Collecting – Self assessment

Looking at the end result of my second assignment submission, I summarise in the following table some personal notes in relation with the course’s assessment criteria:

Assessment criteria

Personal views

Demonstration of technical and visual skills I believe the final selection pictures are reasonably well composed in line with what my perception of the subject matter was, and in nearly all cases focus is also correct. The one exception is picture number 6, where the focus should have been on the girl standing by the post on the left of the frame. I wanted to re-take this, but by the next frame she had changed position. I nonetheless ended up including this picture (and is one of my favourite ones in the series) because the girls gaze just made the picture for me, even if she is slightly out of focus.

The choice of focal length for this assignment resulted in a tight framing of many of the subjects, particularly when I was relatively close to them. In some cases this resulted in the subjects being partially cut-off, particularly in situations when I wanted to include background information. I appreciate that this may not always be aesthetically pleasing and may lead some viewers to conclude that some of the pictures are not well composed. Ultimately, this is the risk I took when I decided to go for telephoto lenses, and I assume the consequences for it.

Quality of outcome I am generally pleased in the way the pictures go together as a collection, and I believe the pairing of the central 8 pictures works well in as much as I believe these pictures have common aesthetic values that bind them, even though they portray different situations. While I also generally think that I managed to capture a wide variety of crowd situations, I also recognise that the gatherings portrayed are relatively close in class (eg most of the pictures represent crowds engaging in leisure activities) and this somewhat undermines the variety that I wanted to achieve with my collection. Either because of lack of time or insufficient planning on my behalf, there are no pictures of crowds engaging in political activities, for instance, which addition I think would have allowed me to create more contrast and add “tension” to the collection.
Demostration of creativity I do not think that any of what I did for this assignment was particularly revolutionary, but I did push my normal way of shooting to a certain extent. I am usually more comfortable with normal-wide focal lengths, and use telephoto lenses for reach only. In this case I was working at distances slightly longer than usual, but visualising the frame through a much tighter angle of view. This required me to constantly reposition myself to find an angle that worked, or to crop the scene to show only the main elements that caught my attention. One think I wanted to experiment with but ended up discarding was using extreme low and high angles (some samples of this can be found in initial testing post – link). In the end, I was afraid I would not be able to find sufficient locations to make an assorted collection of these pictures, and I did not want to mix extremely different points of view within the final selection, so I decided not to undertake this idea for this project. This may be the basis for another crowd collection project in the future.
Context  I believe most of the pictures in the final selection reflect the aesthetic codes which I have researched for this assignment and I have referenced these in my final notes. With respect to the research process, I believe I need to deepen my understanding of what influenced some of the photographers I reference in my work. This requires a lot of time and preparation, and I will try to improve this during subsequent assignments.

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