M3 Wk1: From here to there

Week 1: Reflection

Module 2 presented a number of difficulties for me largely as a result of the heavy work load and extracurricular commitments that surround the summer months.  My hope for Module 3 is that I will have the time to tackle the weekly assignments, webinars and course trappings on time – not least because I do not have the advantage of any holiday period in which to play catch-up.  Sadly, a newly introduced, restructured working day seems to overlook the need for any breaks in the day.  This would not be a significant problem if weekends were time off, but unfortunately in boarding education, the weekends are normal working days.

‘Alarmed’ does not come close to describing my feelings when I realised that the entirety of this university term and all the various deadlines, fall within the Michaelmas academic term of the school in which I teach.  Looking towards the end of the course and term, while writing 240+ end of term reports in the slack time around teaching, supervising and planning (a task clearly designed to test ones ability to work unhindered through prolonged sleep deprivation), I will also be fretting about the Oral Presentation – something that has thus far occupied me for more than a week of holiday each time I have produced one.  More worryingly, it looks as though the Sustainable Prospects course does not even allow a slight pause to accommodate assignments!

However, it is Monday of week 1, and I am in the process of completing much of the weekly expectations… just a day or two late.

I have enjoyed the opportunity this week to visit three of Oxford’s chapels, housed within New College; Mansfield College and Harris Manchester College.  This has provided me with many tens of hours worth of editing – in fact well over 150 hours worth, if I edit all of the stained glass windows that I have photographed.  The time it takes to produce just one edited image is a source for concern.  I do invest heavily into selecting, where possible, windows that require less complicated editing, and that editing is becoming ever more efficient, but one completed stained glass window still represents 20+ hours of editing.  Clearly time-management is of vital importance, but difficult to achieve when salaried work commitments in term time weigh in at around 60 hours per week.

Week 1 has been an interesting journey through the ideas of photographic employment.  I have no doubt that many will have listened to and read about the wealth of varied jobs that fall into the umbrella of photography, and realised that they currently do most of them unaided!  I have been described as a ‘control freak’ and a ‘perfectionist’ by those who routinely experience my photographic, reprographic and design work: I struggle to step away from any aspect of a project.  Clearly if I am to move into full time photography, it seems clear that I have to accept that I will only be one part of a process.  Perhaps it is time to rationalise what I currently do… difficult… I love the freedom of composition and image capturing; I enjoy the ‘chase’ of image editing and the satisfaction of a completed image; I quietly enjoy the appreciation by others of my work, and just occasionally I have the gratification of payment!

Time to Play:

Retrospectively, I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of taking a photograph each day.  There were a couple days when I rather forgot, but the results seem fine and the annotations resulted in a narrative that painted a rough picture of my working life.

Looking Back:

I suspect that there is little by way of reflection that I can add to the a piece that is in itself a reflection, although I am rather sorry and surprised that a piece of work from the ‘break’ cannot be included in the Module 3 Work in Progress Portfolio.

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