The subject chosen for Assignment 5 was Plants and the format chosen was square format colour prints.
I had defined a wide the scope for the series, prompted by my tutor's suggestion in feedback to Asg. 4 to, “bring together all the skills you have learned”. Accordingly, I stated my intention to produce images in as many of Terry Barrett’s six categories of photograph as possible (Barrett, 2000).
Fig. A1-10 comprise the original submission
Figs. B1-21 are the images in the shortlist, printed to A4, from which the final selection was made.
Figs. C1-C5 are images taken for the assignment which did not make the shortlist but are being added to the choice for rework, either at my tutor's suggestion or my reconsideration.
My tutor, Rachel, suggested a number of rework options († see feedback):
1. As only one image includes a human (fig. A3), either remove that one or include others that do.
2. The triple image format of fig A7 does not fit in with the others.
3. The macro shots (figs. A1 and A2) do not fit in with the others.
4. Include more of the images from the lavender farm (as fig. A3) or the wrapped trees on the Southbank (fig. 14).
5. Avoid the pairing approach I adopted for the final selection (based on a BJP article, Grieve, 2019, pp.89-92) to allow "more visual variety" †.
In addition to those specific suggestions, there were more general pointers to, "take a more focused approach" † and, "[there] is a balancing act in terms of working between the production of a series where all the images seem too similar and a series that offers less clear framing for the work" †.
Very specifically, "the dying plants next to the priced label of fowers (fig. B9 or B18) and the dead fowers tied to the bollard (fig. A9) are most successful … [in] exploring the human interaction with plants without human presence in the images" †.
I am probably going to adhere to the pairing notion as I find it a valuable tool and, for the moment at least, it helps me to make decisions.
If the series is to become entirely dehumanised, then A3 would go and be replaced by another image depicting or implying motion. The most likely candidate is B12: it also pairs with A4 on the grounds that it was shot at the same location.
The A7 triptych is cast aside, as is the macro pair A1 and A2.
But the intention is, rather, to introduce more humans and that will allow the addition of B14, probably my favourite shot of the project, previously excluded on the grounds that the pedestrian distracted attention from the wrapped tree.
Although the feedback warns against pairing, my feeling is that it serves to strengthen the link between the five pairs rather than weaken it.
It took a while for me to embrace my tutor's feedback on the original submission but having worked through the comments, I believe this is a stronger series. I disagree about the pairing, however, and continue to find it useful.
Barrett, T. (2000) Criticising photographs, an introduction to understanding images. 3rd ed. Mountain View, California: Mayfield Publishing
Grieve, M (2019) Inside Studio Stauss, British Journal of Photography. Issue 7,888, pp.89-92