As this part of the course draws to a close, I thought it would be good to reflect on my Final Major project as a whole.
The purpose of this subject was to show that we can, individually research and define a creative project, plan it and complete it in good time. We were then to work together as a team to host an exhibition of our final work.
Initially I found it quite difficult to define the project that I wanted to work on and then when my tutor was off work and unwell for a few weeks I was hesitant to move forward until I had received an ‘ok’. After that though I felt like I got really stuck into it. As always, I loved the taking photos part and struggled to keep on top of the theory. I really enjoy reading and writing but given the option of reading or taking photos, taking photos will get my vote every time.
Being disciplined about the theory was actually a valuable lesson for me to learn. Researching other photographers and reading about other theories will help me to define and plan future projects.
I was able to plan my project and even though I didn’t tick things off and check it as regularly as I might have done, I stuck to it fairly well. I was finished in good time and felt un-pressured leading up to the final exhibition and the final hand-in.
Not everything went according to plan. I did have a few issues with the weather but as I built extra time into my project plan it didn’t matter too much. I had planned to take the landscape images on film and I did take a few, and I don’t really remember making the decision to not use film, I think I just saw the quality of the digital panoramas and the project evolved naturally in a digital direction. I had to re-do ‘Boat Building’ as I had taken it from a slightly wrong angle but that was simply an inconvenience and not a problem.
Working with the rest of the class to host an exhibition was a much harder task than completing the project itself. There were a few of us that were keen to make it the best exhibition that we could and a few that were less enthusiastic and didn’t come to many of the classes. It was difficult making decisions that everyone was happy with and as everyone was a bit strapped for cash and no one really wanted to do any fundraising there was a lot of compromising that we needed to do.
This year I had set aside £300 as a budget for the final show and I was able to stick to this – just. My photos were twice the size of everyone else’s and cost more than double that of everyone else, coming it at a whopping £250 for three double A0 sized prints. This allowed me enough room to pay for name stickers and to cover the costs of delivery, proofs and postcards for everyone on the understanding that they would pay me back their share (to date, only half have done that).
I think it worked out ok in the end. Some did more work to the exhibition preparation than others but I think the final show looked very good, everyone’s images worked well together and those that have been to see it have been very positive about it. I may even say that it has been successful!
There are only a couple of things that I think could have been done better. An allocated classroom should be a minimum requirement for any class but a mix up early in the year meant that there were several weeks that we would arrive and not know where the class was being held and then when we were finally allocated a classroom, without a large screen, other students were coming and going, often noisily, to use the computers in the room. It was ok in the end but it wasn’t ideal. Personally, looking back, I am disappointed that I didn’t do more research, as I was reading I kept going off at tangents and there are so many more areas I could have covered and it would have been good to cover more Constable locations, pressure of work and other activities are the only excuses I can give for not doing more.
Through doing this project I have learned a lot that I didn’t know about John Constable and the practicalities of shooting landscapes and panoramas in particular. I have discovered new photographers that I hadn’t heard of before and I have also grown in confidence. I have applied for an arts grant using knowledge gained in this module to help me define and plan the project I want to do.
I have also learned how to do a few more things with Photoshop. I was disappointed last year that we hadn’t learned any Photoshop techniques so this year I spent just a couple of hours with Nathan who taught me how to do the tasks that I needed to do in order to complete this project. In doing this I have learned Photoshop principles that has enabled me to go on and learn other actions that I didn’t previously know about.
Big thanks must go to my tutor Andy Gillatt and to Nathan Pidd who have both guided and encouraged me through the course so far.
I don’t think this is the end of my Constable project. I have enjoyed it very much and I plan to follow this exhibition with more Constable locations and to create a tourist map/leaflet or perhaps even a mobile phone app that can be used around Flatford to show people the painting locations, then and now. I plan to continue adding to my blog after my coursework has been marked so I will be able to show followers how I get on with this.