Assignment 4 : The critical review and personal project

The Brief

The Critical Review

Write a 2,000 word critical essay on one of the many debates that you’ve explored so far in this course. You may use any of the research material’s you’ve collated so far or do further research . Submit a draft outline to your tutor.

The critical review is intended to demonstrate your awareness and understanding of how your own and other photographers’ work and ideas relate to the wider cultural picture.

The Personal Project

2nd task for Assignment 4 is to write a 250-word proposal for a personal project with enough scope for you to work on it while you study for Parts Four and Five of this course. Write a list of potential themes at an early stage in your work for Part Four.

Read the chapters on Planning (chapter 1) and Developing Ideas Through Research (chapter 2) in Fox , A and Caruana , N . (2012) Creative Photography : Behind the Image-Research in Photography. Lausanne :Ava Publishing.

Chapter 1. Planning

Reiterates the importance of planning “the first stages ” and to consider “what brought you to the project in the first place” p.g 11.

An initial draft plan can then be developed.

Consider a title , this “reveals more about a project than you may imagine” p.g 12 even if this is later changed.

The subject matter “is the most important part of your proposal : it will contain all the key details of the project” p.g 14

The “proposal should detail your approach to making the work and the different methods you will explore during the project” p.g 16 .

List reference sources for any research undertook , this “helps the proposal reader to understand the scope or ambition of the proposed project’ p.g 18

Remember the importance of research “once you have found photographers that interest you , or a period of photographic history that is intriguing , make a note of the details ” p.g 21.

Chapter 2. Developing ideas through research

Research via books , museums , libraries , the Web , blogs , etc.

Review your progress ” you need time to review your project on an ongoing basis:don’t feel that a review is only done with a completed body of work. Having your progress reviewed is a rich and rewarding progress” p.g 51

Initial thoughts : The Critical Review

For the past few weeks I have been putting off clearly thinking what to write about. I have procrastinated too long and need to make a decision and email my tutor with my initial ideas. I have been dreading this assignment , not so much writing the essay but choosing a topic I feel I can engage in and then structuring it in a coherent manner.

Documentary photography is popularly perceived as factual and non-fictional but my research and the coursework has led me to understand this is not always so. It has enabled me to explore subjective concepts , time , memory and loss, which has led me to discover photographers whose work and ideas have directly influenced me. I am currently reading The Memory of Photography , a paper by David Bate , ( write up to follow— I am finding it quite a difficult piece to read) but feel it is an important piece of work that explores the connection between photography and memory.

I have two working title ideas that I feel will give me enough scope to consider and structure a critical review in response .

What is the function of photography as an aide-mémoire ?

Or possibly a better choice

The function of photography as an aide-mémoire: does the truth matter?

Points to consider (not necessarily in this order)
Photography as a mechanism to aid memory
The role of family albums / domestic photography archives
Collective & individual memory
Relevance to documentary practice
Does this create false memories , re-write history ?
Does the truth matter ?

I have emailed my tutor with these initial thoughts and will await his reply.

Initial thoughts : The Personal Project

I have already stated that I really want to continue with my own personal exploration of memory , time and loss. What I need to start thinking about is how I can expand on this as a body of work and show progression from previous work. I shall update my thoughts on this later on.


David Bate (2010) The Memory of Photography, Photographies, 3:2, 243-257, DOI:10.1080/17540763.2010.499609

Fox, A and Caruana, N. (2012) Behind the Image: Research in Photography. Lausanne: AVA Publishing SA

2 thoughts on “Assignment 4 : The critical review and personal project

  1. Catherine

    Fox & Caruna provide a good guide I think.
    One of the aspects that interests me regarding moving through the Levels is the way in which one leads to another. The value of the new Modules is that the opportunity for expansion of creativity is more obvious now with clearer building blocks.
    There’s so much scope and you’ve done such a lot of research already.


  2. Judy Bach Post author

    Yes there certainly is plenty of scope. When I started this course I really did not think I would be able to incorporate my more personal work within the documentary genre , the modules certainly allow greater freedom . Hope all is going well with you.



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