Now I have completed the unit and preparing for assessment I have been thinking back over time to see what I have learnt.
Firstly, I have learnt that being able to take technically good photographs is not enough. Photographs should actually tell a story. And more importantly, the focus of the story does not have to actually appear in the image, but it should, by implication, be part of the story. For example, a photograph of a pair of muddy walking boots implies that the owner has been on a walk through mud. It implies that the owner probably wore jeans, carried a rucksack, a phone or compass, and wrapped up against the cold weather. A very typical stereotype image of a walker, but without additional information, it is likely that stereotype image will emerge.
Secondly, a photograph should have context. How does it fit with the background, how does it sit with other photographs. The photograph of the muddy walking boots displayed next to a photograph of someone knitting doesn’t have the same context, whereas displaying them next to a photograph of woodland scenery does have connection and context.
Thirdly, I discovered have a voice. My own voice. I now have the confidence to say what I think of a photograph, and be able to back up my view. I don’t always agree with “experts”, but I know that so long as I have a reason for disagreeing, then my opinion is as good as theirs. And it will always be an opinion. There is no right or wrong. Our opinion is influenced by our background, upbringing, belief structure, culture, experience and many other factors, and when forming an opinion, these factors will influence our decision. So, opinions cannot always be the same, but there should always be a reason for that particular opinion.
So as I move forward, I intend to develop my own voice further and with more confidence, starting with as many gallery and exhibition visits as possible.