Reflection on my progress through CAN

This module has been a powerful catalyst for me in a number of ways. It has expanded my insight into several genres of photography and in particular has fundamentally shifted my understanding and appreciation of photographic investigations into ideas of self and identity, in which I previously had little interest but which I now look forward to exploring in greater depth in my next module.

It also prompted me to start engaging with the forums and hangouts, which I initially found nerve-wracking but which has enriched both my work and my experience of studying with OCA immeasurably. Peer feedback has on occasions forced me to face uncomfortable truths about work I’ve submitted for comment and when this has happened I’ve produced something better and/or more appropriate for the brief. At other times it has given me the confidence to proceed with something I was unsure about. And gradually getting to know my fellow travellers on this journey has made me feel less isolated and more supported.

Photography-related reading and research has become deeply embedded in my daily lifestyle as I’ve become ever more aware of the important role that understanding the work of others plays in creating and understanding my own work. I have learned that other students’ blogs are a valuable resource of ideas and approaches. I have joined the reading group organised by Emma516689 and have hugely enjoyed these discussions, finding also that I read the texts with a slightly different eye when I’m preparing to discuss them compared with reading solely for my own purposes – instead of focusing on trying to absorb the material I automatically read with an eye that’s a little more analytical.

I have learned many new technical skills and improved others, from cutting out images and blending image layers, to colour management and print settings, to basic video production. I have improved my self-reflection and documentation of my processes, and have learned that this is not just for the benefit of tutors and assessors but provides a valuable resource in and of itself. And I feel that the quality of my work has improved as I have come, in the course of all these developments, to have a better understanding of the aims and language of art photography.