Advanced Photography – Assessment Results

Posted on July 31, 2013


The results of the assessment of my Photography 3: Advanced Photography course have now been confirmed and I am very pleased to say that I was given a mark of 80%.

I put a huge amount of work into this course, far more than any other that I have done with the OCA and it is great to see that this has been recognised and rewarded.

Assessment Complete

Assessment Complete

Completing the Advanced course has also resulted in a significant shift (for the better) in how I work. My thoughts of this were summarised in my Reflective Account and on re-reading the summary of this documents it seemed highly appropriate to include them in this post:

‘Looking at the course as a whole I have learned that at the outset of a major photographic undertaking, one’s thinking is unlikely to be fully resolved. It is only by pressing ahead and experimenting that one can clarify one’s intentions. It is important to keep an open mind and remain flexible. I have also learned that it is vital to think through one’s approach to a project on a broad footing, from the concept, through the process, to the detail of how one will interact with the subjects and ultimately to how one will present the work.

My interest in ‘Disarming the Pose’ has proved to be a real catalyst for driving my work forward. I have investigated a wide range of approaches including candid portraiture, making portraits of the absorbed subject, and finding ways to distract the subject.

My aim throughout has been to make portraits in which the subjects are not consciously posing as ‘the one I want others to think I am’. However even when a subject is not consciously posing, their expression, gestures and posture will represent him/her in a particular way. These ‘unconscious’ poses are often ambiguous making the experience of a portrait a more fascinating and imaginative process for the viewer.

When I started the course I perhaps naively felt that photographic portraiture is about the ‘realistic’ representation of particular individuals. I have learned that it is so much more. Whilst a portrait does represent an individual, it can also be framed to represent broader groups in society, as is the case in typological series. Portraits can also raise questions about our changing social and technological environment, dealing with issues of identity, race, gender and ‘reality’.

At the outset I subscribed to the view that the psychological portrait could reveal the ‘inner self’. I now see this is a hollow claim. Nuances of expression, gesture, pose coupled with photographic artifice, accessories, and background context can be used to represent the same subject as many different ‘characters’. My studies have reinforced my understanding of how the context and form in which a portrait is viewed influence how it is read and how portraits can be used to challenge the viewer to analyse his/her own process of looking at images of people.

I came into the course with a very narrow frame of reference for my portraiture. I leave with my mind greatly opened and a wealth of ideas to stimulate my work for the future. The course has been an excellent learning opportunity.’

Onwards now to my final course for my degree – Photography 3: Your Own Portfolio. I must say I am a bit daunted by the prospect….