Final Evaluation for AD5800 – On Assignment
An evaluation of the process and final work.
Evaluating the process of the development of my work, has been an important part of my progression throughout the module. At the start of the module, I was not really sure on how the project would turn out and which direction I wanted to steer my work in. However after researching into ideas, choosing a subject and meeting my contact, Richard, and getting to know him and the location I was to be shooting in I found I became much more comfortable with the situation and therefore much more comfortable with my own photography. After the first shoot I began to understand what was available to me in terms of space and lighting and what I could do in terms of my photography. Although my first shoot was definitely not my strongest, the repetition of going back to the church again and again allowed me to develop a rapport with the people and build my confidence up. This meant I could feel comfortable taking their portraits or videoing them and talking to them about their lives and vice versa. This gave me an unprecedented access to the church that I was really grateful for.
In terms of the photographic side of the project, I returned to the Church numerous times and to different events, aiming to get the widest selection of images possible to create the strongest edit. Being able to go back repetitively really helped me to establish what shots were needed, based on feedback from peers and tutors. At the start of the project I was not particularly happy with the results I was producing, but the more that I gained feedback and could see where it was that I was going wrong or going right, the better I feel my project got. When I began to get stronger portraits, with good lighting, this gave me confidence in my work, and also gave me the start of a basis for narrative. One key thing I’ve realized when looking back at the final product of my work, is that I should have been a bit more considerate with the lighting of my subjects and worked out the best way in which to shoot them. I have one particular photograph that I am very happy with which is the photograph of Ugochi Ijeoma. The natural lighting I managed to get to fall off on the left was great and I think it’s by far my strongest portrait out of any in my sequences, and if not it’s still my personal favourite. But if I were to redo any element of the entire photography, I would consider re-shooting everyone using portable studio lighting, if this were possible and it was better than the natural light that was available to me. If I were to evaluate my technique I would say that I as I gained more confidence, my understanding of my technique improved. At the beginning I was a little unsure of how all the exposures and ISO tied together, but after sitting down and working it out, I found I understood more and so the shoots towards the end feel more considered and better composed, and for me, I feel I better consider my lighting in situations. Furthermore, I think my compositions got better towards the end of the project. Instead of panicking and not knowing what I wanted, I began to use sheets of paper with lists of shots I wanted, and I became less afraid of asking people if I needed them to move into better light. I found the feedback I received on this project incredibly helpful, because it pointed out flaws in my work, and things I could do to improve them to get the best out of my narrative, such as spread my topic wider, or go back and shoot a slightly different way. I found this feedback was also incredibly helpful when it came to bringing all my images from all 10 shoots together, so that I could create an edit.
As I was going along in this shoot, I would select the best images and then gradually as I gained more, I’d add them in or remove an image that wasn’t as strong. The editing process was by far one of the harder things I found to do over the course of the module because I was so unsure on the narrative I was trying to convey. I was forgetting about my context and how to include it and was finding that some of my images weren’t strong enough or didn’t work together so cutting down to a series of 10 and 20 images was actually very hard, but clearly the most important part after the photography of this project.
Once I understood the direction I wanted to go in with the edit, which was to show a fair representation of the community, and the environment they were in to give a bit of context, I then found it easier to think more critically about my work, and what fitted in with this idea and what didn’t. I think I was very considerate of colour and also photograph orientation, such as with the photograph of Ugochi Ijeoma, I had to crop this from a landscape image to a portrait image so that it would fit in with the rest of the sequence and not look out of place as a portrait.
Creating a sequence for these images to work well in, especially in my 20 picture edit was quite tough as I found there were lots of different variations of where the images could go and which ones could follow after what. But after creating several edits, I decided that I was happy with the third edit, because I think the colour worked best between images which linked them together, and I also think that there was a narrative that flowed much better through the selection. It wasn’t chronological but it did go through in a very systematic way that was logical to me.
Another part I found more difficult than I thought I would, was the extended captions. These were actually a lot harder to write than I thought because although I had all the information I needed, I couldn’t find a way to word it that I was satisfied with that wasn’t too long or too short, but was just concise enough to convey the point I was showing.
Overall, I found all the aspects of this project quite challenging but I think I put my best effort in to create the best final product I could. I’ve got some strong portraits I’m reasonably happy with and also some interesting other shots that give some context on the subject, although in my opinion there is still room for improvement as the narrative could potentially be developed more if I had more time and so could the quality of the shots I was taking. But I am quite satisfied with what I have achieved and feel that the project has come a long way from where it was when I first began on Shoot 1. I now know that if I want to improve it further I have to be more critical about my lighting and try to be more confident when it comes to photographing people because this is when I get the best results. Towards the end of the project this did happen, and my composition improved, so next time I just need this to happen more quickly.
Video – 90 seconds
Video was quite an interesting part of this submission and not something I had done before so I was quite apprehensive to begin with. Also finding a subject that was the same by theme but different to my photography and the other video I would produce, was actually quite hard. However, once I had my idea, it was just going out and shooting. I decided for my 90 second video to use my phone rather than a DSLR. This was partly due to the fact that the location I was going to be in would be very hard to use a DSLR in successfully without a significant length of time to do so, but also because I wanted to contrast the use of phone videography with that of the DSLR. I was actually quite supposed at the results I got, but as this was my first shoot it made me very aware of how many cutaway shots I would need to get. This was the main concern I had with the video work, because getting plenty of cutaways is actually a lot harder than you would think. So this was definitely something I was struggling with. Also due to a limited amount of time on location and other variables such as noise levels, this meant I had to think on my feet and work around this idea. However, when it came to putting everything together this was where it got much harder. I actually did find the process of putting the video together quite enjoyable, once I got into it and I knew the material I was using was fairly viable. It took me over 6 hours to get my final first draft for the 90 second video but that was because I was quite picky about what clips I wanted where and how I wanted the video to look, as I was following the storyboard I had drawn which I used to shoot with. The storyboard was actually a great help because it kept all my ideas in one place and it allowed those I was working with to see what it is I was after, so it made me more confident because they were happy with what I was asking and this came across in the video I think. I found the audio section of this work to be the trickiest because I had to piece together several different clips of speech and make them work together as one long piece. This was quite hard at first because I was finding there were big changes in the volume of clips or there wasn’t enough sound to use, but after listening a couple of times it became easier to pinpoint the issues in the audio. Also having feedback from Annie was incredibly helpful because she could often pick out things you hadn’t noticed, or could make you pick out faults you hadn’t seen previously by yourself, so I found this was great in getting to develop my videos. Although it was hard work and required a lot of revisions and edits, I am actually rather happy with the final outcome considering it was all shot on a phone. I did have some issues such as the audio which I’ve discussed but these were overcome and I not a problem by the time I came to the final edit.
Final Evaluation of Final Work:
Photography and Video
Overall, I have been impressed with myself during this project. I’ve managed to achieve things I didn’t think I’d be able to and I’m really happy that I managed to do so. I think photographically the prints I have got are definitely my best work from within the project and I think I managed to showcase the religious yet individual narrative that I wanted to convey. I am aware there is room for improvement, which is a good thing because it gives me something to build upon and develop, rather than take away as a negative. I’ve learnt a lot more about my photography during the project such as colour correction, composition, lighting and more which has been greatly useful to be in the development and final outcomes of my work, so I am really pleased with this. In terms of video, I am also very happy with the outcome of my first 90 second video. I think it was particularly challenging at first, but I have managed to work out the narrative and understand where it is that I wanted to take the direction of it. I think it would be great to be able to see this same video shot on a DSLR just to compare further the differences I may have had and to try to work out the technicalities, but overall, I am pleased with the work I’ve produced for both video and for photography.