End of year feedback

I’ve received my grading and feedback from the assessment, and I’m happy with it. I wasn’t graded as “100%” (as if I could be), so there’s room for improvement and also a case for not resting on any laurels I might have (I don’t want the grade to slip further south...). Yes, the grading mark was lower than that of my degree, but then this is a step up in terms of academic level and a step away from “pure” photography and into a fine art arena, so this was expected. I have a clearer idea of any expectations now, and a more accurately defined goal to aim for...

In terms of the assessment comments, I’ve included excerpts from them below:

Overall comments
This was an imaginative submission, after initial problems you were able to refocus, working only with images available through the internet.
The experimental element that brought in literal aspects of a journey, i.e. diesel fuel, was inspired and the whole submission is satisfyingly coherent and well executed with aesthetic care and consideration.
The quality of your reflection and your commitment to research and understanding contemporary photographic practice clearly is reflected in the quality of the work you make.

So, it seems to have been well received 😀. To be honest, some of the credit for the diesel needs to go to my visiting tutor, Lisa, as the idea came from the session I had with here, and discussions around some of the difficulties I’d been having with the execution of my original idea (more down to self imposed limits and the practicalities of doing it than anything else - I needed to work with a larger format than FF, but couldn’t because of focal length).

Knowledge of contexts, concepts, and methods specifically
Your essay identifies and discusses some of the problematics of appropriation in contemporary photographic practice; it shows a discerning level of academic research and is a critically informed debate of topical issues directly relevant to and informing your practice.
Your understanding of the medium means that you have established your own technical framework that supports your practice, you are also becoming more open to exploring wider lens-based and other practical techniques that could expand your themes.

“...becoming more open to exploring wider lens-based and other practical techniques...” is perhaps a key phrase in there. I’m not 100% sure I’ll be doing too much in the realms of “wider lens-based techniques”, but hey, who knows where the fancy will take me? I do like the work Daisuke Yokota turns out, so maybe. I’ve also recently bought a book on alternative techniques, I’m just not sure I want to step away from digital yet. And yes, I’ve started some more work using Google Street View – my series After Stephen Shore (I’ve moved away from song titles for the GSV work – I’ve not thought of a relevant one for this yet). I’ll post some of these soon.

Understanding through the application of knowledge
Your submission clearly shows that you are adept at the material realisation of your ideas, you exercise considerable discernment in the details of editing and presentation of your photographic work in line with the subject matter to produce pieces that are materially and conceptually coherent.
We recognise that you do not have a fine art background but we would encourage you to be more vocal with your opinions in seminars and group crits.

A nice paper and a book has done the trick it seems. No, that’s playing down the thought that went into it, the paper was chosen to make the most of the images. The book was designed to be acknowledging of Ruscha’s original, but not a copy. There was a little bit of a compromise there though, and in keeping the cost down, the paper of the book is not quite what I would’ve wanted, but then if it was, the cost would’ve been 5-fold, if not more, and I wanted to keep it in the sub-£10 bracket so that it was easily affordable. And yes, I know I can be quiet during the seminars for some subjects (i.e. those that don’t involve photography). I’ll see what I can do on this.

Application of professional skills
You began the MA with strong feelings of ambivalence, we hope that these have settled and you can now concentrate on identifying and developing the areas of your practice that will help you realise your ambitions.

If by “ambivalence” it refers to my understanding that my photography is not a main career at the moment, and is perhaps unlikely to become one until I can at least semi-retire, then this is still the case. I do however have ambitions, things I want to achieve, so I will be looking at this going forward.

Things to build on and certainly with positives in there. Yeah, I’ll be signing up for the second year. I will be having a little break from all the reading and making in the meantime though. My batteries need recharging, and not just the ones from my cameras either.


Speak My Language, one of my bodies of work, is being exhibited at the Athens Photo Festival (APhF:15), alongside work by noted names such as Anna Fox (I believe – I’ve not seen a definitive list) in the Photobook section and Cristina de Middel and Christian Patterson in the main exhibition.

© Madalina (@Madutzasan on Twitter)

The Photobook Show describes itself as :

“A tribute to the form of photobook
In recognition of the increasing importance of the photo book in contemporary photographic practices, the Festival is introducing a new specific exhibition section dedicated to the form of book, featuring a curated selection of photobooks from artists and individual publishers worldwide.”

Details of the exhibition, which runs from June 3 – July 26, can be found at http://www.photofestival.gr.



  • All of the work has been delivered to OCA in Barnsley, it’s all been accepted (diesel prints included), and all of the written work is uploaded to the assessment folders, etc. Job done, it’s just a case of waiting to hear what has been thought of it all now...

Questions for exhibition

I've been in discussion with a local authority run gallery with the intention of hosting an exhibition of work. As a result of this, I've been sent a questionnaire to complete - some of the questions seem pretty straightforward to answer, others a little less so. Some serious thought and consideration is required in order to fill some sections in.

The questions are:
  • Working Title
  • Summary description of the exhibition
  • Aims & objectives of exhibition
  • Proposed dates
  • Financial breakdown (hire fees, expected income, production costs, installation costs)
  • Budget allocated
  • Locations proposed
  • Audience (does it fulfil formal educational and lifelong learning needs?)
  • Exhibition contents
  • Outline design brief
  • Associated events and activities
  • Marketing and communication needs: how will potential audiences be reached?
  • Evaluation & visitor information

A little red book

The first year of this MA course is finished. The photographs are printed, the essay written, PPP progressed and the journal entries blogged and extracted. Everything has been uploaded ready for the assessors and I'll be setting off to Barnsley in an hour to see if they will accept to take the diesel prints in to support the assessment process. If not, it will be down to the rephotographed prints and this...

red book
Ruscha's Gasoline Stations (virtually) Revisited

As supporting material, I have produced a little book. The dimensions are not too far from Ruscha's - his was 7"x5", this is the nearest Blurb do at 8"x5". The design of the book is loosely based on what Ruscha produced - the cover is colour reversed with a similar typeface, it's closer together though; the images are in the same order but are 5x4 format (generally) rather than square; there's also a bit more text in there at the end, and therefore a few more pages. It's largely 'similar' though, and that seemed appropriate for me as I have appropriated his theme.

Yes, it's been done by Blurb, so I was stuck in the format they have defined, with the paper choice they make available, so it's not necessarily the finest object that can be produced, but it is affordable and that again matches what Ruscha's intentions were, even if the fact is that the entry level prices for a third edition of his book start around the £500 mark (generally a little less), and I've seen a first edition advertised at approaching £17000 - you can buy a brand new Mini Cooper or a 48 page book... (I know, nothing compared to the Picasso - there were 300 of these books though).