A4: Image and text (submission to tutor)

                              Video of page spreads from planned photo book.


The brief for this assignment, Image and Text, was to ‘create a series of work (7–10 images) which in some way reflects upon the ideas surrounding identity and place looked at so far in this course, using the written word to play a part in its creation.’ (OCA IAP, p89).

I chose to work in collaboration with a writer, who I asked to provide a passage of text that I might draw upon for inspiration. I was not specific in the request and just explained that I would not be illustrating the text but using it to inspire a broader narrative. Details of the text are here. Over a period of days I reflected upon the text before deciding on the type of photographs I might make (see here) – I read the text as analogous to uncertainty or ambiguity through the transition between light and dark. The title, ‘Not Familiar’, is drawn from the text and reflects ambiguity and lack of clarity.


I worked on the shoot without reference to the words or thinking of the descriptions in the writing. I kept only the mood in mind. Contact sheets from some of the 170 shots are here. It has been a long process to get to the finished output: I decided to work the photos and text into a photo book and my initial thoughts are recorded here, where I decided to make the book text-heavy to avoid the reader making a direct connection between image and text. However, following feedback on my first edit, recorded here, I substantially reworked the photo book and the online presentation of the planned book.

The final output submitted is considerably different from the first edit, both in terms of the book’s content and its digital presentation on the blog (video above). It has increased ambiguity and, I hope, allow the viewer time to take in the images and words and bring their own interpretation. To complement the video are still slides of the page spreads here.


Against the OCA assessment criteria, I conclude:

Demonstration of technical and visual skills (40%) – materials, techniques, observational – skills, visual awareness, design and compositional skills.

Developed a photo book layout (to be printed) for this project in Lightroom and used Photoshop to format the output for digital viewing; the double-page jpgs and video with soundtrack. Successfully combined text and photos in the book.

Quality of outcome (20%) – content, application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner, discernment, conceptualisation of thoughts, communication of ideas. 

Extended the meaning of the text and photographs to create an ambiguity that allows the viewer to bring their own interpretation. Developed more effective methods of presenting images digitally for web-viewing.

Demonstration of creativity (20%) – imagination, experimentation, invention, development of a personal voice.

Used low-light photography to develop ambiguity and light and shade in shots, while using colour photography. Blur was also used to add a sense of mystery. Used the text as a point of access to a creative pathway and presented in the output effectively for both digital and analogue platforms (book to be printed, following tutor feedback).

Context (20%) – reflection, research, critical thinking (including learning logs).

Extensive research reflected in learning log and preparation for this assignment linked in this post.

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