A consolidated account of the Christmas break and weeks 13, 14 & 15 of module one!
Where has the time gone?
I’ll begin by saying that Christmas was not at all as expected with everyone, like so many others, succumbing to a particularly nasty cold virus. As a result no one, despite the build-up, was remotely interested in doing anything even slightly festive and so, we all took separate paths to our own little sanctuaries to suffer in silence.
I think next Christmas we will go out for Christmas lunch: let someone else have the planning, shopping, cooking and washing-up to deal with!
On the plus side, however, feeling rotten and not wanting to do anything created time to sit quietly and think about the course and the project.
Looking forward, feedback from the module one assignments provided a great deal to think about. My immediate thoughts were quite vexed, disgruntled. Whilst there was much to be positive about, the suggestions for future project development seemed to focus on issues which, in my view, had already been addressed to some degree by an appropriate form of practical activity and subsequent discussion.
But, it all comes down to perspectives doesn’t it?
It is absolutely crystal clear in my mind as to what it is that I am trying to achieve. And I believe I have communicated my intentions for the development of my project very well (within the constraints of format, time, word count, etc. imposed by the assignments).
But what I think I’ve communicated, and what I have actually communicated may not be the same thing.
That is to say, people may not be reading my words as I intended.
So, is there ambiguity?
Is my message abstruse? Subjective? Open to interpretation?
Pragmatically, my initial response was a very valid and natural one arising from the underlying wish to do a good job. Prima facie, I felt that there was some disparity between my efforts and the resultant feedback.
Criticism, even when it is well-intentioned and constructive, is not an easy thing to accept. It’s inherent in our nature to want praise and hear good things about ourselves and the things that we do.
But would I strive as hard if I had received the highest possible marks and feedback which only “showered praise”?
Yes, I believe I would. I know from personal past experience that I’m a very “driven” individual and like to excel at everything I do. However, that is almost irrelevant because we are each one an individual and as a result respond in our own unique ways. Additionally, our predominant personality type ebbs and flows: even the most “driven”, self-motivated individuals have some moments where they settle for something mediocre – it’s what we do 99% of the time that defines our personalities.
Consequently, we all have to be subject to the “carrot and the stick”, we all have to go through the same critiquing process. And in doing so we learn to become more self-critical and more accepting of the criticism of others.
Putting this wisdom (and feedback) to use … …
Looking back to September and the ensuing early weeks of the course, I can now see quite clearly the flaws that existed in the initial project proposal.
Hindsight? No, I don’t think so … …
A lot of our studies to date have focussed on developing skills to identify and assess different perspectives, and to critically evaluate both our own work and that of others.
This has made it so much easier to assess my own work, evaluating it for its strengths and its weaknesses.
As a result of the assignment feedback, the project has become more defined, more refined, both in terms of what it is, and what it is not.
The concept has become more “finalised”, research into the tools and techniques used by the great masters to control light, their knowledge of such compositional techniques as the golden mean, their use of symbolism and the sources of information for this will continue.
Progress in terms of where this knowledge should lead has been significant. A (perhaps) pronounced flaw in the concept in its earlier form was to what use would this new-found knowledge be put.
I had the seeds of ideas firmly sown in my mind. That these seeds were beginning to germinate as they were dutifully incubated, though, may not have been adequately communicated to others.
As already stated, the positive thing to come out of having a cold virus was an opportunity to think things through. The vision I hold for the output resulting from my research into the knowledge and methodologies of the great masters is currently mine alone – the project still requires much work over the next 18 months or so before it reaches a stage where it may be shared with an audience. Based upon my own internal vision for my finalised project, I believe that this work alone will be unique in its nature.
Notwithstanding the latter, I now have a much clearer vision of how to utilise the findings of my research whilst at the same time producing a body of photographic work has a “unique selling point”, of using this research to produce photographic images which convey a message and invoke a reaction.
Whether or not these ideas were adequately communicated or not raises some interesting questions … …
How does one communicate an idea which isn’t fully “matured”? Should one do so? Or, is it better to wait until the idea is developed, has integrity and can stand up to interrogation?
The optimum solution, possibly, is to formulate a statement of intent, nothing more than one or two sentences, to “put a stake in the ground”, a clear signal that an issue has been identified and marked for, at the very least, future consideration.
In summary, this has been a very interesting and extremely valuable exercise.
To finish on a high point, discussions have been held with two parties who are very interested in my project proposal. One of which is an author and art historian with many published papers to her name, an expert in her field who is most willing to share her knowledge and experience as my project develops.
I am extremely grateful to both for their interest in my proposal, their highly positive feedback and their offers of support.
Next station call, “Module Two” … …
Where has the time gone?