Critical Reflection of Module
At the start of this module, I was unsure as to how to create a project that I would enjoy with the given brief of choosing a site around Coventry. I don’t particularly like the city at the best of times. For this project, my main aim was to create a body of work that would be good enough to go in my professional portfolio, which is especially important if I choose to leave university after this year. Therefore I wanted to use this module as a chance to build on my professional portfolio to prepare me for being a professional photographer.
My influence for the project came from my initial archives task within assignment one, in which we were asked to bring in archives, which say something about ourselves. The archives which I brought in, happened to be special to me as they featured my dad and myself many years ago beginning what is now our hobby to share: horse riding. This hobby mixed with my passion for fashion photography is what pushed me to create the idea of combining the two together.
My project began in Coombe Abbey, with historical reference to an equestrian world; a vast amount of this evidence came from research at the Herbert History Room, from books and archives such as History of Coombe Abbey, written by Robin Moore. I swiftly moved away from the site of Coventry after historical research because there is no longer any type of equestrian community or culture at Coombe, or anywhere in Coventry in fact as it is a city. Coombe Abbey was a great starting point for me to gain historical research, but for the practical body of my work I have photographed the Quorn Hunt, which has been easily accessible to me through my country home.
Practically, my photography and narrative making has improved upon shoot after shoot. It was good to be able to have a fair gap between each shoot, allowing me to have time to review and think carefully about what to do in the next shoot; the benefits of having a longer module. There has been a limit to my research for this project, historical evidence has been found and fashion story research has been documented, but it has been hard to find inspiration for my photography from established practices for this project. A couple of photographers who were interesting thanks to their documentation of high class British society are Peter Dench and Martin Parr.
I chose to display my fashion story digitally rather than physically in a magazine format, because my intended audience is such a wide range of people that it would be best seen, and more seen online. This is a particular bonus for the people who have been involved with my Equestrian Fashion story; they loved having their photographs taken at the hunts so I’m sure they would appreciate being able to view them online. I have also considered taking my story further than my website and online portfolio, and placed it on the online platform ‘Issuu’, enabling more coverage. This is something I will continue to work on past the module, to get as wider audience as possible. My inspirations for my story narrative came mainly from continually reading high-end, designer fashion magazines such as Vogue. My original plan was to have two fashion stories: spectators and riders. But I came to the conclusion of not having the spectator’s story in my final piece because my rider’s story was much stronger and well developed in comparison.
Generally my time management for this project has been good, I got off to a good start with research and initial photo shoots over the Christmas period. I allocated enough time to complete my shoots, and even had some spare to do one last shoot, which happened to be my strongest of them all! As the deadline got closer though, my time management went down hill. I was having major problems with my blogging site and website from the beginning which set me back quite a bit as these had to be resolved before I could continue. I do regret not creating a sketchbook instead of a blog; I think it may have benefitted my project and helped seeing my ideas visually rather than digitally.
A benefit of this module has been creating a website, this is something I have been looking forward to for a while and have enjoyed the process, even if it was a long one. I feel that due to this module I am now set to push myself into the professional field of photography and to stop thinking of myself as a student.
I would like to continue with this body of work, and to take the fashion outside of the hunting field and create something completely new, still focusing on the tradition and history of equestrian fashion but adding a high fashion theme to it. Possibly like the ‘Country Life’ story featured in Vogue.
To date, this has been my favorite, most enjoyable module whilst being at university. All aspects of the module, from the research to the shoots, the many hours I have spent at hunts has all been fun and worthwhile. I have been allowed, and been supported, and pushed to create something, which really suits my style of photography, and something I can be proud of to put in my professional portfolio. Something to note from my final presentation of the module, is to in future use this time to formally prepare myself for professional presentations, which will inevitably happen.
Dench, P (2016) England Uncensored [online] available from < http://www.peterdench.com/england-uncensored/> [3rd March, 2016]
Magnum Photos (2014) GB England [online] available from <http://www.magnumphotos.com/C.aspx?VP3=SearchResult&VBID=2K1HZOLAI06UPH&SMLS=1&RW=1279&RH=711#/SearchResult&VBID=2K1HZOLAIY0G_Y&SMLS=1&RW=1279&RH=711> [3rd March, 2016]
Moore, R. History of Coombe Abbey. Coventry, England: Jones-Sands Publishing c/o
Link to my website: www.livvyreeds.co.uk
My final body of work is on my website, which can be found here: http://www.livvyreeds.co.uk/hunting-fashion/