Assignment 3 – Shoes – Tutor Feedback and Reflection

Notes from tutorial with my tutor

This set presented me with quite a challenge and having made a conscious decision to try and get away from the ‘stock’ type of images I created in Assignment 2, I was actually worried, Les would thing they were a bit boring. (or maybe that was just because they were about me!)  

I was pleased that he thought they work as a set and were held together by the concept as well as the colour tones and light.  This is something I had thought about so was glad it was noticed.  I must remember to include these decisions in my write up of the assignments.

One thing that intrigued me, was that Les said that my photos actually gave viewers more of an insight into my spaces than they would ordinarily see.  However, by placing the legs in the image it formed a barrier to them seeing it all.  I found this a very interesting point of view and I had seen them as a lead into my life.  So the fact that he saw them as a barrier gave me pause for thought around how much I allow people into my life.

The other point that made me think was the point that I had obviously set up and posed the images in order to take them of myself.  However, as a viewer we accept them as a ‘real’ captures of my life.  I think that’s what his comment about smartphone images refers to in his feedback.  I had wanted to create a more ‘real’ type of image in this set as opposed to the last assignment, so I am satisfied that I achieved this. 

Les suggested I look up a photographer call Leah Schrager, as he felt that the image with me looking at the screen reminded him of her work. 


Infinity Selfie - Leah Schrager

In her series 'Infinity Selfie'; Schrager is places a picture within a picture which is reminiscent of my picture on the screen of the computer. In my case this was a happy accident, as I had been checking my first attempt at the image when I took that image. I didn't notice the screen until after I'd taken the picture. This is a learning point for me for Assignment 4 & 5 and remembering that everything in an image can have a meaning and impact for the viewer.

We discussed the image with the red boots and agreed that it didn’t need to text, so I have removed it and uploaded it to my Instagram feed. This has changed the order of the images, so I wondered if this will change the impact of the set?  Actually I think it works better with the placement of the boots as the first picture and the blue shoes in the last image it looks like bookends for the set.

orignal post
updated post

we discussed assignments 4 & 5.  He suggested that I pick an image for A4 that might link to something I’m interested in that will lead into A5.  Therefore, I have read both assignments to get a sense of what I might need to do next.

All in all I am relatively pleased with the outcome of this assignment.

Assignment 3 – pre-feedback reflections

It has taken me a long time from making these images to finalising the assignment for submission. I’m not sure if I really don’t want to have to put myself in the picture, or I wasn’t happy with the concept. Eventually though, I came to the conclusion that if I don’t submit the assignment and get feedback from my tutor, I’ll never improve them and probably won’t finish the course!!

In actual fact, I do like the set, it’s new thinking for me and very different to the two pieces of work I’ve already submitted, so in that respect it is a success.

Demonstration of technical and visual skills

In this assignment, I have used a variety of technical and compositional skills to capture the images. I wanted to show the shoes in the context in which I use them, so this required me to plan the shots for each pair of shoes and consider how best to compose them.

  • Images 1, 3, 5 & 9 were taken using a camera on an tripod with a timer and / or a remote control.
  • Images 2, 4, 8 & 10, are taken from my point of view
  • Images 2 & 4 are taken with an apple iphone, whilst the remainder were taken with a Nikon D810 dslr camera. I have edited them in a way that means it’s not obvious.
  • The images were all taken in a 2×3 format and have been cropped to a square format in photoshop.
  • I created a 3 x4 template in photoshop to mock up how the images would look on Instagram and had to remember to post them in reverse order, to achieve the layout I wanted.
  • A new Instagram account was created in order to display this work.

Quality of outcome

As I always intended for this set of images to be presented in a digital format on social media, I used my knowledge of the Instagram App to present the work in a way that I felt best displayed them as a set. The composition of each image was considered as an individual as well as part of the set. I am very happy with the subtle toning of the images and feel they work well as a set.

Demonstration of Creativity

My aim was to create a set of images that said something about myself, without giving away the whole story. Having reviewed other student’s responses to the brief, I feel that I have found an innovative and creative response. I do think I could expand on this and may continue to add images to the thread, ready for the final assessment. I haven’t yet explored other times of the day or even other seasons, when I may well wear different shoes, so this could add more to the story.

I have also shown creativity in the composition of the images, making the shoes the main focus of the image in some and incidental in others. I have also tried to vary the viewpoint and ensure that each image adds something new to the story.


I have researched a number of photographers for this work, with particular interest in Eva Strenham’s idea of hiding part of the person in the portrait in order to make the viewer have to look at in more detail to make out what is happening. My images do tell a story, but are not particularly intimate, in the way that Elinor Carruci’s are. This issomething I would like to consider emulating in the future.

In posting them on Instgram, I am putting a bit of myself out there and also giving others the opportunity to comment. A fact I am both reticent and excited about!!

Although I am now waiting for Les’s feedback, at this point I am happy with the outcome of this work overall and what I have learned in making it.

Assignment 3 – Putting Yourself in the Picture – Shoes

Putting myself in the picture isn’t something I would usually choose to do! Part of the brief was to keep a diary which is something I’ve tried to do before, but have never succeeded in completing a whole year!! This time, I decided to take a different approach and bought myself a planning diary with lots of stickers.

Planning diary kept for this assignment

This actually worked quite well for a couple of months. In stead of writing reams, I was able to just write a line or a phrase and then set about choosing an appropriate sticker. This made the book look pretty and the snippets of information were enough to jog my memory. This was going ok until one day I realised I hadn’t written in it for a week! and there endeth the story of they diary!

I concluded that I really don’t find myself that interesting!

I considered my approach for this project would be ‘self-absented portraiture‘ as I don’t like being in photographs. However, I liked the idea of concealing myself and yet revealing myself through the use of a surrogate object.

In Eva Stenram’s drapes series she deflected the viewers gaze by covering parts of the women’s bodies, creating a scene that leaves the viewer without all of the answers and forces them to explore the image for further clues about the person. Like most people I am complex and multifaceted, but as an introvert draw my energy from within and therefore, don’t always show the ‘full me’ to many people.

I was very drawn to Elinor Carruci’s work which has a much more intimate feel. She is able to capture very graphic moments of life in a low light style using members of her family and herself. I really like this approach but didn’t feel that this would work for this project.

I have chosen to depict myself through a surrogate; my shoes. My aim is to give a glimpse of myself whilst giving the viewer the opportunity to explore the image for more clues. I have used natural daytime light to capture this set, so by that token focused only on my daytime activities.

In researching people using shoes in this way, I couldn’t find many, if any, examples. The majority of photographs of shoes are taken in order to sell them. Therefore, I wanted to make ‘real’ life photos with shoes that are worn in and being used. In some of the images the shoes are the primary focus of the picture, whereas in others, they are incidental in the image. In a few of the images, you are seeing the world from my point of view. On reflection, I think this is a good analogy of me.

We seem, these days, to think we know people because of the images they post on social media, this gave rise to the invent of the selfie and a trend of people posting hundreds of images of their face. But how much does this actually tell us about them?

I have chosen to present these images on Instagram because this is one of the most commonly used apps for sharing self-portraits. There are 12 images in this set, because this is the number of pictures you can see in a grid form on your phone when you click on someone’s profile. This is also why I picked the square format.

Below is a screenshot and a link to my Instagram page. I would like people to view them through this media and comment.

my research and planning can be seen here

click here to see the contact sheets for the assignment

my pre-feedback reflection and assessment criteria points can be read here

tutor report and post feedback reflections can be read here

Assignment 3 – Self Portrait – ideas and research

Self portrait mind map of Part 3 – putting yourself in the picture

Having read through Part 3 – Putting yourself in the picture and researching the artists suggested and more, I have come to the conclusion that, I certainly don’t want to be naked in any images!, I don’t really have anything to bang a drum about and therefore, I am pretty sure my assignment will be self-absented set.

I would also like to explore the theme of substitution which was a question that came out of my last assignment, where I substituted a wooden hand for a real one.

I would also like to link this work to instagram. It seems that everyone uploads images of themselves (selfies} to instagram these days, coupled with a description of where they are, what they are doing. This is coupled with #lotsoflinks, #funnyquotes, #likegrabbingheadlines. Getting likes is all that matters!!

This is a screen shot of my current instagram account as seen on my iphone. Most people see a grid of 3 x 3 or 3 x 4 images at a time, so I will aim for 12 photos to complete this set.

I tend to use my account to show images I’ve taken, either for clients or for myself. Occasionally I add photos of me and my grandchildren, but try very hard not to post ‘crap’ to it, as I want to showcase myself as an artist (is there even such a thing!!)

I have been keeping my diary now for 8 days. I HAVE filled it in every day. This a major achievement for me. I am using a planning diary, rather than a regular journal. This seems to suit me better and I’ve found that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, stickers! they break up the writing and I find the small snippets much more interesting that lots of prose. It is enough to trigger the memories.

It’s a note for learning here too. I really struggle to concentrate with pages and pages of prose. I have to read reports for work, and I always have to get a cup of tea and often get up and go for a walk, so I can re-concentrate several times during the course of reading them. I prefer short bursts of text interspersed with images or graphics. Conversely though, I’m pretty good at writing reports!

My subject for the assignment:

I considered picking up the work I tried out after reading Francesca Woodman’s work, which was exploring the idea of using long exposure to be in a space and then not, but decided it was a bit boring and it’s essentially one photographic technique done in a few different ways. I have decided to complete my initial thoughts of self-absented self-portraiture based on substitution. I am going to tell viewers about myself by using my SHOES.