Student name: Edward Lerpiniere
Student number: 506079
Course/Module: Gesture & Meaning
Assignment number: 4: Advertising
Many thanks for sending in your assignment. Again you have made the assignment your own, being up front about your disinterest in advertising photography , shifting the emphasis to a cause and combining this with your interest in portraiture, surrealism and conceptual art.
In this respect I think that you have both done well – you have progressed well with the portraiture from the previous assignment sorting out the issues of focus etc. – and also been held back from more fully exploring your interests by the constraint of the brief to produce calendars.
You have produced very strong work that grabs the attention. There is a consistency and directness in the imagery that works well.
I’m not sure if you intend to use the humour in calendar 2 as a surreal juxtaposition to the serious nature of domestic violence. It is as you say bound to shock. It does make you think but it does so in a fairly unsubtle way. I’m not convinced that a calendar is the right vehicle for this sort of imagery it seems more attuned to a poster campaign.
I‘m by no means an expert but I ﬁnd the makeup depicting the injuries overdone and this detracts from the reality that is the main thrust of Calendar 1.
I researched the look of injuries to the facial area quite deeply and based my makeup application on that research. I believe that I’ve captured the look as nearly as possible to the actual, but of course applying makeup oneself, if not an expert or trained, the results may be off. I think that your reaction to the look is quite normal for someone who’s not used to seeing this kind of trauma but should you care to research the images yourself you’ll see mine are very realistic and not necessarily overstated.
The concept of using the same images for both calendars is an interesting challenge and can well illustrate the notion of context influencing interpretation. However I think that your subject is so strong that it limits the extent of differing interpretations. Yes one calendar concentrates on the factual element of male victims of violence; the other – to my mind – still has the main thrust of showing male victims and only oﬀers a modification of interpretation by alluding to a cause coupled with the addition of humour.
The interpretation of calendar 2 IS modified though by the addition of the words and so meets my clearly stated intention. I wasn’t attempting to make a totally different interpretation of the images on their own, that’s clearly not possible with what I’ve produced, I just introduced enough of a difference to show that images can be interpreted differently dependent upon the context in which they’re used or set, and in this case I clearly did if you can see a different interpretation, simply because of the words which changed their meaning. As to the main thrust of calendar 2 still being male victim orientated; it would need to be given the images I used. However, I’ve changed the slant of how the injuries were incurred by alluding to the female condition of post menstrual tension as being the causation.
While it is perfectly OK to adapt the brief there are elements of research into brands that can be useful to you. The research and discussion elements of your assignment and the preceding projects are weaker compared to the big effort you have made on the assignment – the makeup and post production etc.
This weakness possibly stems from the fact that for the “product” I am depicting there isn’t much in the way of research that can be undertaken with regard to the advertising. I further emphasise that I have no intention of ever going into advertising photography and this does lead me to the conclusion I wasn’t particularly interested in the research aspect and spent my time on the project itself, the photography.
Feedback on assignment
Technical and Visual Skills
As mentioned you done well to improve your portraiture over the previous assignment. The consistency of the images works well – the deadpan almost forensic pose serves to throw attention on to the injuries. As mentioned I feel the makeup is overdone and detracts.
The type captions in Calendar 1 is very small in comparison to the images and I suggest that as this is an important part of the message – the progression of the violence – you consider making it bigger.
Noted: I’ll adjust it before assessment submission.
You make good use of existing imagery from the Mankind initiative for the cover of Calendar 1. As this is a calendar you might consider including the strap line and phone number for each month and keeping this to the forefront of viewers.
In calendar 2 the variation in wording and type size over the months detracts from the consistency of the piece. For example you could start each line with “I apologise”. As it is you vary from “I’m sorry” to “I apologise”.
Quality of Outcome
You have met the brief and produced the calendars to a good standard. The idea behind the calendar is good as is the photography but I feel that the design element is ordinary and lacking in sophistication.
You are concentrating on the imagery rather than producing an actual calendar. Do you envisage not showing the actual dates/days? What about space for people to use the calendar – make notes on specific days etc?
See comment below.
Demonstration of Creativity
I think that you have come up with a good idea and it helps you develop your interest in portraiture. You have certainly shown commitment to the idea using make up and post production work to create arresting images. However I feel that you have concentrated over much on this and not enough on actually designing the calendar.
The design for this calendar may not be as sophisticated as perhaps it could have been if I was to spend time learning to be a graphics designer, as you pointed out in my first assignment. If this was a real world project then the photographer would not have been expected to come up with the calendar design, just the imagery. To emphasise this point may I direct you to this website https://fcancer.org where the organisation arranges for the expert help required for each project, so even though my scenario was for a charity I think I could expect to have help with the design aspect. It then follows that I would not take into account the need for the days in the month and space to make notes, that comes in the design concept. I have no intention of producing an actual calendar, I don’t see that as necessary in this case as I’ve taken a different approach which was laid out in the proposal and I cannot see that by producing a calendar, which looks like any other, adds anything to my submission. At this point I have to say I’m rather disappointed that at level 2 the author of the course thinks that it’s necessary to produce practical work that, in my opinion, has no bearing on the imagery which is surely what we’re studying?
Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical Essays
As ever this is done well – well laid out and easily accessible. As mentioned above I do think that more could have been done in research – for example having gone for the shock tactic you could have looked into the successfulness of this perhaps with reference to anti-smoking advertising. Also some of your research into other work in this area seems rather superficial. For example in project 4 Contemporary Awareness your entries are brief and while have observations they don’t show much depth of consideration.
Given your interest more in causes it would be worth looking at other charities work – Look at the imagery of Olivia Arthur in her work for Water Aid, It’s interesting to see the tension between the photographers’ interest and that of the organisation.