Evaluating your work

Use the prompts below, along with the Bloom's Taxonomy for Photography resource, to help you structure a detailed, reflective account of any of your completed projects.

AO1: Develop ideas through sustained and focused investigations informed by contextual and other sources, demonstrating analytical and critical understanding.

AO2: Experiment with and select appropriate resources, media, materials, techniques and processes, reviewing and refining work as it develops.

AO4: Present a personal, informed and meaningful response demonstrating critical understanding, realising intentions and, where appropriate, making connections between visual, written, oral or other elements.

Keywords & phrases

Here are some words and phrases to help you evaluate your work. Evaluation is simply the process of explaining:

  1. your research about other artists' work and the ideas you have had
  2. your experiments and the way you have refined them
  3. the decisions you made along the way and how you have recorded your learning
  4. what you made, how you chose to display it and what it means

Explaining is more interesting than just describing. It involves giving clear reasons for your creative decisions and really thinking hard about what you have done and why!

AO1: Researching & generating ideas

researched

selected

chose

reviewed

compared

contrasted

a range of

a variety of

decided

responded

appreciated

imagined

wondered

considered

AO2: Experimenting, refining & developing

experimented

played with

explored

learned how to...

developed my skills in...

watched online demos for...

refined

revised

thought

chose

selected

media

processes

techniques

AO4: Resolving, presenting & evaluating

presented

mounted

displayed

resolved

personal

meaningful

satisfied/pleased with

reflected

reviewed

audience

viewed

understanding

represented/presented

outcomes

E.g.

I began this project by researching a variety of artists and photographers online whose work expressed the theme of X.

I particularly responded to the work of X. His/Her images are imaginative and skilful and I was keen to explore how to...

E.g.

I have explored a range of media, processes and techniques in this project including...

I have refined my work in various ways. For example...

I found the technique of X very challenging and it took me a long time and plenty of patience to make real progress.

E.g.

I am pleased with my final outcomes because they represent how I feel about the theme of X.

I have chosen to display them in a particular way because...

If I had more time I would like to explore the theme of X in even more detail by...

Example #1: Year 12 (Unit 1)

I began this unit by researching artists who worked with a range of methods and techniques to express the formal elements of photography - light, colour, texture, tone, pattern etc. I found that artists often would discard mid tones in order to emphasise contrast and would often work with abstraction to create a really graphic and defined final product such as Lazlo Moholy-Nagy and other artists particularly related to the Bauhaus. These artists helped me to understand the formal elements and how they could be utilised in order to enhance an image. Edward Weston was one of these artists; his use of tone and lighting articulates the shape and structure of his subjects. Although my earlier investigations began to shape my understanding of photography, I felt that I was still in the state where I saw photography as an art designed to be aesthetically appealing, rather than far deeper than that – an opinion that would change as I progressed.

The progression of the course brought with it the development of my idea and general understanding of photography. I began to think about contrast of ideas and how they could be represented in photography along with experimenting with a variety of other methods. I looked at Christian Boltanski’s work which inspired me in the direction of my project and, despite  my final outcome appearing unrelated to my initial ideas, I felt it was a chain reaction and without my looking towards Boltanski’s art based on the holocaust, I wouldn’t have reached the same conclusion I did. Other artists such as the Boyle Family proved important and aided me in my biggest realisation of the unit – I overcame my belief that photography was purely about aesthetics and discovered the world of conceptual documentation and the presentation of ideas of a more scientific nature, represented through the medium of photography. It was this element of photography I wanted to explore and it is for this reason I was pleased with my progress through the unit. I went from little direction to a strong understanding as well as developing my opinions and understanding photography as an idea.

The first step on this front was exploring techniques, for example the cyanotype process. I looked at how to do it, how other people had perhaps done it differently and why they had done so. After documenting this, I created a few pages of research followed by my experimentation within the medium I was exploring. After each experiment I evaluated my work and explain why I selected the particular materials, how successful I felt my final result was and how I could have altered the experiment to produce different or better results. If I was still interested or intrigued by the technique I was exploring, I would look at alternative methods that could change the outcome. I wanted to take an idea and play with the possibilities and have the evidence of this in my sketchbook.

For my final outcome I was hoping to create a series of images documenting extracts from moments of my life over the course of a week. I took photographs looking straight up and straight down on the same spot. My choice of the moments to take the photographs was by chance. I would take one set of two every time I got a text message, for example. The randomness made for a more interesting selection because I wasn't looking for the best possible photographs. So, when I produced good photographs, there was something far more exciting about it. I took my work leading up to the final piece so it made sense to continue in this vein. I took the most important 44 sets and narrowed these down to a smaller selection. The theme of suburban areas had been central in my research and personal work. For example, the work of the Boyle Family influenced my decision to embrace chance and Taryn Simon's display strategies influenced the presentation of my work which was very precise and ordered. This project was the first successful outcome that demonstrated my critical understanding of documentary photography. The work reflected my interest in the environment that I live in and studying everyday objects and liminal places that we often overlook. I was pleased with the project. It was the first of my A Level course and I have learnt a lot from it about photography after converting from fine art at GCSE. I am excited for my next project as I felt that as my project progressed, it became better through detail and quality - I am aiming to achieve an even higher standard consistently through the rest of the course.