I have just submitted my second module for assessment at the Open College of the Arts. If I do OK in terms of marks, then I won’t be starting a new module until January 2014. So I can use the next few months catching up with the backlog of my own photographs.
This last module has been a bit of struggle sometimes. My tutor was difficult to get hold of sometimes, I found out later that this was because he was preparing to move to Russia to take up a new job. He actually moved six weeks before my work was due to be assessed and during this time he was unobtainable. The OCA gave me another tutor who is also an assessor and he has made me look at my photography, and quite honestly, question its value.
Is it enough to merely produce a picture that people will look at, say it’s nice and move on, or should we striving on every image to make them want to come back and look again?
This is the premise behind Roland Barthes book Camera Lucida and his reflections on the initial attraction and interest of a photograph called the studium, and the punctum which is the object or part of a photograph that jumps out at the viewer and makes them want return to it again and again.
So, I am beginning to try and look at my images with a view to ensuring that people will want to see them again. It’s obviously not possible with every image, but it’s worth striving for.
So, if I continue the degree, it will be more about producing images which speak for me, rather than trying to make photographs that people will say are ‘nice’.
A tough call I think!