As for the last assignment, this work is very much a continuum of your felt practice and one can easily see this carrying through into BoW; where this becomes one of a series of publications all contained together in a slip case.
I understand your aim is to go for the Photography Degree and that you plan to submit your work for assessment at the end of this course. From the work you have shown in this assignment, providing you commit yourself to the course, I believe you have the potential to pass at assessment. In order to meet all the assessment criteria, there are certain areas you will need to focus on, which I will outline in my feedback.
Feedback on assignment
The writing on the blog supports the publication giving very useful context for interpretation of the work.
‘It is naïve to think that photography has some capacity to change the world, but it can be a legitimate vehicle to propose reflections on universal issues or to channel our commitment to the reality that by destiny, chance or vocation we have to face.’
I think this is an important distinction to make. It can be too seductive to overclaim the efficacy of photography in promoting engagement.
There’s a quiet humanity extant in the archive which tells its own story.
Having commented on the importance of the additional contextual information given on the blog I think it’s also important that the book, any book, can stand in it’s own right, complete of itself but, as a reader coming to it for the first time, from the beginning of the preface I feel I’ve already missed out on something, i.e. ‘the first notebook’.
I would rather be introduced to what I’m about to see and if reference to the earlier work were necessary then I would rather be made aware of it as in addition.
I think, literally, book ending the book with the front and back of an airmail letter works well.
I can understand the thinking behind disrupting expectations of how an archive should be handled and respected in order to jolt the viewer to another perspective than a nostalgic reverie.
This is evident beginning with the front cover where one can see the influence of the Warhol piece.
In my reading of that work the red white and blue toning come from the American flag and the images the reality of what goes on behind it and in its name so I went to look for a flag for Limia to see if that was the rationale behind your selection of colours. I found one for Xinzo de Limia which seemed to be mainly yellow green and red.
I think disruptions are more effective if they can ultimately be tied into the narrative in some way; for those prepared to spend the time thinking.
For example, in La Habana (Cuba) having the two men divided by the gutter works as a kind of mirror line where one is the inverse of the other.
We see a repetition of this effect across the whole spread with Camaguey (Cuba).
In both cases it amplifies the poignancy of the humanity.
The subsequent spread puts me in mind of Eadweard Muybridge; would the little ballerinas dance if the frames were ordered in a mutoscope. The age of mechanical reproduction was upon them.
Caracas (Venezuela); I’m not sure about the red tint, it just feels a rather gratuitous surprise with no particular intent.
New York (USA) is a successful intervention, initially one almost believes it and there’s narrative to be had in suspending disbelief. It’s done with a purpose.
Mar de Plata (Argentina) I’m slightly struggling with. We’ve got a reference to the Farm Security Administration punching holes in negatives during the Great Depression; which could be used with some relevance, but not necessarily punching out heads and we have Mishka Henner erasing people from Robert Frank’s photographs, which seems more difficult to incorporate into a document which is above all about some sort of empathy with lived human experience.
Caracas (Venezuela) returns the humanity with an innocent desire to enhance the record of an important moment.
The disorientation of the following spread Camaguey (Cuba) reads as a nice try but ultimately slightly irritating that one has to crane one’s neck to read it. The follow spread is a relief in its sparseness and simplicity.
Puerto Ordaz (Venezuela) The original source material for the front cover and a reprise of that now with strong yellow border. It feels like an album cover; perhaps it shows how easily lives can be reduced to graphic elements that no one has a care for.
San Jose (Costa Rica) There is something curiously satisfying about this spread, perhaps because it’s the first full bleed image, making it feel expansive and the moustache multiplying to fill the space.
Jersey City (USA) gives a little quiet break, a pause.
Caracas (Venezuela) The graphic strikes me as from another album cover but this time some 1950s American country and western star like Patsy Cline. I think it was a good idea to make the photograph transparent to show the back and front together.
Camaguey (Cuba) is another strong spread with the many kisses replicated by the many heads; which have a slightly naïve look to them as if they’ve been cut out with scissors and stuck down.
Caracas (Venezuela) As with this one, there’s a pleasing scrapbook style intervention.
Miami (USA) The intervention here takes us from archive to a motion picture wedding still.
Overall, I think it’s an effective success. I have a few reservations, as I’ve outlined, for you to consider.
The coursework is well done. Carry on in the same vein.
The research is appropriate to the undertaking and you reflected it in your work. Just out of interest you might like to look at this. My wife is Italian but has lived in England since she was 18 and for her mid-life MA she did some work on the theme of her family archive.
I can’t see where you’ve implemented this…
You need another item in the main ribbon menu at the top, ‘Blog’ or the Reflections item should include a Blog menu item where you regularly reflect on the progression of your practice and your developing appreciation of the medium as a culture. Actually done in the style of what blogs were originally intended to be, like an online daily diary of one’s thoughts, ideas and responses.
Carry on with the self-directed reading in addition to the referenced texts.
• Research skills
• Attention to detail
Areas for development
• As suggested last time you are now pushing the boundaries further and it’s showing dividends so bear that in mind for future assignments as the possibilities widen.