Assignment 5: Response to tutor feedback

Unfortunately, the feedback for this assignment confirmed my fear that I had strayed too far from the brief and my submission did not meet the required criteria. While Pauline found the work interesting, she recommends changing the format into either a conventional illustrated essay or extended annotations. She also points out correctly that I do not meet the 2000 word guidance. On a positive note, she found the choice of images interesting and the themed groupings clear. She also understands my rationale for wanting to produce something different because of the amount of reading in the course, however, I did not mean this as a criticism of the material – if anything I have become too involved in the reading and the course has certainly whet my appetite for further study of cultural theory. My motivation for producing a visual essay was simply to experiment and attempt something different. I also wanted to pay homage to the visual essays in Berger’s ‘Ways of Seeing’ which perplexed me when I first encountered them in the course but began to appeal more as I progressed. Pauline makes two points about this that I do not fully consider – Berger presents his visual essays in the context of his book and television series and without this they are quite unsatisfactory – I had not really thought that it was Berger at fault rather than me. In hindsight, I was too preoccupied with not wanting to lead and influence how the images are read by the viewer (even to the point of not fully explaining my rationale) and clearly this was a mistake as the approach fails to demonstrate my learning – as Pauline rightly asserts, Berger was presenting his book without the need to be assessed as a degree student! She also felt that leaving the various quotes unattributed strayed too far from academic convention.

Although Pauline thinks the rationale I included with the images was clearly expressed, she felt this could provide an introduction to the images. She also points out that I do not fully explain my reason for choosing the style of font I used which was intended to evoke the computer age while simultaneously having a retro feel, it is a strange paradox that it is necessary to take this retro approach in order to signify the digital age. She mentions that there is mileage in exploring how computers have developed over the past 20 years and the relationship between this and the increased digital noise we face in modern life – a key point I wanted to make. Another reason for using this font was as an homage to Stephen Shore’s ‘The Nature of Photographs’ which I cite as an influence. The font used in the book resembles a typewriter font which gives the text accompanying the photographs a particular, distinctive feel. Pauline also quite rightly points out that Shore has chosen images that have a particular author/photographer and this influences the way we read the book (even if we are not entirely familiar with the photographers featured by the very nature of their inclusion we are aware they are important.) The anonymous/uncredited pictures I have chosen do not share this.

Suggested possibilities: 

Keep the groups of images and write accompanying text relating to the material covered in section 5.

Focus on one group of images – are so many needed? Are there overlaps/duplication?

Use Debord’s ‘Society of the Spectacle’ (as I indicated this had particularly influenced me) perhaps using this as a further text to comment on the quotations or tease out ideas concerning reality.

Decide on a route to pursue: essay or annotations.

Although it is disappointing that I have missed the mark on this occasion I have again found Pauline’s feedback invaluable in being able to pick out what I need to do to improve and point me in the right direction. The clarity of expression in Pauline’s writing inspires me to practice and improve my writing style – through all of the feedback I have received I have found thoughts expressed that I have shared or have wanted to present myself and have not been able to. This ability is something that has not only helped me develop through the course but also provides inspiration for the future.