Visual Arts - Photography - annotated exemplar level 3 AS91447

Use drawing to demonstrate understanding of conventions appropriate to photography (3.2)

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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, 6.8MB)

For Excellence, the student needs to use drawing to demonstrate in-depth understanding of specific conventions appropriate to photography.

This involves critically selecting and fluently applying art making processes, procedures, materials, techniques and conventions, with consideration of their particular characteristics, to achieve a particular outcome.

This student has demonstrated mastery of both conventional studio photography practices (1) (lighting, costume, props, pose) and digital techniques (2) (3) (vignettes, selection tools, transparency, and saturation). 

The student demonstrates mastery of pictorial and compositional elements such as grids (2), sequencing (5) (6), juxtaposition (4) (7), repetition (5) (6) and scale (9).

Critical selection and fluent application of digital conventions is evident, showing the depth required for Excellence. For example, the heightened colour saturation aligns with the butterfly content while increasing decorative and dramatic aspects of the outcomes.

For a more secure Excellence, the student could be more consistent with minor technical aspects. For example, the compositional decision making in some images (4) (5) could be more refined. More sustained use of the subtle sophistication of the final three images (7) (8) (9) would move the student to the higher end of the Excellence grade range.

A critical edit, that culls the least effective outcomes, would show a more profoundly in-depth understanding. 

High Merit

Commentary
Student work extract

Student 2 (PDF, 5.1MB)

For Merit, the student needs to use drawing to demonstrate understanding of specific conventions appropriate to photography.

This involves purposefully selecting and using art making processes, procedures, materials, techniques, and conventions with consideration of their particular characteristics to achieve a particular outcome.

This student has demonstrated a sound understanding of the vanitas compositional and pictorial conventions specific to Peter Blum and Zurbaran (1). These conventions include a pyramidal composition (2) with strong side lighting, isolated objects and dark background (3) to create drama and space.

The technical conventions of studio photography are managed consistently well with the systematic exploration of lighting and depth of field (6). The annotations (4) (5) clearly indicate the purposeful use of specific photography conventions.

The student then moves beyond the traditional conventions to explore more contemporary approaches (7). The success of these original outcomes demonstrates a deeper understanding of characteristics and constraints of studio practice. For example, the images highlight the interplay between the initial lighting of the object itself and projected shadow of the cut-out on the wall behind.

To reach Excellence, the student could further refine the iconographic conventions appropriate to vanitas imagery (5). Modern or personal symbolic elements could be added to enhance the formal decorative strength of the images. Numerous artists such as Audrey Flack and Justine Reyes provide examples of approaches using vanitas to reference contemporary themes and issues.

Low Merit

Commentary
Student work extract

Student 3 (PDF, 5.2MB)

For Merit, the student needs to use drawing to demonstrate understanding of specific conventions appropriate to photography.

This involves purposefully selecting and using art making processes, procedures, materials, techniques, and conventions with consideration of their particular characteristics to achieve a particular outcome.

This student has purposefully explored a variety of specific photography conventions, including full frame and close up juxtaposition (3), the typology approach of centred isolated objects (2), grid compositional systems (2) (4), repetition and rhythm (2) (4), and limited depth of field (6).

The rigid geometric abstraction (7) alludes to the painting conventions of Mark Rothko. The specificity of the reference is enhanced by the use of blurring to emulate the painting style of Rothko.

The annotations indicate that particular conventions have been selected for a specific purpose (5). 

For a more secure Merit, the student could move beyond the narrow scope of formal abstraction to apply a wider range of pictorial conventions. For example, the human or narrative element would provide opportunity for the student to demonstrate greater depth of understanding of photographic techniques.

In some earlier images (1), a sharper focus would be more consistent with the apparent intention of the outcome.

High Achieved

Commentary
Student work extract

Student 4 (PDF, 7.3MB)

For Achieved, the student needs to use drawing to demonstrate understanding of conventions appropriate to photography.

This involves selecting and using art making processes, procedures, materials, techniques, and conventions with knowledge of their particular characteristics to achieve a particular outcome.

This student has identified a particular proposition relating to identity and how we present ourselves online. For this purpose the student uses Barbie (1) as an idealised icon and pixilation (2) (6) to show the distortion of online avatars. The selection and use of these images and processes shows a sound understanding of how visual conventions can communicate meaning.

The student also uses grid formatting (2) (4) and Photoshop filters (3) to enhance the theme of replication and distortion.

The studio portrait outcomes (4) show sound understanding of how lighting, colour and costume affect the reading of images.

To reach Merit, the student could further refine the application of Photoshop manipulation techniques. For example, the cut and paste in some of the initial Barbie images (1) should be more carefully aligned.

An understanding of specific conventions would recognise and build upon the more successful outcomes (2) (5) (6), rather than pursuing ‘creative play’ exercises (3). Further refinement of the pixilation outcomes (5) (6) would help enhance the students understanding of how this specific convention can communicate the false avatar proposition.

Low Achieved

Commentary
Student work extract

Student 5 (PDF, 18MB)

For Achieved, the student needs to use drawing to demonstrate understanding of conventions appropriate to photography.

This involves selecting and using art making processes, procedures, materials, techniques, and conventions with knowledge of their particular characteristics to achieve a particular outcome.

This student has demonstrated understanding of camera conventions such as transparency (2) reflection (3) and lighting (6). The pictorial convention of limited colour (2) (3) is further enhanced through digital processing to increase contrast and saturation (5) (7).

The photo-shoot (4) shows a considered investigation of compositional conventions exploiting the transparent and reflective properties of the subject matter.

For a more secure Achieved, the student could further explore the identified pictorial and technical conventions by undertaking a more sustained investigation. This may include photo-shoots that introduce additional objects to enhance the transparent/reflective properties. For example, mirrors and frosted glass could be incorporated, as well as water as ice, liquid or steam.

The student could expand their investigation of compositional approaches beyond the tight cropping relied on for most outcomes. For example, the grid and sequence potential of the initial investigation (1) (2) could be reconsidered and refined.

Alternatively, the student could more explicitly reference specific artist models to enhance their understanding of particular approaches. For example, the limited colour and focal ambiguity of Uta Barth inherent in two early images (3) could form the basis of a dedicated photo-shoot. This could lead to the integration of conceptual conventions adding meaning to the largely formal pictorial investigation.

High Not Achieved

Commentary
Student work extract

Student 6 (PDF, 24MB)

For Achieved, the student needs to use drawing to demonstrate understanding of conventions appropriate to photography.

This involves selecting and using art making processes, procedures, materials, techniques, and conventions with knowledge of their particular characteristics to achieve a particular outcome.

This student has identified a theme based around frames and photos, and then completed four loosely related photo-shoots (1) (2) (3) (5). This provides opportunity for the use of pictorial, compositional, technical and narrative conventions.

In most images the students follows a tightly cropped framing strategy to eliminate distracting detail and control the compositional arrangement of pictorial elements. Decisions around limiting colour appear to have been made to help unify each image.

A pattern versus face juxtaposition has been arranged (4) to create visual interest.

To reach Achieved, the student could more clearly establish the thematic proposition of the investigation. For example, if the intention is to evoke notions of memory, then images from the second photo-shoot (2) could be evaluated in terms of how well they communicate this idea. This may be in the form of annotations identifying the strengths and weaknesses of each image.

This information could be used to identify which conventions best achieve that particular outcome for a new photo-shoot.

For achieved, the student also needs to show more convincing selection of particular conventions such as depth of field, rule of thirds, leading lines, juxtaposition of objects, etc. These need to be applied with deliberate intent in order to achieve a clearly identified outcome.

 
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