Natural Perceptions – Final Evaluation

Reflecting on this project I can be confident in that I have worked very hard towards my final outcome. I have enjoyed project and feel like I have amounted a lot of successful work.

I believe the body of images produced for the project are successful and fit the original theme of the project well. Initial feedback from my peers the images generate questioning, both to me and internally with the viewer, and this is what the original intention was meant to be. I feel have shot enough images for the project to be complete, although I think there is capacity to extend it further at some point. The decision to stop creating images was made as the winter became spring, and the look of the woods changed with the season. The reasoning I used here was that the majority of the work had been completed in the winter months and as the spring arrived, the feel of the woods began to change quickly. If I had continued to add further additional images, I felt that I would not have enough time to generate a quantity of work in the rapidly changing summer months to balance the winter work, so it was best left to simply just the winter work. The final outcome is a series of 21 images which I feel is sufficient for the scope of this project, especially taking into account the other things I aimed to achieve as part of it.

The book that I have produced to accompany the work is a real success. I think the print quality is excellent and that the uncoated paper choice adds a tactile element to the images. The linen cover allows the book to remain understated, and this is something that I was initially concerned about. I wanted to ensure the cover of the book was as neutral as possible to limit the viewer making too deeper perceptions prior to examining the images. For this reason I discarded the original dust jacket as too reflective and pristine, and instead added my own slip that was printed on the same paper as the exhibition images. The intention here is that viewers of the book have the option to remove it easily and also experience the tactile feel of the lined cover.

In addition to the book, I produced a new website as part of this project. This website is intended to be developed further as my studies continue and so the scope of the website is far reaching and not limited to this project. It replaced two older websites that I had spent a considerable amount of time developing to serve my commercial photography activities, which as discussed on my blog is now a closed chapter, so they really needed to be replaced. I am very pleased with the outcome and the way it displays my images. I feel it is a professional web presence that will continue to grow and serve me well beyond the scope of the MA course. Aesthetically it displays my work professionally without using any overpowering graphics. This allows the images and text to take centre stage and remain the most important elements of the website. I am very pleased with this particular outcome and I feel it represents me and what I am hoping to achieve very well.

The exhibition element of the project has been planned as far as possible taking into account that I am still awaiting exact dates for the show to be confirmed. I have negotiated and collaborated with the Tobacco factory venue to host the exhibition and planned exactly how the images will look inside the cafe bar area by producing indicative framed prints. The paper and framing choices are decided upon and again I feel that they display the work very well. During the process of experimenting with different paper types and display options, I managed to sell one of the test print images already and so this hopefully indicates that the full exhibition will be a success also on a financial level.

I have involved my own students at several points of the project and tested my approach to using the work as an educational tool. It is clear from these brief exploratory exercises that the work is of interest to younger learners but that some of them struggle to comprehend parts of the vocabulary used. Taking this into account, I have redeveloped the resources and approach I intend to use to tone down some of the language to enable them to engage on a wider level. Having discussed and displayed some of the work with my current students, it was clear that they were enthusiastic to have the entire planned workshop delivered, but unfortunately time does not allow for this during the current academic year. I will be revisiting the project during the next academic year to fully utilise the project for this, which was one of my original intentions. I am confident it will be a successful session that will add and enhance the Btec unit the new first year students will be studying.

The collaborative discussion with Dr Huw Peterson took the project to a new depth that has added professionalism and critical opinion. I was initially a little apprehensive regarding this idea as I tend to feel stronger working alone and so I am very glad I proceeded with it. The conversation and interview we had has added real weight to the discussion of perceptions, truth and fact, and has been a success. I have come away with a clearer understanding of the psychology of truth and have reinforced my own opinion in the process. Adding professional opinion to the work has given it an additional voice of authority which alone I could not have achieved. On reflection, it would have been better if I could have got Dr Peterson to possibly write an introduction on the topic for the book and exhibition, but I have to accept the time constraints that he has and his concerns regarding his work being in the public domain. With hindsight, this is an area that could be developed to enhance the project further and this is an idea I may decide to pursue in the future.

To conclude my evaluation of the Natural Perceptions project, I am able to say that I am very happy with the outcome I have achieved and that I am very much looking forward to the final practical stages of the project being completed. This project has seen me developing new work in a totally new direction which is what I wanted to achieve. The work has a clear intention and meaning, and this is something that often lacked from my commercial photography background. The exhibition will go ahead and the work will be fully used as part of my teaching practice in 2019, and at that point I will reflect on the successes of the project once again.

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