2. Rework

Journey to Mammon


brief – submission – blog – feedback – rework

The Assignment was submitted at the end of February and feedback received on 19th March. I found that feedback mostly encouraging, but for two aspects:
1. my tutor considered the images to be overprocessed,

“There’s often a mistaken idea that when looking at the names you suggest such as Baltz and Adams that the application of their method can be adopted using a digital SLR, this is mistaken … I think that the ubiquitous nature of software to emulate what you have used (which is a kind of simulation of a gritty / Japanese Provoke aesthetic) might be a step too far?”
(Tutor feedback, Assignment 2).

2. and warns against my participation in RPS and LIP,

“be cautious of the ‘camera club’ nature of some of these you mention. These are perfectly valid groups but can sometimes reject more esoteric approaches.”
(Tutor feedback, Assignment 2).

Note that we are discouraged from naming our tutors online and so there will be no Harvard reference on this occasion.

Dealing briefly with the camera club mentality first, I replied, “I believe that is true of the RPS, although I find the work of some of their specialist societies interesting. LIP, however, is more disparate and adventurous in scope and membership”.

Box A
EyV Assignment 1
June 2018

The first charge is more serious and indicates that I have failed to make clear my approach to this Assignment. My main reason for converting the images to black and white (as with Assignment 1) was to reduce the differences in the skies over the various outings made to complete the series and thus achieve a more unified appearance. In analogue black and white, my preference was always for pushed, grainy film and higher contrast papers (and 6×7 format, but that’s another matter). It is an element of my inclination to stress the artificiality of photography and thus to underline to viewers that it is a photograph, a version of reality, but not reality. For the same reason, I embrace digital artefacts, as back in EyV, when a panorama including a moving skateboarder in the foreground resulted in an outcome reminiscent of Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase, 1912.

With digital black and white, my instinct leans in the same direction, grit and contrast. It is not a misguided attempt to look like someone else, it is an aesthetic preference with a deliberate purpose.
But, of course, there is no way to state this reasoning visually, it is up the the viewer, be they tutor or bystander, to reach their own conclusions.

If such processing is frowned upon in assessment I will stop doing it for course submissions. I believe that my submissions for Assignments 3 and 5 will be in colour, in which case the problem will not arise again in LPE. I have reprocessed the Assignment images and they are shown below.


[2Apr] A shortlist of 17, so 5 to go.

First pass
1 and 2 can stay as they provide a strong lead in
3, omitted from the submission on the grounds that it didn’t sequence well, can probably stay
4 is doubtful and is out because it needs an explanation.
Either 6 or 7 is in I might go for 6 this time
8 stays out because of he distractive cranes (I don’t hold with edits of that sort, see Assignment 4)
Either 9 or 10
11 the most enigmatic of the set, probably in the centre
12 Nelson works well with B1 and B2, three south of the river to establish the principle. These were the statues I had prior knowledge of and which the project was conceived around.
13 can go, too obscure
14, only include to make up the numbers, though there is a Hitchcockian self portrait
15 and 17 can drop because I am indifferent to the sculptures
16 can stay because my tutor liked it more than I do (my judgment is based on the sculpture itself rather than the photograph).


Ten remaining, go with those
C1-C3, start south of the river
C4 brought up to avoid too many heads together, and works next to Nelson
C5 is difficult to position
C6 close to the centre
C7 a new inclusion
C8 makes up the numbers and includes the self portrait
C9 belongs there
C10 taken rather than the detail, else too many just the heads. It was always envisaged as the destination.

Final Selection

Box D
Final Selection

1. General James Wolfe, Greenwich Observatory
2. George II, Greenwich University
3. Lesley Povey, Nelson, 2009, Greenwich
4. Giles Penny, Two Men on a Bench (detail), 1995, Canary Wharf
5. Richard Wilson, A Slice of Reality, 2000, Greenwich Peninsular
6. Empty plinth, once home to Robert Milligan, slave trader, Canary Wharf
7. Frank Dobson, Woman and Fish, c.1951, replica 8. Richard Hudson, Tear, 2018, Canary Wharf
9. Sean Henry, Standing Woman, 2020 (detail), Canary Wharf
10. Henry Moore, Old Flo, 1957-8, Canary Wharf
© the artists, their agents or their estates

I still prefer the grit, but so be it.