Art of Photography

Rob Townsend

Reflections on Part 1: The Frame


I’ve just submitted Assignment 1: Contrasts and therefore finished Part 1 of The Art of Photography. Time for a little self-reflection…

What I’ve enjoyed:

  • Having the challenge of the exercises and the assignment to stretch my photographic understanding and experience
  • The combination of refreshing my mind on aspects of photography that I was aware of, but didn’t practice enough (like balance, positioning elements in the frame etc) and new knowledge that I’ve found has really made me see photography in a different way (e.g. the effect of focal length on an image)
  • Having my ‘photographic eyes and mind’ opened up – I’m much more alert to the world around me, and see photo opportunities where I would otherwise have walked by, even on the rare occasions that I don’t have a camera with me
  • Seeing what other OCA students are up to – always good for a bit of motivation, encouragement, inspiration, friendly rivalry…!

What’s been hard work:

  • The assignment I found quite daunting; I got through all of the preceding exercises in a month, then took exactly the same amount of time for the assignment alone… I think the size of it (17 specifically-themed images) made me apprehensive at first, and I only really got cracking on it by forcing myself to sit down and start drafting the final submission and breaking the task down into smaller parts
  • Reading: my most useful reading has been the practical visual stuff on composition etc, and I’ve tried but temporarily set aside the more art history and/or theory-based texts… I’ve got partway through key works by Clark, Cotton and Sontag but feel that I need to re-read them with fresh eyes
  • Other research: I haven’t managed to find many opportunities for (e.g.) study visits, photographic exhibitions, looking at particular photographers (although I have asked for Cartier-Bresson’s Scrapbook for my upcoming birthday!)… but I am hoping that this will change as I’m working in London for the rest of this year, and the opportunity to at least get out to some galleries is much greater
  • Just finding the time some weeks, although I guess everyone feels like that sometimes

That’s it for now. Just wanted to get some of these thoughts and realisations written down. On to Part 2!


4 thoughts on “Reflections on Part 1: The Frame

  1. Good to see you’ve completed the first assignment and its a good feeling when it’s done isn’t it ? I am planning to start thinking about assignment 2 as I’ll be opting to have it assessed so a bit more of a challenge and a bit more serious this time !

  2. I think submitting Assignment One is a huge hurdle to all of us…. you were not alone (took me 5 months)! Well done! Now you’ll find yourself dreaming of diagonals, horizontals, curves, etc as you head towards assignment 2.

    • Thanks! My tutor suggested targeting the end of June (about 10 weeks from when I started) and I decided to treat it as a hard deadline (I’m a project manager by occupation…). This of course meant a flurry of activity on the 29th and 30th of June! Glad I did it though, it is a relief to get it out of the way.

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