People & Place

Rob Townsend's OCA Learning Log

Assignment 5: getting back on track


So a few days ago I started sorting through the Assignment 5 images I’ve taken so far and had a bit of a wobble on my choice of subject.

In short: it felt too far removed from what I’ve enjoyed most on the P&P course so far, and missing something – namely People! I was pondering ditching the idea and falling back on a Plan B I’d already shot in case of such a wobble.

Well, after a few days thinking about it, talking to family and friends, swapping emails with my tutor Sam and chatting with a few kind folks on the OCA Flickr forum (thanks to semiotic, CliveDoubleU, anned003, thebaroncooney, russellthepaperbag and Eileen R) I came to the realisation that I should stick with the chosen concept (“Disappearing Britain“) but rethink what kind of images I need to produce.

The most interesting piece of advice was to consider the context and relationships of elements in my images more. The sample images I posted with my request for advice were mostly very close-up detail shots of specific objects… only in a couple of instances had I pulled back for a wider context shot. I now think I need to go back and reshoot many of the subjects, this time thinking much more about how to juxtapose them with other (background) elements in order to provide a more visually interesting proposition.

In many cases I do think the missing piece is the human element – my intention is to trigger memories of the objects in question, to evoke some kind of emotion (e.g. missing it, glad to see the back of it, thinking about the reasons for its increasing obsolescence etc), and this could be through showing the objects in use by people.

In summary, my problem wasn’t really with the fundamental concept, more with the images themselves.

So I think I’m back on track – albeit with a request to my tutor for an extended deadline if I have to do so many reshoots!

4 thoughts on “Assignment 5: getting back on track

  1. Hi Rob sounds like a good progression and the right way to go. I’ve found with a lot of the photographers I’ve been looking at in Context and Narrative it’s the juxtaposition of people or things etc that provides that extra emotion and interest. Easy to say if course but more difficult to achieve. Good luck and I am looking forward to seeing your assignment.

    • Thank you! Yes, I’m going back through my shots and subjects-yet-to-shoot with a different set of eyes now, and it’s coming together, slowly but surely. I have 5, maybe 6 pics in the bag I reckon.

      So what’s Context & Narrative like? (I’m doing it after this). And what’s your blog URL for C&N?

      • Hi Rob I am enjoying context and narrative a lot but there is a lot of research and writing rather than taking photographs. I am not moving through it very fast and am only just starting to think about Assignment 1. I am finding though that the coursework and research are starting to answer some of the questions that came up in TAOP in terms of why current photography is where it is today and how and why it got there. Carol is much further ahead than me so she can probably provide a fuller description of her experience with it. I do think if you are planning to do a degree though it would be a very good building block for levels 2 and 3. Hope that helps and good luck with those final images for your assignment. My blog URL is http:/

  2. Pingback: Assignment 5: revisiting the longlist | People & Place

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