The Art of Photography:Mike Mudd's Learning Log

The Art of Photography:Mike Mudd's Learning Log

Assignment 2: A response to assessment

AssignmentsPosted by Mike Mon, September 17, 2012 12:06:15

My overall reaction to my tutor’s assessment of TAOP Assignment 2 is, yeah, he’s right, dead right, especially with regard to the certain weaker images that have been critiqued. Issues of meeting the criteria of the question were weaker in some images compared to the majority, and questions of point of view and cropping prior to image selection and presentation within the set are all relevant.

Comment regarding the overall environment of my blog being easy to follow was welcome to read, as this element of the graphical presentation of the story of my journey through TAOP has been a background concern especially as the feedback from other TAOP students is not so forthcoming.

My comments and deliberations regarding the work of established practitioners is still not depth full enough and this has been recognised, and I believe that as my background reading and study of current and historical works continues my confidence in making comment and asking questions of both their and my own work will grow.. However I am aware that this area is an element that has to be focused on, especially to give assessors a context to my submissions.

Of the two images my tutor identified as being the weakest, one of which, curves, I acknowledge that I deliberated heavily over its inclusion, the depiction of a single rider advancing toward the camera on a curved road on reflection does shout single point of interest rather than curve, yet I still included the image. I believe I was aware of the set of images being too static and I was compelled to include another activity image which was different in subject matter to the previous more active shots used for single point and two points of interest. However, on reflection this image is too ‘single point’ focused graphically, my inclusion referring to my narrative thoughts for the set, rather than the graphical requirement of curves.

The second image my tutor identified as weak – the first shot of rhythm, depicting a curved row of exercise bikes, I initially viewed as a successful image for the task and I was happy to include. However, I fully accept my tutor’s assessment in that the continuation of the rhythmic pattern across the image from left to right is interrupted by the out of focus, more proximal to camera, bike on the right hand side of the image. I believe my over appreciation of the image is derived from its commercial narrative tone -and it’s usage in a commercial set of images I provided for a client ( The image is graphical and is to an extent rhythmic but the blockage on the right hand side does interrupt – It does not fully meet the criteria of the question.

The image employed for two points of interest was also highlighted as being a little weak, and again I did deliberate the graphical strength of the two groups of figures included, as identified within the assessment. The relationship between the two points would have been greater if a more directly diagonal composition was employed, which would have, with a slightly different point of view, over ridden the dominance of the foreground features. The understanding of relationship lines should have paid its part in my choice of composition for this photograph more strongly.

Lastly, within the set of photographs for this assignment I included 2 colour images, which, as my tutor identified, interrupted the stream of largely black and white photographs taken. From a personal point of view I am aware that I identify most strongly with black and white photography, and given the choice will always elect to photograph in black and white. My personal thoughts are that black and white photography provides a comfortable level of extraction, abstraction and simplification of scene which aid the compositions I choose to take across a number of genres. There is a mental note in my photographers eye and mind that colour often detracts from composition and complicates scene – the next chapter of TAOP should hopefully help overcome this personal prejudice against colour, we shall see! The inclusion of the two images in colour is a response to my awareness of ‘I like black and white’, however I do agree, the 2 images do break up the set, their inclusion a response to my lack of confidence in my own work and belief that my love of Chiaroscuro (Freeman: 2007; Badger: 2007) in photography is too exclusive, satisfying my own visual fancies.

NOTE: My analogue photography employs a heavy use of high contrast Ilford 100iso film, and digitally, using a Sony Alpha 850 I have adjusted one of the black and white presets to increase contrast, sharpness and reduce brightness.

“Black and White are the Colours of Photography”!? Rober t Frank

“Black and white are the colors of photography. To me they symbolize the alternatives of hope and despair to which mankind is forever subjected. Most of my photographs are of people; they are seen simply, as through the eyes of the man in the street. There is one thing the photograph must contain, the humanity of the moment. This kind of photography is realism. But realism is not enough--there has to be vision, and the two together can make a good photograph. It is difficult to describe this thin line where matter ends and mind begins.” - Robert Frank

From pages 20-22 of Aperture, vol. 9, no. 1 (1961)


1. Badger G. (2007): The Genius of Photography, Quadrille Publishing Ltd.

2. Freeman M (2007): The Photographers Eye, Ilex Press.


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