Scholarship Photography exemplars – 2020

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Outstanding Scholarship

Panel 1 (JPG, 614KB)

Panel 2 (JPG, 636KB)

Panel 3 (JPG, 661KB)
Entire portfolio (JPG, 1.8MB)
Sample workbook pages

Sample page 1 (JPG, 2.6MB)

Sample page 2 (JPG, 2.5MB)

Sample page 3 (JPG, 2.5MB)

Sample page 4 (JPG, 2.9MB)

Sample page 5 (JPG, 2.3MB)

Sample page 6 (JPG, 2.8MB)

Sample page 7 (JPG, 2.3MB)

Sample page 8 (JPG, 2.8MB)

Click links to see larger images

This Outstanding Scholarship submission engaged in a focused and in-depth enquiry about the ocean. On one level, the topic is simple and defined by the explicit and the directness of the imagery. However, looking closer, the relational qualities, feelings, and emotional connections emerge, revealing a subtle yet thorough investigation of the ocean as a subject and metaphorical body.

This intelligent project stems from the close relationship the candidate has to the ocean, having been "brought up in the ocean" and being a surf lifesaver; they respect the ocean and consider it a beautiful resource that should be looked after. Key words used to describe their feelings towards the ocean became concepts to work with photographically: beauty, serenity, movement, fear, danger. The sublime is also posited as a sub-theme providing a productive theoretical backdrop to the candidate's fascination and respect for the ocean.

The workbook is a critical component in this submission; its role in unpacking the portfolio work is integral to understanding the authenticity and real depth of the proposal and practice in context. The candidate does an excellent job of expanding their proposal and citing all the influential factors that have entered into the decision-making process, which is thorough – for example, choosing to change the photographs from colour to monochrome (the how / why / what). The workbook pages act as a guide to the enquiry and the methods developed to engage criticality. The practical listing of the gear used for photo shoots reads like a conceptual how-to list, as does the discussion under the subheadings; the ocean's purpose, the sublime, techniques (lighting, black-and-white, post-production, and shutter speed). 

There is an incredible level of seeing and photographic control over the subject area exerted by the candidate. This skill is evident in the consistently sophisticated images, which captured the range of tides, and the formal properties of the ocean seen in different viewpoints in the camera; that is, taken from the shore, underwater, and revisited at different times of the day. This systematic approach helped to create an immersive experience of the ocean for the viewer.

Artistic reference is pertinent and provides ways for the candidate to understand potential conceptual directions, such as the idea of 'flow state' (colloquially 'being in the zone') drawn from artist Cathy Carter. The analysis and reflective engagement with Carter's work, and then the candidate's own experience of being in a body of water were effectively transformed into sequences of photographs that speak to the openness and vastness of water, as both a site of beauty and danger. Similar insights are identified in Trent Mitchell's art work and applied to the candidate’s unique understanding of the ocean as a body. They are continually thinking about experiential relations as something unseen and use this abstraction as the subject and basis for project-specific methods / processes that they developed to get closer to the topic.


Panel 1 (JPG, 518KB)

Panel 2 (JPG, 480KB)

Panel 3 (JPG, 547KB)
Entire portfolio (JPG, 1.5MB)
Sample workbook pages

Sample page 1 (JPG, 2.3MB)

Sample page 2 (JPG, 1.8MB)

Sample page 3 (JPG, 1.9MB)

Sample page 4 (JPG, 1.9MB)

Sample page 5 (JPG, 2.4MB)

Sample page 6 (JPG, 2.5MB)

Sample page 7 (JPG, 2.5MB)

Sample page 8 (JPG, 2.6MB)

Click links to see larger images

This Scholarship submission focused on a personal story and traumatic event in the candidate's life (brain surgery at 13). Through processes of staging and re-enacting this real-life event, and intelligently reflecting on the trauma in retrospect, the candidate was able to actively analyse while making the art work, to expand the proposition authentically. The intention for this proposition was to share the candidate's experience of what happened; to tell their story.

In the workbook, the candidate explains their process of directorship and curation of imagery by outlining many devices and references to established practice. For example, the candidate used a self-timer for the self-portraits, then worked with their Mother to take the hospital series. Interestingly, it was her earlier photo documentation of the candidate in hospital that sparked this series. This method of linking strategies connected the reader / audience to the reality and emotion of the story being told.

There was a consistent level of analysis and personal insight, which was well-founded and enabled the candidate to sustain an in-depth investigation through / into photographic practice. The workbook is analytical, establishes a parallel commentary about the folio work, and reviews critical decisions while keeping the work at the heart of the conversation. The portfolio and the workbook informed and related to one another in a cyclical relationship. The workbook also featured work not included on the folio, demonstrating the breadth of engagement, editing skills, and genuine thinking.

A high level of technical facility is apparent in the portfolio work, which was unpacked in the workbook, discussing the project's 'trial and error' process. Each passage of work has a role in the telling of the story. The candidate designed the portfolio layout to communicate the experience and storyline versus projecting a linear representation of the work's order. This required the candidate to take control and manage the editing process as part of their making. There was skilled handling of colour, composition, and lighting, alongside the use of objects (life-saving objects involved in the medical intervention) and installation in the staging of set-ups for photography. The candidate was constantly considering symbolic and semiotic relations to the surgical, hospital, and medical equipment, and how they could create the appropriate 'mood'. Effects such as the digital approach employed using "disintegration effect", a process of fragmentation of the figure (edited shadows) introduced a highly stylised element acting as a visual transition parallel to the conceptual ideas of operation, medical intervention, and recovery. These digital aspects of the portfolio works are meaningful and successfully communicate the experience from multiple viewpoints (emotional, psychological, and physical).

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