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Final Project Evaluation:


Project Evaluation: It's a digital age.

This project has tested me both mentally and emotionally. It has allowed/forced me to question who I am not only as a photographer and how I will eventually survive this industry but has helped me understand who I am as a person, my ability’s, limitations and although too late for this particular project it has made me realise how important it is to stand up for my work and concepts and not allow bad feedback and a minority opinion to stop me from persevering with my ideas.

It was unfortunate that the process was spread across four lecturers all of who had varied opinions of the work making it difficult to pin down exactly what I was doing and how to do it throughout the course of the module.

I was initially so excited about this project, it would give me the time I needed to focus on a my career in the photographic industry, to build and reflect upon a style and aesthetic and work towards creating a strong portfolio of work in this field, soon after making a start on my first shoot within the first week or so of the module being set I had an initial crit of my idea which coincided with the proposals for our Bangladesh projects. The discussions soon turned away from the project I was working on and lead back to my summer project that consisted of shooting from a train window and how I enjoyed that different style and way of working.
Somehow we came to the mutual agreement that I would start working on a documentary project looking at network rail and the failing privatisation of British rail and that I should also stop shooting in my tried and tested style and look at new ways of shooting which I found exciting as I started to find my practise a little mundane and repetitive and was quite excited about the work, especially after seeing the work of Stuart Whipps.
Once a substantial body of research was done I started looking at shooting on film, its aesthetic and how it would apply to this project. This is the point I got to when I had to focus on the Bangladesh Project and making the relevant contacts allowing me to cover a substantial body of work while I was over there.
It was in Bangladesh that I had my critical incident; I became very much aware that I am not a documentary photographer in the standard sense and I do not have the ability to create a deep, meaningful or penetrative documentary project.
If I want to do a documentary I would add my own style of quirkiness and personal twist to the work, something that I would feel comfortable photographing the subject but I felt that it wasn’t possible for me to think about a documentary on the railway system and felt very low about the whole thing.
I decided to look back the start of my project and focus on what I had initially planned. It was over in Bangladesh photographing the opening celebrations of Chobi Mela that I realised how much I enjoyed the energy and speed of this type of shoot. I planned to shoot the centenary day opening of Cheltenham festival at the racetrack but not shooting in digital, I had wanted to shoot on film but reflecting back on my previous attempts at shooting on film I thought I could apply a new aesthetic to the idea so I looked into projects shot on Polaroid and thought that this would be a great way to keep a nostalgic feel to the work and make it look exciting and engaging. I purchased a new Polaroid camera and film and took some test shots that I was very happy with.
When I presented my idea to a group crit the idea was not received well and, without getting into detail so I don’t offend but I came away feeling deflated, as though any original idea and work I came up with was a pointless waste of my time and had no merit to it what so ever, I was gutted by the response to my idea as I had been so excited to create a Polaroid project that captured the essence of the 100 year celebrations with a beautiful aesthetic. After being told to just shoot on digital I decided to just go with it and produce yet another series of digital c-type images.
 After a day of wallowing in self-pity I decided that if I have to shoot on digital to please then I would add a twist to the work. I started to collect images, video footage and sound bites of the gold cup from as early as 1930ish and put them together to create and introduction video to the work I would be shooting. Once the initial edit was complete I chose to add a soundtrack to the work in a similar style to work presented whilst in Bangladesh.
Race day was hectic, it was one of the hardest situations I have been in photographically but I feel I was able to produce a story of the day and along with the video and blog they create a good online exhibition of the work.
I am not particularly happy at all about how the project went, I got so sidetracked form my original goal and along with the Bangladesh project completely lost sight of what I wanted to achieve but I feel at the end I produced a new body of work in a different style then anything I have tried before, the images capture the day and the introduction video set the mood and feeling of the history of the celebration. I have learnt from this module that I need to stand up for my project and my ideas and not to let unconstructive criticism stop me from creating a project that I am passionate about, It has help me realise who I am and what I am capable of, what I am passionate about and the route I should take to gain a career in the industry.

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