Assignment 2 – Tutor Feedback

I was rather anxious while waiting for my tutor’s feedback on my assignment 2. I had gone outside my comfort zone and chosen to do raw materials of food. (In retrospect, I should have stayed with my initial idea of doing landscape). While I enjoyed doing the assignment I couldn’t help but feel rather restricted in interpreting raw food in an arty way. I had looked at various food photographers and cooking books and tried to base my interpretations on that type of photography.

My tutor was rather critical and said that although my photographs do fulfill the design considerations of the brief they were very tame and reminded him of supermarket photography. He had, during assignment 1 feedback, told me to look at Laura Letinsky’s work and especially the way she makes use of planes. I did so, but obviously I did not have the correct understanding of “planes” and got it wrong in this assignment. I have now clarified this with my tutor and have a better understanding of this technique.

As far as the mood and the lighting of my photographs went, he said I made a fairly accomplished assignment.

Single Point

He liked the idea of placing the aubergine in a frame and creating a frame within a frame. The design was emphasized well with the light and dark areas.

Two Points

The second point is quite peripheral. He suggested placing the objects together like two people talking to each other. The light and dark areas work well in the composition, but the bright white background is competing with the star shape of the squash. He suggests that if the background is toned down a bit, the form of the squash would be more emphasized.

My response: I subsequently did a quick test on a copy of the image and found that the star is brought out more if the background is a tad grayer. So I will come back to this image at a later date.

A deliberate shape

There were too many points to make out the two intersecting triangles.

Verticals and Horizontals

The tutor said the composition of lines here was not perfect, the knife was half in and half out of the shot. He went on to say that “generally such rigorously straight verticals and horizontals would not be used in product photography as it reflects too readily the line of the frame and feels somewhat arbitrary and forced considering the subject.”

My response: my objective was to make photographs that did not look too contrived. The idea behind this photograph was that I wanted it to look as if I was busy in the kitchen chopping onions and had been interrupted and had to step away from the chopping board. In practice I do usually line beans, carrots, onions, etc up like this when dicing and slicing.


This was one of my more successful images.


My tutor commented on the fact that the curve was fading into background too much and thereby more emphasis was on the pattern of the watermelon than the curve.

Irregular Shapes

“You’ve combined way too many shapes here that are competing with each other.”  It seems that the colander and the cutting board were competing with the peppers and overwhelming their shapes. I should probably have used less props with this image and singled out one pepper.

Distinct shape

My tutor liked this image, but drew my attention to the fact that the light behind the fennel at top left was a bit too bright. I should have positioned the fennel so that the backlighting was more behind the fennel. The yellow cloth was also too bright and the knife was picking up a bright highlight.

My response: Point taken about the yellow cloth. In hindsight I do agree with that. I also take the point about the knife being a bit bright. However, it wasn’t clipping any highlights on my histogram and I had burned the blade quite a bit, but obviously not enough.

Implied Triangles

My tutor said that my beetroot image is more of a triangle than an implied triangle and that an implied triangle is three more or less equidistant points. (Yet the course material states on page 90 that “Basically, any three prominent points imply a triangle”.) My second photo is not an implied triangle at all as he says it doesn’t have three distinct points but many more that move in a circle.

My response: I tend to disagree with the last statement. I had taken the trouble to poll a few people when compiling my images and asked them to comment on what geometric shape they saw in the image and all saw a triangle. I will probably revisit these two images later.


The eggs were a good example of rhythm.


My tutor thought the image looked underexposed

I was advised not to research commercial photographers and take their work as a standard. I do have to admit there were hardly any journals on food photography in Jstor, so any suggestions where to find fine art food photographers would be very welcome.

My tutor remarked that my research looked good. He noticed that I had put up a couple of reviews of William Eggleston and Stephen Shore, but was concerned that I had not responded personally to Eggleston’s work. In my defence, my research on Eggleston is actually for assignment 3 and I had only commented on two documentaries that I had watched shortly after submitting assignment 2. I have yet to respond on his work, which I am planning on doing in more detail before assignment 3.