MA – Positions & Practice final reflection

MA – Positions & Practice final reflection

In June 2019 I started my MA with Falmouth university as part of an accredited education programme with Falmouth university.


I am writing this very late in the day ! We’ve handed in our final work in progress and research project proposals for the positions and practice module, had our marks and feedback, and had a few weeks break, and we are now back and at the end of week 1 of sustainable prospects.

I worked so hard on the RPP and WIP that I had no time to keep updating the CRJ, something that I will definitely need to be on top of for the next module as it becomes part of our grades, it’s so frustrating as well as I had been doing so brilliantly at keeping it updated with my work and progress. BUT, on to the good stuff, it was definitely worth the radio silence,  as I am so happy with the grades I got in my first module. I ended up with a merit overall , with the RPP and the OP being a merit, and my work in progress being a distinction.

I by far found the culling of my images for my work in progress the hardest of all the things we had done on the MA so far. Having to loose images that I felt so passionately about , and that I felt told the story of what I was trying to portray was exceptionally hard. I had a lot of back and forth with tutors over how I was presenting my images. There was some discussion over whether I should infact be presenting my images in colour rather than black and white. Some of them were in colour, as I preferred them in colour, and when I took those images, I envisaged them in colour , but the vast majority of the images that I take , and certainly that I took last module were taken in my head at the time as black and white images, I find black and white keeps the image about the emotion, about the nontangiable things in an image, and for me the philosophy that I am trying to capture is an abstract idea, ‘the intangible’ so to present in colour would of not only altered the image, but the concept of what I was trying to capture.

Whilst I understand an appreciate the reasoning behind the comments, (there was discussion about the black and white images being too nostalgic and over aestheticising), I felt that had I converted these images to colour they would have become totally different images. It wouldn’t of been replacing the image for the same image in a different ‘tone’, to me, it would of been submitting a totally different set of final images hd they been in colour.

Something did have to be done about the missing of the two though, so in the end I decided to remove all the colour photographs (which was especially painful as a couple of my favourite images were in colour) , I then converted a couple of the colour images that I felt didn’t loose anything by being converted into black and white, and thenI kept the rest as they were originally taken, as black and white images. The results were that I ended up with a much more cohesive set of images that told a very definitive narrative. Going forward this has means that I will be much aware of this when I am shooting, and will be aiming to experiment with more colour photography as well. I may not end up using the colour images for my final project, but I am being encouraged to experiment more with the aesthetics in my work, and this is one way that I can do that.

I had also been advised to remove all my titles for the WIP images , as they weren’t needed, and I should allow the images to speak for themselves. I found this really confusing, as when we were in Arles it was proposed that although the educational value of the images could be discussed, that on the surface the images’just looked like playing . I found this very hard to hear, as , as home educators we have to listen to this a lot, by our friends and family who don’t get it, and by the media and pretty much society at large. Trying to stay neutral about something you feel so strongly about is hard, but the question was, how on earth do you portray the educational value in something, when the potential audience you are exhibiting too may not be able to see it, may not believe in it, indeed the very idea of learning through play or everyday life is an alien concept to a lot of people, especially past toddler age, when society teaches us, we need to be taught in order to learn. The mere fact I am trying to visually represent a philosophy or ideology, and not an concrete thing, (to say nothing of this philosophy being different for every purveyor of it) I am doing myself no favours in making it easy on myself !

I decided that the easiest way to do this was through single word titles which discussed the educational value of the image it went with. However, when I attended the next face to face event in Bristol, this was deemed too crude a solution to the problem. Which, I have to say, I totally agreed with, I would much prefer to not use the titles, as I don’t believe they are a necessity , but that they were born out of what I perceived to be a lack of understanding, but that was, I think instead, a lack of clear direction in my edit of my work that made the intention of the images clear.

In the end I put a small introduction to my work, and explained the concept behind my curating and pairing of my images. Something that had actually taken me by surprise when I discovered it.  Upon editing the images it became apparent to me that I had been during the curation process, bringing together, personifications of the feelings and emotions I experienced along the journey of home educating our children. Which can simultaneously feel like you are part of a world wide connected community with shared philosophical views, whist paradoxically feeling inordinately & engulfingly alone. I had been subconsciously photographing flip sides of a coin if you will.

Images like “trust” showing the sheer terror of taking the leap into home education and how you give yourself over to that leap fully, and “Risk” showing that that is, in fact, how we all grow and learn, from the children receiving the education, to the parents facilitating it. The images showing both the pedagogy & psychology of home education. The feeling of being stuck “between two worlds” of feeling both buoyant “gravity” & “grounded” at the same time. Ending with “Disolved” an image conveying Brights dissolving of the mother’ (Bright 2013 :23) and the dissolving of myself into both my children’s education, and our family into this body of work.









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