Assessment Submission

Posted on May 11, 2013

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Over the last few weeks I have been very focused on gathering together the work I plan to submit for assessment for my level 3 Advanced Photography course. This has been much more time consuming than I had thought. However, the work is now complete and I have set out in this post the nature of my preparations what I learned along the way. I have decided to present work from 5 assignments dropping out the ‘Market’ assignment which was probably my weakest work and did not have a strong link to my overall theme of ‘Disarming the Pose’. Strictly the guidelines call for 4 sets of work to be submitted, but after discussing this with my tutor we agreed that I should submit five sets as all contribute a different dimension to my overall theme.

The package I will be sending for assessment is very large. The materials are grouped together in a black Plax A1 portfolio case, labelled with the course name and my name and student number. Inside the Plax portfolio are the following:

1. A white A4 ring binder, which contains an overview of the assessment submission, a copy of my reflective account ‘DISARMING THE POSE Reflective account on OCA Photography 3: Advanced Photography’, a guide to my on-line learning blog www.photo-graph.org and a flash drive containing digital copies of key documents labelled ‘DIGITAL COPIES OF DOCUMENTS. Keith Greenough.’

2. An 11 x 14 in. grey Conservation by Design Premier Drop Spine Box. The front cover and spine of the box are labelled: ‘MUSEUM Keith Greenough (British, 1950 -) 2011-2012. Archival inkjet prints’. This is the presentation of my work ‘Museum’. The box contains a Summary of the Box Contents, a Summary Artist’s Statement, an Index of Photographs, a contact sheet of photographs, 14 photographs mounted on conservation board and a pair of white cotton gloves.

3. An A3 black print box labelled on the front ‘I AM AN IRONMAN’. This is the presentation of my work ‘I am an Ironman’. The box contains a Summary of the Box Contents, a Summary Artist’s Statement, a DVD copy of the video ‘I am an Ironman’, a USB flash drive with a higher resolution .mov version of the video ‘I am an Ironman’, an A3 print of a composite portrait (produced from 30 separate portraits) and 8 contact sheets showing the underlying photographs used for the video.

4. An A3 black print box labelled on the front ‘URBAN ARTISTS AT WORK’. This is the presentation of my work ‘Urban Artists at Work’. The box contains a Summary of the Box Contents, a Summary Artist’s Statement, a DVD copy of the video ‘Urban Artists at Work’, a USB flash drive with  a higher resolution .mov version of the video ‘Urban Artists at Work’, and 4 contact sheets showing the underlying photographs used for the video.

5. An A3 black print box labelled on the front ‘IRONMAN FAMILY’. This is the presentation of my work ‘Ironman Family ’. The box contains a Summary of the Box Contents, a Summary Artist’s Statement, an A3 contact sheet showing the sequence and titles of the photographs presented and 16 A3 photographs.

6. An A1 size Daler Rowney Cachet Portfolio labelled ‘IRONMAN FAMILY A1 C-TYPE PRINTS’. These are Digital C-Type prints on Fuji Crystal Matt paper for four of the portraits from ‘Ironman Family’. They are included to illustrate how exhibition size prints would look.  An A4 contact sheet showing the sequence and titles of the portraits is included.

7. An A2 black print box labelled on the front ’45 SECONDS…’. This is the presentation of my work ’45 Seconds…’. The box contains a Summary of the Box Contents, a Summary Artist’s Statement, an A2 contact sheet showing the sequence and titles of the photographs presented, 6 A2 photographs (labelled on verso) and 10 A2 diptych photographs

Here is a photograph of it all!

OCA Photography 3: Advanced Photography Assessment Submission - Keith Greenough

OCA Photography 3: Advanced Photography Assessment Submission – Keith Greenough

Whilst there is a lot of material I have structured the submission so that there is a summary artist’s statement and a contact sheet of the photographs in each box. This will allow the assessors to gain a good overview of what the work is about before delving deeper.  Only a few very large prints are presented. These are to illustrate how the work might look at an exhibition. I have checked with my tutor whether  prints larger than A3 will be acceptable. He has confirmed that where they are relevant to illustrate how the work will be shown this is fine.

There was a considerable amount of work involved in putting all this together and quite a few challenges along the way. The key lessons I have learned are set out below:

  1. I printed most of the photographs on my own Epson 3800 A2 printer at home. I decided to use a fibre based paper by Innova for most of the prints. This was after testing quite a few different options. The  paper is Innova Fibaprint Ultra Smooth Gloss. Despite the term gloss in the name it is in fact more of a lustre paper. I selected the paper as it works really well for my black and white prints (Museum and 45 Seconds…). It looks just like the fibre paper used in darkroom printing. It also has extremely large colour gamut and  a high D-max rating, so it also works very well for colour printing. At times in practice however I regretted the decision. For the first 24 hours after printing the surface of the paper is very delicate and it scratches very easily. Quite a few sheets in the boxes also had small specks of dark colour on the print surface (and as such were unusable). The final problem was that the colour rendition seemed to vary from box to box! I had to reprint a lot of photographs and it proved very costly. Whilst I love the finish of this paper I don’t think I will use it again for a major project.
  2. Having the A1 Digital C-type prints made at  Printspace in London was a major learning experience. I started off by getting some small A4 prints made to test the colour balance, saturation, dynamic range and such like. I had calibrated my screen at home and had used Printspace ICC profiles to proof beforehand. Despite this I still had to make some adjustments and I found that the A4 prints simply do not convey an accurate impression of how the print will look at A1. After a while I discovered that it is both cheaper and much more effective to get test strips (4 x 30 in.) printed by Printspace. I also rented a booth on the Printspace premises to make some final tweaks to the images. At £14 per hour this adds pressure to the process! In the end I was very pleased with the A1 prints. Transporting these large prints was another challenge I had to work around. In the end I purchased a plastic A1 wallet with a cardboard insert see here. This worked really well.
  3. I have posted the videos for ‘I am an Ironman’ and ‘Urban Artists at Work’ onto Vimeo. The online quality is however not the best, so I had decided to submit higher quality versions in my submission. My idea was to store these on USB Flash Drives. I had initially exported the videos from Final Cut Pro as Apple ProRes 4444 .mov files. This is the highest grade of output and it really does make a significant improvement to the definition and smoothness of the transitions of the videos. I had decided that I needed the flash drive to be readable by both Mac and PC, so I formatted them to FAT32. What I had not realised was that FAT32 only allows a maximum file size of 4Gb. My videos were well in excess of this and could not be loaded onto the Flash Drives!! I had to re-export the videos as Apple ProRes 422 files which are still of excellent quality but yield smaller files. This was of course more unexpected work!
  4. The photographic box files are an excellent way of presenting work for the assignments. What I had not realised however is that when placed vertically in my Plax portfolio case, they flip open. A needle and thread and some broad black elastic was needed!
  5. The photographs for ‘Museum’ are mounted on conservation board using a window mount hinged to a backboard. The photographs themselves are attached to the backboard with three corner mounts (one corner does not have a corner mount so that the photograph can easily be removed) . The process is as is used in museum collections see here. It enables the photograph to be removed from the mount without any damage. All of the materials are conservation grade, i.e. Acid and Lignin free. I was not sure I had the manual dexterity to do this myself so in the end I had the photographs mounted by A. Bliss who are located near Leather Lane in London. They did an excellent job.

I have learned a lot from this process particularly about using other people to print and mount my work. I have also learned that in future I will do more testing of papers that I plan to use for a major work and that how it looks is not the only criterion for selecting the paper to be used. Robustness and consistency are also key considerations.

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