Evaluation of my Performance

Yesterday I had my final presentation. overall, I can say that it went well. I tried to give as much information as possible in order to make sure that I have included everything that was required. I also tried to stick closely to the mark scheme and follow all assessment criteria. I think that I was able to present to my tutors my product (magazine) professionally. The fact that there were no questions from my tutors, proves that my presentation was clear enough to them.

Have my objectives been met?

Overall, I am happy with my final product. I met my aim and all my objectives. I created a high quality online photography magazine for the specific target audience.

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What problems have I encountered?

The most difficult thing for me was to decide what I really want to do for my final project, and what I can potentially do with what I have ( budget, knowledge, experience, equipment, time). Speaking about time management, at the moment 99% of work done. I only need to tick the final stages of the project, such as ” to upload the Gantt chart to X-stream”. The overall “cost” of my project is  2 588,02 pounds. That includes my “salary”, which is 6, 31 p. per hour, it also “includes” all travel expenses and total costs of all props, which I have used for the photo shoots.

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In average, I used 30% of my time on this project. Here is evidence that I have set baseline every week. That enabled me to track my progress. Nevertheless, as you can see from the screen shot below, almost in every phase there was a slippage. That means that in order to complete some of my tasks I needed much more time than I was initially planning. Firstly, that happened because I didn’t think over some very important details at the very beginning. Secondly, there were some moments when I needed to rearrange some of my tasks. Also, I wasn’t able to update my project plan when I was on holidays. And, finally, the fact that the deadline for the final presentation has been changed also caused some delays.

The most critical phases of my project,  could potentially affect the project finish date. Fortunately, my project plan initially assumed that the final date for the presentation would the 5th of May. So, the fact that this presentation has been changed, didn’t affect the finish date. My mistake was that I have allocated myself a lot work to do during holidays, and in fact I wasn’t able to do everything that I was planning due to the personal reasons. That experience helped me to understand the importance of doing each task in time in order to avoid any delays.

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What have I learned ?

My personal goal was to improve my photography, design and photo editing skills during this project. I can say that I have definitely improved all these skills. Particularly, I learned all important basics in Photoshop and some complicated techniques, such as working with layer mask and many others. I improved some very necessary skills for my future career or job, such as planning, problem solving, organisational and personal development skills. I also used my knowledge, which I have learned during this semester, when my group was designing posters for the exhibition. Three years ago, I knew nothing about Photoshop, DSLR camera and graphic design, but now I think there is a huge progress in this field.

What would I do differently

This project is very personal, but I think that it would be better to include someone else’s photographs as well in order to diverse the content of my magazine and make it more professional. As for me,  it looks a bit ridiculous, because there is only my name everywhere as I am the only author of the photographs. Nevertheless, as I have mentioned before, it is a special edition and this issue is  like a promo of the future “product”. Also, if I had a chance to do this project again, I would use more professional macro lens for one of my photo shoot, because I am not happy with the quality of the lens, which I used. Generally speaking, I am pleased with this module. It was a chance for my to do what I really want to improve and to practise in future.


Reflective Journal Week Fourteen

I have just finished my magazine. Below you can see some screenshots of the magazine layout and design. The full magazine can be seen here: http://shoommag.tk/ or alternatively here: http://issuu.com/anastasija123/docs/shoom_issuu. The design of the official website is minimalistic, so nothing distracts the viewer from the content.
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There you can see an “about” page, “contact” and “contribute” pages, where everyone who wants to be published in a new issue of SHOOM magazine, can send me his artworks. So, according to this, the magazine potentially has a future and a certain commercial value as well.

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By pressing at the image, the viewer automatically gets to the Issuu site. I decided not to upload the magazine in PDF format, as I was planning before, because I think that it is much more comfortable to view the magazine from the Issuu website. So, in general, the concept of the magazine is to expand all existing photographic boundaries and present to the reader the possibilities created by digital technology. In other words, this magazine is created to showcase the works of emerging photographers and graphic designers who are passionate about digital art and Photoshop. This issue is a special one; it doesn’t have a strict theme, as I simply wanted to show the varied photographs on different topics, which are important for me at the moment

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Information & contents page

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First of all I created a series of digital photo collages, using my own photographs. I can say that I have never done something similar like that, and I have found the process of creating these collages very interesting as it offered me quite a lot of artistic freedom.

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The next section of the magazine is very philosophical. Here is a series of surreal photographs, called “The problem of the soul of modern man”. In order get the message of the photographs across to readers, there is a short article, which is a mix of my thoughts, reflections and gonzo journalism. So, basically each article in this magazine is like a preface or introduction to each set of photographs. So, the aim of this photo shoot was to show a business-like man in unusual for him place and doing unreal things, like levitation. In all pictures it is impossible to see the men’s face, because he represents a modern man. So, he is a generalised character, who strives for freedom and closeness to nature. He has lost his individuality in a world full of rules and wants to find a harmony and a way out of the daily routine.

 

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Next is a series of my self-portraits, where I became a very very small. Here is an article, which is called the “premature aging virus”. By referring to memories from my childhood, I discussed the importance of having a “young soul”.

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And the final section of the magazine is about “digitisation” and the influence of modern day technology on society. I took some photographs of my hometown in Latvia as I wanted to capture the spirit of old times. Despite the fact that my country is a part of the European Union since 2004, I believe that there is still something left from the Soviet Union. My aim was to create a contrast between old and new. I have added glitch and VHS effect to all my images as I wanted to show my town through the prism of a computer game. I think that this approach shows a collision of real and digital worlds, which we all are experiencing now.

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Back cover

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It’s not a secret that there are a lot of similar publications on the Internet. As for me, many of them look the same, because of the style of the images. So, what differ my magazine from the rest? The main difference is that my magazine mostly showcases images, which are visually appealing with the help of photo editing software. So, basically, it is a platform for digital art and other inspiring Photoshop masterpieces. I analysed Twitter and Facebook accounts of some of the similar publications, in order to identify their audience, because there is no such a thing as media kit on the Internet. Based on this analysis, I had a clear picture of my target audience, and the target audience of my magazine is emerging young photographers, general photography enthusiasts and other visual arts professionals from around the world.

According to all these characteristics of the average reader, I assumed that the audience would like to see a great amount of high-quality photographs.  One of the main functions of my magazine is to serve for inspiration, so I believe that everything that I have put in the magazine is appropriate for my chosen target audience.


Reflective Journal Week Thirteen

This week I tried to do as much as I can in order to finish my magazine. First of all I did the front cover. I am the person who like a minimalistic black and white style in design. This style looks very elegant for me. I do not like too busy layout in a magazine, because for me it looks like a mess. Taking everything into account, I haven’t been thinking a lot about the design of my magazine. I have my own style and I would like to keep it in all my works. So, here is the final variant of my front cover. I think I have chosen the right image for the cover, because this photo collage can instantly grab reader’s attention. Overall, I believe that the cover looks professional; the composition looks right, the colors also match each other. The cover also clearly demonstrates my graphic design skills. It is also necessary to mention, that I have never in my life learned anything from graphic design.

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Next week I have the exhibition, which is a part of my degree, and a deadline for the extended essay module. Due to this, I did not finish my writing part for the magazine despite the fact that all my articles are short. I do not enjoy writing as much as I enjoy photography, so I only did one article so far. Unfortunately, we all try to leave the things that we do not like for the last moment.As I have mentioned before, I am going to write three different articles in gonzo journalism style in order to accompany my photographs. To be honest. I have never heard about gonzo journalism before. We spoke about this style of journalism only once this year. In order to better know the special aspects of this style I did a research in Google.In gonzo journalism, a journalist is free to participate in events and circumstances which may be considered newsworthy. A journalist usually discards objectivity when he does gonzo reporting. A personal experience is the essential elements of gonzo journalism. Based on all my findings, I am going to write subjective short articles, where I will express my own thoughts about certain issues. The style of my articles will be a mix of my personal thoughts, reflections and gonzo journalism. Each article will be like a preface or introduction to each set of photographs.


Reflective Journal Week Twelve

I am now a bit behind of my project plan. During my holiday my main task was to take photographs and I didn’t have enough time to do my writing side of the project. Nevertheless, the fact that the deadline for the final project has been rescheduled is lifesaving. I belive that there is enough time for me to finish my magazine in time. However, I need to be very careful in future in order to avoid stressful situations. It would be much better, if I did as much work as I can before holidays. I can say that for me there was not enough time to do anything else for my studies except taking pictures. So, here is a slideshow of all images that I am going to use for my last section of the magazine.

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As I have planned before, I took some photographs of my hometown Daugavpils. Despite the fact that my country is a part of the European Union since 2004, I believe that there is still something left from the Soviet Union. By taking pictures of my hometown, I wanted to capture the spirit of old times My aim was to create a contrast between old and new. In order to achieve this goal, I have added glitch and VHS effect to all my images. I also played around with anaglyph and hariss shutter effects. Below you can see the original photographs that I used for my final section in the magazine about “digitisation”.

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Personally I can say that I like the final results, because I believe that all my images are very eye-catching. It was also a very useful experience. I tried to look at my hometown differently. I really love travel photography and this is a kind of photography I would like to practice in future. According to this, a walk with my camera in my hometown was also a great photography excercise, because I tried to find interesting angles of the buildings, which I have seen many times in my life.


Reflective Journal Week Eleven

My next photo shoot is a series of seven autoportraits where I put myself in “miniature world”. My intention was to create a dreamy and fairy atmosphere. I did a series of macro photographs and combined them with photos of myself.

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At first glance it seems easy, but I really did a lot of correction in Photoshop. At the very beginning the most tricky moment was to extract myself from the background. Due to the fact that I took pictures of myself using a timer on my camera, my photographs were not sharp and a bit blurry. In all cases it was impossible to select myself using standard selection tools in Photoshop. In order to fix that problem, I have applied all my knowledge about layer mask (I have learned how to work with it from my previous photo shoot). Fortunately, I was able to do what I was planning. I also did a colour correction and cross-processing in order to match colours and create more realistic pictures.

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The second tricky moment for me was to make realistic shadows. Each photograph required its own method. Just because I have got no experience in creating shadows, I am not fully satisfied with some of my photographs. Nevertheless, I like my photographs, especially I like how I did a colour correction and added flecks of sunlight. What I don’t like is the quality of my macro photographs. They do not look sharp enough, but that is not my fault. My 18-138 mm lens is not suitable for macro photography, and because of that it is not a surprise that I have got so blurry images. If I had a macro lens, my photographs would look more realistic. There would be no contrast between myself and the background. Nevertheless, I belive that my images look good for web, and I also really enjoyed the post-editing process, because that gives me a lot of artistic freedom.


Reflective Journal Week Ten

This week I did a photo shoot called “The problem of the soul of modern man”. I am going to upload the edited photographs later, when they will be ready. The idea of the photo shoot was to show the model in a suit and a bowler hat (that is a symbol, which represents every man) in an unusual for the model place. I tried to make my pictures to look surreal. To achieve this I combined two pictures together in Photoshop to create levitation effect.

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As a result of post-processing I was able to get mystical and magical pictures. Overall, I am happy with the results, despite the fact that it took longer than expected to take all necessary photographs. It was quite tricky to hold a camera in one position because my tripod was broken. I also reduced the amount of photographs in this photo shoot because I didn’t have enough equipment and props for some of my previous ideas. I understood that it is quite difficult to take construction photographs alone. Normally, all professional photographers work with assistants. Nevertheless, I brought my photo shoot idea to life. Moreover, I improved my skills in Photoshop as well, I understood how to work with layers masks.

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I have added a “light” in every photograph in order to make my pictures more anonymous. My aim was to make my model unrecognisable, because this photo shoot is not about personality. This “light” also made my pictures to look more dynamic and interesting. Overall, I think that everything went smoothly., but if I needed to do this photo shoot again, I would probably buy some more props. If I had a step-ladder,for instance, it would be much easier for my model to take different unusual poses. Nevertheless, I did everything that I could do with what I had.


Reflective Journal Week Nine

Today I had my last formal lecture on Project Implementation module before the final presentation week. The good news is that the actual deadline has moved, so I will have my presentation in week after. That means that I will have more time to finish my magazine and prepare for the presentation itself. All changes will also affect my project plan. I need to change the final date in my Gantt chart, so there obviously will be slippage.

Today we also were given some advice regarding all final stages of our module. Our course leader prepared a very helpful guide through the assessment criteria. Personally, I belive it would be much more helpful, if we received this guide earlier in this semester. Before today’s lecture I didn’t know for sure what our tutors are expecting to see from the final presentation. I am also worry about some criteria, such as ” Student should demonstrate excellent journalistic enterprise and skill“. I think that this criteria isn’t relevant to my project, because I am more a photographer than journalist, and I am not going to include in my project any interviews for instance. So, I do not know how my tutor are going to judge me. As I have mentioned before, If we were given such a detailed guide in the beginning of the semester, I would probably change my project a bit in order to demonstrate my journalistic skills.

Next, I also need to think about my audience and show some examples of similar publications. That should convince my tutors that my magazine have “Excellent potential for professional publication“. Fortunately, I did demographics research and I have an idea of the future of my magazine. By analysing similar publications I can show that my magazine is relevant to my chosen editorial market. I really hope that I will get maximum points for the following criteria: “Editorial content shows exceptional creative and technical standard of photography“. This assessment criteria is very important to me because that is what my magazine is about. So tomorrow I am going on holiday, and during three weeks I need to take the rest photographs for my magazine.