Learning evaluation: Foundation in photography

Learning evaluation – Foundation in photography

My first words ought to be something like…what a ride…! passing through a year of study projects, assignments and an intensive learning curve.

I will be more systematic however, in my approach to this.

Firstly I found the context for study, first class and extremely supportive. The tutor feedback has been excellent and the structure of the course studies suits me to the ground. I found the OCA staff supportive and responsive, what more could you ask for as a student.

If I have only one experience that was a little frustrating at times, it was the level of student interaction and building a sense of connection with peers. For me this is an important aspect of study.

In the early phase of the course I felt I was getting to grips with the model of the OCA and on-line study. The blog has been an essential tool for my study right from the start in terms of organising thoughts and seeing the work take shape in an unfolding manner week by week. I initially imagined that I would keep more physical notes, but as it has worked out, my attention has mainly gone into developing and using the on-line blog. It feels tidier and easier to review than lists of paper and notes. I do however keep a journal which I transfer relevant notes from.

Early feedback confirmed that I had reached a certain level with my photography practice and that there were clear lines of development that needed to happen, especially in the areas of analysis and evaluation of images of other artists. I have been working on this area a lot over the year.

As the exercises unfolded I started to get a feel for the shape of my own developments and weaknesses. I think my strength is in creative responses and seeing (as Simon pointed out) ‘… the potential of a situation…’. I have a strong intuition, usually but not always backed up by reason for what I need to photograph for any particular project. Only on a few occasions have I been left without a clear sense of where I am going when I have the camera in my hands. This is something that has been developing along the way. I am happy to take risks and it does not frighten me to try something new.

The main learning curve is one of clarification of concepts, ideas and then forming that more into a solid work that matches that concept or idea. In other words the development of a strong visual language in terms of a more independent voice. Its early days although I have been studying photography for some years. I still in some ways feel like a beginner.

Later feedback from Assignments 3-5 still have echoes of the needs to clarify the concept and think through the ideas more. As well as this, sometimes my notes fell short and the blog was a bit sparse. I have been attempting to transfer more of my notes from my note book successfully onto the blog. In the beginning I felt like I was not paying sufficient attention to analysis and research. Later on in the course his improved. I felt that I had to grips with the business of analysis and research much more in the fifth assignment. I had to work hard to form the concept and follow it through so it made me work. Of course, it could still be clearer.

The criteria

Now I will briefly talk about the work of the course in terms of the five assignments.


  • Demonstration of technical and visual skills – materials, techniques, observational skills visual awareness, design and compositional skills.
  • I think that in terms of visual skills I have a fairly reasonable grasp of what to look for in an image. Technically I had reasonable adept with my camera and using various methods to shoot photos. My post-production skills has risen sharply over the year in ability. In terms of observation, this is one of my main practices, wether I have a camera in hand or not. However, its seems that I could use more skill in this arena in terms of deciphering the content of any one particular image. I have been prone to include more and it seems it is an art to include less but be concise.
    I see myself developing steadily in this field. It was pointed out a few times that my composition skills are good, and even so I still feel the need for more development. Sometimes I can fall back into the idea of looking for the perspective shot as opposed to looking to shoot the complex, a theme which has been stressed in the early parts of the course.
  • Quality of outcome – content, application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner, discernment, conceptualisation of thoughts, communication of ideas.
  • The quality of outcome has varied form assignment to assignment obviously improving as time has developed. The coherency of some of the work in the early stages was sometimes off, such as in assignment 1 presenting horizontal and vertical frames in a sequence of pictures. In the seconds assignment there was some inconsistency with the use of lighting and the way that I portrayed the figure. I have been working on this in the later assignments.
  • Demonstration of creativity – imagination, experimentation, invention, development of a personal voice.
  • My demonstration of creativity was given a thumbs up in the last assignment which ties in with risk taking, to use that expression. My understanding of this is that to take risky one must be willing to experiment but judiciously and in an informed way. As for personal voice, I feel it is early days, although I can see a strong echo in me of something that wishes to express this voice.
  • Context reflection – research, critical thinking – learning
  • I have been working to deepen critical thinking and improve my learning blog context.



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