A thoughtful and well presented assignment. An excellent set of considered and good quality prints. Your decision to use a square format is admirable and in this instance has given a cohesiveness to your presentation and assignment, well done. The link to Dropbox for the hi-res files works well. This assignment is quite difficult, as you note, finding naturally occurring colours that meet the assignment criteria is time consuming and will be complicated further by many colours being ‘broken’ or desaturated and muted by weathering. Overall you have done well with assignment 3, there is a lack of theme and coherence concerning the subject, of which you comment upon, although you have partly offset this by submitting a cohesive set of prints. A good mix of found situations and arranged images which demonstrate understanding and learning developed from the module and in most cases your images achieve successful outcomes.
I note that three images were taken in July and August which suggests they are from your library rather than taken specifically for the assignment. This is slightly disappointing as two of them are among your strongest images, 5 and 10, this does weaken the submission.
Feedback on assignment Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity
Colour harmony through complementary colours
Image 1. A well seen and fun image that has captured a great expression. The main colours are complementary and you are correct in explaining that the muted yellow balances well with the more vibrant purple even though it is not in the classic 1:3 ratio. The crop includes a lot of negative green space above the musicians and removes the banjo and trumpet detail? The trumpet in particular is cropped too tightly and starts to fight with the frame edge, possibly cropping it out would lend more ambiguity to the image. This image was taken in 2005 so should not be included for formal assessment as it goes against the requirements for only using images taken during the OCA course.
Image 2. Good choice of complimentary colours, You observe the classic balance of 1:1 between these two colours but that will only apply to pure red and green, as in the colours used and indicated by your sketch. The muted colours here will still approximately obey this rule as they are both muted by a similar amount. Interesting experiment with depth of field and this does focus attention onto the hole. This then becomes a single point dominating the composition. You touch on this in your annotation but the annotation needs expanding to demonstrate learning from previous modules. Do include references in your annotations to Goethe etc. to underpin your learning ‘evidence’.
Image 3. Well seen red and green, what let this image down is the blue of the ladies jacket as it introduces a third colour into the composition which is detracting from the two complimentary colours. The overall warmth of the bricks and gold contribute to the complimentary colour palette. The green scarf is a bonus and even the bottle label has some green. This may have required further waiting for the decisive moment to occur, and the lady in blue to disappear out of frame? Good use of symmetry and precise camera work.
Image 4. A well observed detail, the complimentary colours are very broken and muted so Goethe’s theories regarding percentages will not really apply in this instance. As well as blue there is a strong evidence of green, again muted. Overall the restricted colour palette of the image is pleasing, the muted tones balance well and the square format and technical aspects are excellent here.
Colour harmony through similar colours
Image 5. A strong image and an excellent use of colour harmony through similar colours. Here you have strong saturated colours so Goethe’s principles will apply. The red dominates the image much more than his suggested 2:1 ratio for this colour combination. Your sketch uses some artistic licence in representing the colour amounts! You do not mention this in your own evaluation or perhaps could have commented on how warm colours may ‘advance’ and be more attention grabbing while cool colours will often ‘recede’. This is very obvious in your print as it has an almost 3D quality. The image was taken in August which suggests it may be not have been specifically shot for this assignment?
Image 6. A well seen detail that captures the lovely patina of the metal surfaces. The muted reds and oranges produce a well-balanced and harmonious image, well done. Technically very good with an appropriate use of shallow depth of field.
Image 7. Good use of controlled flash light to create a focal point within the composition. Here the yellow is fairly saturated although slightly muted, while the green is very dark and the darkness is masking any saturated colour. With this combination the suggested balance of 3:2 is not happening. You mention this in your evaluation, so perhaps you should not have included the image as it is not strictly meeting the assignment criteria. This would have been excellent blog material with the explanation as to why you did not include it. I suggest re-visiting this one before formal submission.
Image 8. Good detail and a well seen combination. Again you comment upon this not being the best ratio between colours, in this instance it would have been fairly straightforward to have cropped (still using the square format) some of the yellow so the more acceptable proportion of 3:2 was achieved. I would look at re-cropping this for formal submission. Do remember to document further any work on your assignment as this is much appreciated by the assessors and shows commitment and learning.
Colour contrast through contrasting colours.
Image 9. A very clean, simple and graphic image which demonstrates this principle. You have strived to achieve the 4:3 suggested colour ratio but remember this is based on both colours having the same saturation. Here the highly saturated orange is slightly dominating the muted green. Good control of light. No mention of several points in your composition, a missed opportunity to demonstrate learning for assessment! So do remember to refer back to past modules when annotating if appropriate.
Image 10. A really well seen composition that uses the colour palette very effectively. Your annotation is excellent here as you really get to grips with the principles of colour balance including the effects of ‘broken’ or muted colours. If you could work on your other annotations to this level then that would really lift the assignment. Excellent to include the references and citations. The submission becomes diluted however as the image was taken in July suggesting another one of your library images rather than specifically shot for the assignment.
Image 11. A lovely image and well balanced composition that makes excellent use of the square format. Both yellow and blue are diluted which although these are contrasting colours the image has a restrained subtlety that is very appropriate for this image. Good annotation again, Well done!
Image 12. A simple image well observed and recorded. Your annotation is appropriate here and picks up on the muted colours. The use of flash to create shadow and some form is subtly and effectively controlled. Within your evaluations try and get into the habit of using some of the terminology associated with visual arts. So the 3D nature of this subject would be ‘form’, whereas flat 2D areas would be ‘shape’, the fourth module concerning light explores this.
Colour accent using any of the above.
Image 13. Interesting use of texture and colour, as you point out the yellow is very muted and possibly not strong enough to be classed as a colour accent. This term is more usually applied to a colour that dominates a small area of a composition due to its contrast or strength of colour in relation to surrounding colours. The usual example would be a grey damp street scene with a red post box in the distance. This would allow the post box to become a single point dominating the composition due to colour accent.
Image 14. A somewhat confused annotation here. When working with colour accent the suggested Goethe ratios will not really apply as in many ways you are going deliberately against these principles to allow the accented colour to dominate the scene. The similar colours of orange and yellow will not make a good combination for strong colour accent as they are too close. This is more of an example of using similar colours but then, as you point out, the ratio is wrong.
Image 15. This is much more successful in demonstrating colour accent and you very appropriately mention composition and design principles within your annotation.
Image 16. Another well constructed image that effectively demonstrates colour accent. Elegant composition with a touch of humour. You mention deliberately going against Goethe’s principles which is relevant so I wonder why you tried to use them for image 14? Good to cite Eggleston here, his images would be seen rather than arranged although his use of colour is appropriate.
A good conclusion which hits the nail on the head really! The assignment has a bit of a rushed feel to it, some images appear to be old shots which add to the lack of a cohesive set of images. Overall though you demonstrate an understanding of the colour principles outlined in the module. I would advise re-working some annotations and re-visiting a few of the images before formal assessment.
Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays Context
As mentioned above some of your annotation mentions previous learning and are reflective while others could be expanded. You mention:
‘I did, however, choose to compose each image with a square frame in mind, which I discovered added a more pleasing feel to many of the images.’
Expand on this, why a more pleasing feel?
Your exercises are detailed and you include some reflective thoughts, be wary of simply copying artwork as all you are doing is recording an artist’s work and thoughts which leaves little interpretation for you as a photographer.
Although your exercises are technically OK and you are ticking the box for the learning required the images are mostly technical and would not really stand on their own as interesting images. A useful rule of thumb to use is to consider if you would be happy to include them as part of an exhibition, would they look OK hanging on the wall in a gallery? This will require an investment in research, thought and time which will push you much more as a photographer. You do not necessarily have to approach all the exercises from this perspective.
Do include some research images within your blog, if concerned with possible copyright issues then just have a link to the source of the image. Allow the research to start to inform your own work in terms of style and direction, you should be undertaking the research before you work on an assignment, retrospective research is useful but it will not help to plan and inform your current assignments.
Your scrapbook is developing well and has some interesting material in, do keep this going.
Suggested reading/viewing Context
No real evidence of looking at the work of Pete Turner and Eggleston apart from a brief mention and reference. As well as my above suggestions for research did you look at the work of Ernst Hass as mentioned by Freeman in the module?
Your book list is growing, try and balance the technical with some concerning aesthetics, Journals such as the BJP and the Source Photographic Review website may help here. If possible try and attend some of the OCA study visits as these will help you in looking at and critiquing photography.
For some research concerning use of light combined with your interest in advertising photography have a look at the awards section of Graphis Magazine. The magazine covers graphic design, product design and photography.
Also consider looking at how the Dutch Masters school of painters influence how photographers use light today.
Levin Rodriguez has produced a series of still life and portraits based on the Dutch Masters use of light:
Hendrik Kerstens has a huge body of work devoted to photographing his daughter in the classic Dutch style: http://www.hendrikkerstens.com/
Erwin Olaf has some still life and portraiture based on the Dutch school: http://www.erwinolaf.com/
William Lingwood and Tessa Traeger are both food photographers that use light very much in the Dutch Masters tradition.
Pointers for the next assignment
Make sure all images are taken during the OCA course and specifically for each assignment.
Re-visit some annotations and images.
Allow more time for planning and shooting the assignment
Undertake much more visual research of critically acclaimed photographers and emerging talent and allow this to inform your own work.
The next assignment is concerned with light, try not to get too involved with the technical concerns, although important, let the aesthetics shine through!
Use relevant names for your images and make sure your prints have the image name on.
John is quite right that I was a little rushed trying to finish the assignment. As such I borrowed some of my library images instead of taking fresh pictures. I’ll avoid that in the future as it’s “false economy”!
I’m pleased John liked the square format as a way of providing some cohesion, although I clearly need to stick to a theme for the entire set of photos.
It’s useful of John to point out in Image 2 that when both colours are muted, Goethe’s ratios still apply, and that in Image 3 I should have tried to keep just the target colours in frame to make for a stronger piece.
John noticed that I used a little artistic license in Image 5 suggesting that the ratios where 2:1 in order to fit with Goethe, In reality they were probably more like 4:1, but the picture still works and I should have stated that.
John notes in Image 9 that the highly saturated orange of the Tic-tics dominates the picture as the green Tic-tacs are more muted. I’m not so sure of this, simply because the green Tic-tacs are also brighter than the orange.
I’m delighted that John liked Image 11 as I would say it’s probably my favourite shot and certainly the one I enjoyed shooting the most.
Following John’s suggestion, I had a look at the work by Enst Hass. I must say I am very impressed with the quality of his work. His use of the colour wheel ratios is obvious in many of his pictures, as is his use of multiple layers in his landscapes.
I also checked out the work by Levin Rodriguez and his amazing replicattions of the Dutch Masters through the use of still life photography. It makes me wonder how close to the original sets Rodriguez’s sets are.
My main take-away is to allow more time for planning and shooting the assignments and to conduct more research into critically acclaimed photographers prior to commencing a shoot.