Yesterday saw me heading to University to receive my assessment feedback review from my principal tutor Mr Iain Irving.
I had expected my visit northwards to be a short trip but my day instead was filled with chance meetings and discourses that would each affect me.
The first of these was from Fiona, one of my classmates, who phoned whilst I was on the train. She invited me to end my journey at Stonehaven, to meet for coffee and then afterwards make our way together to Gray's. The commute to Aberdeen with my friend led us to revisit our year past and we both agreed at how quickly it had flown in. We acknowledged also how much the seminar programme had informed and influenced our practice. We agreed to meet in the summertime with our cameras and go exploring together.
Ten o'clock saw me first in line for review feedback. I was not nervous as I felt confident that I had for-filled all that had been asked of me and that I was also focused for the workload next year. My feedback was encouraging and helpful, inviting me to look at a number of sources to strengthen my practice and research. I was also reminded to remember to critically reflect on my contextual and practical studies. The observation made by my tutors that took me aback though was,........'There is actually quite a bit of performance in the work being produced, is this work about you?' I had to agree that yes it was. The work indeed was as much about me as my original intention. I then began to understand the importance of this course to me. Overcome with emotion I realised that for the first time in too many years I had put myself and my needs before that of others.
After my meeting I went for a walk along the River Dee. It was a warm sunny day and as I meandered downstream I noted what I think where small dragon flies. Making my way back on Campus and mulling over my feedback I bumped into my personal tutor David Blyth. It was good to see him and discuss the meeting and to glean more wisdom before I headed homewards.
My tale of wisdom gathering however did not end there as I was then accosted by Fiona again and joined by her colleague and friend, the photographer Anne Campbell. Anne's specialisms include traditional and experimental darkroom processes. A quiet and modest woman whose talents she keeps understated. I took the opportunity to seek advice about some process or other and was taken aback when she said that she had liked the Polaroid image transfers that I had submitted for assessment earlier in the year. I remarked that although I liked the quality of them I was frustrated by the small scale of the pieces. She then went on to say that that was the quality that made them interesting......that you had to get closer to engage with them. An intimate encounter that you would not get with a large photograph. Her observation was another eye opener for me.
That evening my mind could not switch off and I did not manage to get to sleep till after 1am.
Lecture by Robert MacFarlane. One of the writers I was invited to investigate.