Tutor Feedback – Assignment Five

Overall Comments

Well done for working hard on this unit Sam and I am sure that you will manage to get all of the necessary work done for your assessment even though it is clear that you have a million things to fit in to each day!

In terms of the work, you present an interesting image that certainly includes clues to all of your various areas of activity and through your description of the process it is clear that this set up took time to organize. I enjoyed hunting through the image like a detective to try to find which elements in the image were important and also what these objects might signify.

You are right to mention the size and resolution of the image so, as well as a larger scale print, please make sure that there is a higher resolution version of the image on your blog that the assessor can zoom in to where necessary.  You have included a lot of quite subtle elements and references in an attempt to guide the viewer in to building a picture of the ideas that you are trying to communicate and in its present form it is difficult to inspect the smaller details.

Feedback on assignment

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity

When I look at this image, the first impression that I have is that this is a home office that belongs to a neat and organized person who is on top of the various elements of their life. Is this the general impression of ‘you’ that you are trying to convey? You talk about the misconceptions that other parents have about you based on the evidence that they have at the school drop off but does this image, as it stands, suggest the busy life that you lead? Does this mise en scène rufute the ‘lazy’ comment that you refer to in your accompanying description of your process? Certainly the fact that you choose to show an office demonstrates that you do not just ‘sit around all day’ but does it suggest a busy and sometimes stretched wife, mother, photographer, jeweller, student….. etc.?

You are right to think about the balance between being ambiguous and obvious in your work and this is certainly something that continually plagues creative people. This, in fact, can get worse as your creative process develops and your own knowledge and ability to evaluate images increases. I am really pleased to see you struggling with this, not because I enjoy witnessing people in turmoil but rather because this is a really important part of your learning process.

You have certainly worked hard to include a lot of different objects that are trying to ‘represent’ the sometimes erratic pieces of your life jigsaw but you need to be careful that the meaning that the objects signify to you are in line with the reading that the viewer might make. For example, you have included an egg timer to represent your ‘all too often race against the clock’ but most people would associate this object with cooking. Now, in the context of your project, this might not be the end of the world as it also suggests another element of a busy wife and mother’s work schedule, but this side of you is also not overtly suggested either. As your work develops continue to try to hone this ability to make appropriate selections of the elements of an image so that you are more in control of the readings that are made of them.

It is good that you are acting on some of the things that you have learned from your readings of Barthes’ work about the way in which we create meaning from the pictorial elements that are placed in front of us. Have another think about the section in Camera Lucida that talks about the ‘studium’ and ‘punctum’. How would your image be read in these terms? My suggestion would be that you have managed to create a general reading, look or feel (studium) to the image but as it stands, it is the ‘puncum’ (the element that, ‘rises from the scene, shoots out of it like an arrow, and pierces me’) that is perhaps missing. This doesn’t necessarily have to be an obvious thing but I feel that this image needs something to guide the viewer in an more obvious direction that is then undermined by the other meanings associated with the other objects. Perhaps the image on the computer?


Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity

This looks ok.


Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

This area of your blog needs much more work, try to clearly show the assessors the books that you have been reading in relation to your work as well as practitioners that you feel cross over (or who are at odds) with your work and ideas. We need to see much more evidence of research outside of your practical experiments.

Learning Log

Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

For the assessment, the assessor will want to access the elements of your work quickly and efficiently. Try to organize it so that when they click on the relevant assignment in the menu on the left, the first thing that arrives on screen is the actual assignment –  the work – followed by your reflection and feedback etc. I know that is often blogs are set up to show the most recent post at the top but I am pretty sure you can change this . As an assessor, I often find it irritating to have to scroll down a long list of posts to find the information I need – and you don’t want to irritate the assessor!

Suggested reading/viewing


It would be good to see evidence of further research about the way in which women are depicted in society or even within photography. Start with looking at Martha Rosler and follow the literary references and writings that are associated with her practice – particularly ‘The Semiotics of the Kitchen’. Also look at Sian Bonnell particularly her early work based on absurd domestic settings.

Pointers for the next assignment / assessment

  • Have a think about how you would like this final image to be read. Could you suggest something a general sense of the image that is a bit darker, more difficult and less clinical, lighting? Anylise some of your images of your office as it was – the lighting in these pictures is much more evocative and might be a good place to start a rethink?
  • Think about the image on the computer, could this be an element that changes
  • Show more evidence of accompanying visual and literary research.

2 thoughts on “Tutor Feedback – Assignment Five

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