Visual Arts - Photography - annotated exemplar level 3 AS91442

Analyse methods and ideas from established photography practice (3.1)

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This annotated exemplar is intended for teacher use only. The student work shown does not always represent a complete sample of what is required. Selected extracts are used, focused on the grade boundaries, in order to assist assessors to make judgements at the national standard.

Low Excellence

Commentary
Student work extract

Student 1 (PDF, 12MB)

For Excellence, the student needs to critically analyse methods and ideas from established photography practice.

This involves:

  • explaining the significance of how and why art works are made, viewed, and valued
  • explaining complex relationships between selected approaches
  • placing these relationships within a wider social, political, geographic, or historical context.
  • providing evidence of independent research from a wide range of sources where personal insight, evaluation, and conclusions are presented with supporting arguments.

This student has three sustained critical investigations of three different photographers. Discussion of Tracey Moffatt and Jeff Wall is shown here. Each investigation includes relevant background information (5), an overview of key features (6), a detailed analysis (1) and reference to wider contexts (3) (4). The breadth and depth of this investigation demonstrates a critical level of analysis.

The student explains multiple layers of symbolism and meaning. For example, the student provides a sustained discussion of the role of colour in Something More with explicit reference to symbolism of passion, race, social status etc. (2). This complex response shows personal insight based on independent research from a wide range of research sources.

For a more secure Excellence, the student could further develop the discussion of relationships between the artists and wider contexts. For example, the student could discuss how and why the work of Gordon Bennett (3) and Fiona Foley (4) differ to that of Tracey Moffatt.

The student may also provide a more sustained discussion of how each artist relates to the others in terms of their different approaches to constructing narratives.

High Merit

Commentary
Student work extract

Student 2 (PDF, 12MB)

For Merit, the student needs to analyse, in depth, methods and ideas from established photography practice.

This involves:

  • purposefully identifying key information related to methods and ideas
  • gathering information from a range of sources
  • using specific examples to support the student’s discussion of particular methods and ideas.

This student has investigated five photographers who produce staged narratives involving human figures. Discussion of Cindy Sherman and Gregory Crewdson is shown here. The student identifies the key technical and pictorial devices, and explains how these create a specific effect to communicate a particular story. For example, how the use of a spatial division creates a sense of voyeurism (1).

The comparison between Cindy Sherman and Edgar Degas (2) shows consideration of a wider artistic context. The explanation of the similarities and differences between Sherman and Degas (3) is beginning to show the critical analysis required for Excellence.

The number and diversity of visual and thematic comparisons in the Crewdson page (5) indicates that the student has undertaken research from a range of appropriate sources.

To reach Excellence, the student could focus more exclusively on three or four artists to achieve more comprehensive analysis and greater personal insight. For example, the student may discuss the post-modern implications of the floating woman image (4) from the Twilight series where the Ophelia story is placed in a contemporary America domestic interior.

The student may also discuss the differences between the approaches of the identified photographers. For example, the strong feminist agenda of Sherman in comparison to the ambivalent moral position of Crewdson.

Low Merit

Commentary
Student work extract

Student 3 (PDF, 9.3MB)

For Merit, the student needs to analyse, in depth, methods and ideas from established photography practice.

This involves:

  • purposefully identifying key information related to methods and ideas
  • gathering information from a range of sources
  • using specific examples to support the student’s discussion of particular methods and ideas.

This student has investigated a range of different artists’ approaches to identified photography conventions. For example, within a typological approach they explore work by Keith Arnatt (1), Henry Fox Talbot (2), and Karl Blossfeldt (3). This enables the student to explore a range of work within a clearly defined scope, which provides opportunity for a broader understanding of a particular practice. 

The student presents an in-depth analysis in the discussion of some specific art works. For example, the student explains how the traditional vanitas idea of time passing has been subverted by introducing a pen which does not change in any way (4).

For a more secure Merit, the student could present more sustained identification of key methods and ideas for particular art works. Focusing on three or four artists would enable the student to discuss their work in greater depth. For example, the summary of conceptual ideas by Keith Arnatt (1) could be supported with an explanation of the technical devices used to create the sunset effect.

The student may provide fuller explanations of how art works relate to wider contexts as in the connection between Sam Taylor Woods and vanitas. In this work the technological opportunities of stop motion photography could be considered.

High Achieved

Commentary
Student work extract

Student 4 (PDF, 6.7MB)

For Achieved, the student needs to analyse methods and ideas from established photography practice.

This involves:

  • identifying, describing, and examining features of art works
  • identifying information related to methods and ideas
  • explaining how and why art works are made, viewed, and valued
  • distinguishing similarities and differences between approaches to making art
  • research into the established practice of at least three artists from at least two sources.

This student has identified how technical and pictorial features have been used to communicate ideas (1). In this excerpt the student addresses the work of Irving Penn and Sam Taylor Wood. The description of formal and technical processes such as commercial studio photography and medium format analogue indicates that appropriate research has been undertaken (2). 

The student explains how the work of Irving Penn and Sam Taylor Wood is similar and different to that of traditional vanitas painting (4). 

To reach Merit, the student could build upon the detailed description of imagery and process to explain the ideas underpinning the work, or example the sustained passage about Sam Taylor Wood’s time lapse Still Life (3) could explore how traditional vanitas painting has been extended by modern photographic techniques.

More sustained research from appropriate sources would enable the sample to demonstrate greater understanding of the ideas and influences that underpin the art works. For example, the restrained geometric formalism of Irving Penn’s still lifes could be related to the austere figure images for which he is more well known.

Low Achieved

Commentary
Student work extract

Student 5 (PDF, 8.9MB)

For Achieved, the student needs to analyse methods and ideas from established photography practice.

This involves:

  • identifying, describing, and examining features of art works
  • identifying information related to methods and ideas
  • explaining how and why art works are made, viewed, and valued
  • distinguishing similarities and differences between approaches to making art
  • research into the established practice of at least three artists from at least two sources.

This student has described how particular techniques have been used to create a specific effect in the work of Bruce Connew (1). References to work by other artists (2) indicate that appropriate research has been undertaken.

The use of viewpoint and title to create the uncomfortable effect of being a stalker is explained in the discussion of Out my Window by W. Eugene Smith (4).

For a more secure Achieved, the student could make more direct links between the extensive biographical information (3) and the art works being analysed. For example, the photojournalist techniques could be discussed in relation to Out my Window (4),or images of mercury poisoning victims (3) could be analysed.

The student could also compare the artists’ common theme of surveillance. Identifying how and why each artist presents a unique approach to voyeurism would enable the student to distinguish the similarities and differences between approaches to making art.

Overall the research and analysis of each photographer would need to be more sustained for a secure Achieved at Level 3.

High Not Achieved

Commentary
Student work extract

Student 6 (PDF, 5.8MB)

For Achieved, the student needs to analyse methods and ideas from established photography practice.

This involves:

  • identifying, describing, and examining features of art works
  • identifying information related to methods and ideas
  • explaining how and why art works are made, viewed, and valued
  • distinguishing similarities and differences between approaches to making art
  • research into the established practice of at least three artists from at least two sources.

This student has addressed the work of Loretta Lux and Ann Shelton. The student has used appropriate technical terms to describe photographs (2), and explained how some pictorial devices have been used to direct the viewer’s attention (3).

To reach Achieved, the student could make clear connections between the biographical information and the analysis of art works. For example, the German identity of Loretta Lux (1) could be explored in terms of how the images relate to cultural values or other German artists.

For Achieved, the student would also need to move beyond simply describing the features of works (4) to examine their purpose or effect. Reference should be made to how technical (light, focus) and pictorial (framing, colour) features create effects and/or communicate ideas.

Reading from appropriate research sources may provide the student with information about the methods and ideas of each artist. For example, the typological approach of Loretta Lux could be discussed.

Where other artists are mentioned, such as Arcimboldo (5), a discussion of similarities and differences should be provided. In the case of Ann Shelton, a more appropriate comparison may be made with the work of Rosalie Gascoigne.

 
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