this module directly influenced my approach to this assignment, however, I think that for the tourist images I was mindful of the work of Martin Parr and his use of colour when taking recreational images. Whilst Parr is renown for photographing the British at play I chose a different approach of observing mainly overseas tourists and trying to capture the type of images they were taking.


Summary

This assignment made me think about how photographs can be used to tell a story and I think that it could be expanded to look at the challenges at trying to balance the growth of Cambridge and the pressure that puts on city’s infrastructure and the impact that has on the people who live in and around the city.

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