Andrew and Alexandra joined with me, Alexandra having posted The Aftermath and Andrew the photographer Nick Knight and his image Transhuman After All, VMAN, 2013. Andrew disappeared from our group to join another. However, Darral joined when Alexandra and I had agreed to try to exchange some initial ideas around the theme of eyes. We sent lengthy emails to each other exploring various ways of considering the theme including looking at definitions, poems and songs. Alexandra suggested a song entitled the Eyes of the World. I picked this up as written by Fairport Convention, looked into what was going on with the band when it was written and sent some comments back. Alexandra had meant the song of the same title by Grateful Dead written by Jerry Garcia!
However, in discussing ideas I had about taking an image of relationships breaking up by photographing a magazine rack in a supermarket (where such headlines appear to be prevalent), Alexandra then came across newspaper headlines relating to the General Election featuring Teresa May and Michael Gove and Jeremy Corbin. From this we developed ideas around time and patriotism with Brexit being a hot topic in the news in relation to the election results as well as relationships being a feature of the song. We went through the words of the song verse by verse and discussed the ways in which they could be illustrated using direct telephone contact in addition to email.
We agreed power point would be a good way to present our project as we were both familiar with it and Alexandra volunteered to oversee this. My job was to source some of the images, taking new and using some I had recently taken. Alexandra had already taken the news paper headlines and I went on to take an egg timer to represent time passing and offered up my image of a Union Jack on a windsock as well as an image of the South Devon coastline. Alexandra created an image of a brick wall to end the presentation with a loose brick and a crack travelling up the face of it.
The next step was creating the power point. The first draft had words of the song across the images. This was revised so that the text was at the side or below the images. We then discussed and decided who would present what in the webinar. We shared the task with Alexandra talking about setting up the piece and myself speaking about the presentation words and images. We added a ‘what have we learned’ section relating to each of our contributions. Daral was able to comment on this although he had not had time to make a substantial contribution due to other committments and because we had raced ahead with getting it finished early as Alexandra and I were both busy later in the week.
The presentation went smoothly with two of us able to attend the webinar. The process of completing this activity did feel like and was a collaboration with no lead or team roles having been specified. We agreed with the third member that other commitments may affect each of us during the course and at some point we will all be pleased to have supportive working relationships.
Part 1 of Presentation: Collaboration Notes
- Day 1: SN put up the SN put up the subject ‘Eyes’. AP put up the subject ‘Aftermath’.SN and AP formed Group 1.
- Day 1 Evening: Group exchanged ideas, developed a direction and deadlines.
- Overnight into Day 2: Further alignment of thinking via Canvas / 3rd member – DB joined
- Day 2: AP took the Magazine theme suggested by SN, developed it further and took an experimental shot to illustrate it.
- End of Day 2: Theme was developed shots agreed / allocated. A PP outline was circulated for approval. Deadlines were confirmed. Telco, all actions agreed according to availability / capability
- Overnight into Day 3: Further email exchanges and shots (with alternatives), complete by PM. Penultimate draft of the presentation circulated / telcos for next steps / final actions discussions.
- Overnight into Day 4: Final version agreed and made ready for presentation. Further emails exchanged re technical issues, presentation and commentary content.
Part 2 of Presentation: Presentation Notes
- Talk through photographic interpretation of song.
- AP suggested songs relating to eyes including Grateful Dead Eyes of the World.
- Combining this with current affairs AP linked with the recent election results and in telco we discussed the meaning of the lyrics and interpreted them to suit a political aftermath theme.
- The first verse begins with Right outside this lazy summers home but then notes the seasons change things: we agreed to illustrate the passage of time with the egg timer image.
- We split the chorus into two as there was a natural change in interpretation. The first two lines mention wake up you are the eyes of the world and our hearts being with the beaches and countryside of our homeland: for this a landscape of our coastline was selected.
- The second verse mentions a redeemer and then a descent into decay and uncertainty: hence the choice of image depicting Theresa May and Michael Gove.
- The third verse suggests that although we visit other countries, our own is preferred. This had resonance with the current immigration issues and patriotism: hence a choice of a patriotic UK flag (we all live in the UK in this group) which happened to be on a windsock.
- Our concluding part of the chorus tells you to wake now but beware that changes will happen outside your control and forecasts discord: hence the image of the wall where a crack and loose brick represent the dissonance.
Part 3 of Presentation: Lessons Learnt
- Parameters of project including time/ budget resource etc. – clearly understood by all from day 1 and recognising the importance of team work.
- Given the time pressure it is an achievement to have made a product, this sort of pressure perhaps reflecting what is expected in business.
- Individual artist’s visions can be made more compatible if there is a will.
- The project encouraged closer working – personal and informal – reduced the isolation of distance learning.
- Team work produced a quality piece of work in 3 days – ( be prepared for the effect on other aspects of lives).
- Building relationships between peers encourages motivation.
- Discussions (both verbal and written) allow open development and progression and exploration of ideas.
- Understand / value the strength and unity that can be gained by collaboration.
- This would be a best practice model for future tasks/assignments wherever possible
- Interestingly we seem to have unintentionally combined both eyes and afterthought being initial words of AP and SN. We have not managed a clear link with DBs phrase, although combining these together had not been an intention.
- What also emerged was portrayed in the last image, Another Brick in the Wall by Pink Floyd which focusses on education!
- The song could have been interpreted differently or a different poem or song chosen.
- The images could have remained close to the depiction of eyes as in original thoughts and discussion.
- We could have used a Drone shot (from 3rd Group member) rather than the beautiful but standard landscape.
- Overall – A good response given time constraints.
- Thorough preparation of final product taking advantage of skill sets within the group.
- The layout of the photographs was not 100% complimentary .Photographs would have benefited from a full slide each rather than sharing a slide with words. Words could have occupied a separate slide.
- If photograph format was an issue – photographs with frames or burnt edges on a white background would have improved presentation aesthetics.
- Product would have benefitted from greater discussion / agreement on photograph size / format etc.
- References need to be more readable i.e. great print size. Standard recommend print size on PowerPoint is 30 points.
- Authorship should have been given recognition other than watermarks – suggest Japanese style of Sarah x Alex x Daral.
- Presentation colours – red on blue is hard to read.