Monday, 6 January 2014

Another year older, a new one just begun...

Repeating mistakes
2014-01-01 12.38 combined 1100px 75pc copy

It’s been very interesting to look back at this year from the perspective of my photography, and to look in particular at progress against my aims as set out in this blog post last year. I have made progress in all areas but not completed much, so my achievements list isn’t nearly as impressive as last year.

Key achievements for 2013
Made progress in the Landscape module – three assignments completed, most of my seasonal images and portfolio images taken.
Continued to make pictures for both the Norbury/SW16 and Bognor books.
Made and shared a number of films for the A Graceful Death project. See here for details.
I attended my local carnival this year and made a set of pictures that I was quite pleased with. They are unlikely to fit into the book I am planning on SW16, which explores the landscape and built environment, but I did enjoy doing this and may consider another locally-based project as part of my level three exploration.
I also edited a lovely set of illustrations for a forthcoming children’s book. The process of scanning and the edits needed to get the image ready for repro was a good learning curve for me. I will write about that when the book is ready to be published so I can share the pics.

Plans for 2014
Complete Landscape module to a high standard, ideally for July assessment.
Complete both Bognor and Norbury/SW16 books and hand in alongside Landscape module. These are not formally part of the module as they’re likely to include some pictures taken before I started but are so linked to it that I want them all to be part of the package.
Start level three courses, ideally around August.
Continue the series of images including my sky pictures and some of the sea and land pictures that involve very minimal or reduced information. No working title for the project yet but hope to turn it into a book eventually.
I will make some more films (and complete processing on some that are already in the can) but this has to take a back seat to my core landscape work for a little while.
More of an intention than a plan as such: I do want to learn from some of my difficulties in 2013 and spend a greater percentage of my time focussing on my own work. Mustn’t volunteer for too much, and especially nothing major between now and June when I hope to hand in the completed landscape course.
Make a portfolio website between completing this course and starting level three.

Learning points and room for improvement
Overall last year was a difficult year for me. It started well enough but when I began my Tanzania project (an aid-related project sponsored by my Department) this took up a great deal of time, mental and physical energy and quite a lot of my creativity. It was a great and valuable experience but it really was too much for me on top of my job and degree. I know I’d have regretted not taking up the opportunity and do believe that what we are doing will be valuable to the Tanzanian economy, but really must learn to say no even to good things sometimes if I am not to keel over. Last year I also had a good deal of things done to my flat and worked on the A Graceful Death project with a big exhibition in Bridport in November. All worthwhile and even necessary things. But I hope 2014 will be a less interesting year in some ways. I’d like more of my creative energy and imagination to be reserved for my pictures. We shall see.

I’ve looked again at the film and blog on productivity that I posted with my review of last year. I do the thing of breaking scary stuff into bite sized chinks and that’s really how I got through the worst time last year, but think I need to try again to be more focussed and productive. I’d like to be more relaxed also but am not the sort of person who can relax easily. If I feel that I am getting things done and making progress it is much easier to relax as well. To help keep me on track I will aim to monitor this and maybe make another reflection at the end of the Landscape course.

This is quite a short and business-like review of the year. I’ve read some really excellent and thoughtful ones by other people and had originally thought of doing something similar myself but it hasn’t worked out that way, perhaps in part because I spent so much mental energy on my last assignment, which possibly brings me back again to my earlier point, that I can’t expect to be endlessly creative without taking time in between to rest and recharge those mental batteries.

And in conclusion…
I wish everyone who reads this a Happy and creative New Year, wherever your creativity takes you, and whatever life blows your way!


  1. You've done so much and in so many different directions Eileen and I've been continually amazed at your skills. I'm sure you'll do exceedingly well at assessment for Landscape. Wishing you every success for 2014 (and some much needed relaxation time as well).

  2. Thank you so much Catherine. I am much less confident about assessment than you: I feel very flat about the whole thing, but take some comfort from your comments.