First Tutor Contact & Some Initial Thoughts

Xmas Card 2013

More about this image later!!

I have read through the course notes twice now and, earlier in the week, had a good first conversation with Clive, my tutor. (That is not him in the illustration – to avoid any possible confusion.) As I said in the previous post, it seems essential to maintain an open mind at this stage as to where this major project will travel – and certainly about its destination. I do, as I emerge from my Level Two studies, have some broad ideas as to the general domain.

• I am keen to explore and exploit the potential of digital photographic image-making. And I expect to regard all aspects of digital photographic creativity as ‘at my disposal’ in seeking to create meaning.
• I will want – to an extent – to continue with the ‘studio-based still life’ work on which I focused towards the end of my last Level Two course.
• I can see more potential for exploration of ‘constructed’ images, and the bringing together of material from diverse sources to construct meaning in images.
• But, at the same time, I am concerned that I should not lock myself into an entirely ‘studio-bound’ approach.

I have discussed these thoughts with Clive and he is supportive of those ideas as very broad parameters within which to start out, but also stresses the ‘open mind’ approach. So we have agreed that I will set about taking some photographs/creating some images that interest me, over the next couple of months and then share a selection with him. It has also occurred to me, following the conversation, that, since the first part of the module explores ‘Genre’, I might use some of the defined genres as the starting point for some photographic exploration of my own. (I also see the digital focus as a broadly useful direction for ‘Contextual Studies’ when I get fully under way with that module – exploring the ways in which photography theory & visual cultural thinking in relation to photography has responded to the development of digital image-making and image-sharing, for example.)

Mentioning ‘Contextual Studies’ leads into one ‘procedural’ question that I have put to Clive and subsequently raised with OCA. For reasons that are understandable, there is a policy that, when an OCA student is undertaking more than one module at the same time, they should keep their studies identifiably separate and not allow overlapping of material. The Level Three Photography Handbook that came with the course notes makes more or less that point. However, since the three modules are inextricably linked, that seems like a principle that would be difficult to apply rigidly. ‘Contextual Studies’, I believe, is intended to explore the context in which ‘Body of Work’ is produced. So it would seem very odd, even counter-productive, to not refer to ‘Contextual Studies’ material in this Learning Log. I have asked the question.

And so to the illustration at the top of this post. It is primarily here to supply a bit of visual interest in an otherwise ‘dry’ opening early post and is actually my design for a Christmas card that my wife and I will be sending this year. However, it does illustrate a bit about where my image-making stands at this stage and has some value in the context of my bullet points about direction. It is constructed from photographs of illustrations from second hand books (resized and processed for this context); a photograph that I took locally of a building in Holmfirth; a miniature festive wreath and miniature parcel created by my wife; and a tiny model of a teddy bear. The photographs have been printed and cut, as necessary, with a craft knife, and the ‘set’ was assembled and lit in ‘studio-style’ to create this effect. Some subsequent digital processing created the warm light for the internal scene and added the number over the door, as well as preparing the image for print. It is a bit of fun, naturally, but I am genuinely interested in the multiple layers of meaning that can be created through this type of activity – and I would also acknowledge some influence from Abelardo Morell, whose work I have looked at and enjoyed in the last few weeks –


9 thoughts on “First Tutor Contact & Some Initial Thoughts

  1. Penny

    Hi Stan, you must be one of the first, if not the first, to start the new level three courses? I will be following your progress Stan with interest and wish you an enjoyable trip. Hopefully, I’ll be joining you sometime in the New Year.


    1. standickinson Post author

      Hi Penny – one of about three or four at present, I think. Look forward to you joining us in the New Year & I suspect Yiann will be here soon, too. The journey continues! Stan

  2. Penny

    Stan, I’m interested to know also how the two separate courses inter-relate. Do you have separate tutors (and blogs) for each course and talk images with one and theory with the other? And do they overlap, I would imagine one course would feed the other and vice versa.


    1. standickinson Post author

      Penny, ‘Body of Work’ is the module in which you produce the major project that will be your final ‘image-based’ submission for Level Three. ‘Contextual Studies’ is theory-based, as you say, and the intention is that you focus that, eventually, as a contextual/theory basis for the project in the other module. In this case, the final outcome is a 5000 word submission, but there is a build up to that, as you would expect. You enrol on the two modules together, but in practice, I think the intention is to stagger CS a little way behind BoW. And, yes, you have different tutors for each (Clive and Peter, in my case). You do not have to keep a blog/log for CS, but compile a Research Folder. My query with OCA, referred to in this post, is about cross reference to CS in the BoW blog – I don’t have a response as yet.

      The third module, on which you expect to enrol about midway through the other two, is ‘Sustaining Your Practice’. I don’t have the notes for that yet, of course, but you would expect to have a third, different, tutor for that one, and it does require a Learning Log. It is, essentially, about ‘publicising’, in whatever way is appropriate to your project, the output from BoW. So, all three are closely linked, and by the way, each carries 40 HE points.

      Hope that helps.


  3. Penny

    Thank you Stan, this is very helpful. It sounds like a very logical system and can see it be a really flexible but structured framework to work within. I also think the last module is really valuable as I think it is incredibly difficult saying ‘right, I’m ready now, to face the world’. At least we can do that within a supportive environment. Otherwise the danger is we finish and that’s it. I’m itching now…

  4. Eileen

    It is great to see you starting your blog Stan. I’m looking forward to following your development through this work, and to following Penny and Yiann’s blogs shortly.

  5. Yiannitsa Cegarra

    Hi Stan,

    Looking forward to your progress, I’m glad I won’t be the only one in the new L3 group. I’ll be enroling soon after the new year.
    I’m interested in knowing the response from OCA, as I had great difficuly working 2 modules in parallel. Hopefully, the structure of these new modules will suit me and be such that I shall not experience issues.


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