Assignment 3: Critical essay

A pdf version of my essay can be found here.  Please note that all figures have been removed in order to protect the photographers’ copyright.

For assignment 3, I had to produce my first ‘critical essay’ for the OCA.  The assignment asked me to select one of four essay titles.  I chose the following: “Discuss how the conditions of the ‘post-photographic era’ relate to a particular area or institution of photography”.  Specifically, I decided to investigate how photojournalism has been affected.

Whilst I am no stranger to academic essay writing, all of my past experience has been in science rather arts subjects.  In the subject of geology (where I have the most experience), academic essays and publications are always written in the past passive tense, and brevity and precision are highly valued.  Overall, the writing style is far more formal than that of the photography literature that I have been reading recently.  It is therefore with a degree of trepidation, that I approached my first essay for the OCA.

As it turns out though, the fundamentals of essay writing (e.g., the research and planning) do not really change, whatever the subject.  I have attempted to infuse more of my ‘voice’ into my writing here (in order to make it more engaging), but otherwise, everything else remains the same.

With regards to the assessment criteria, I believe that I have met these as follows:

Demonstration of technical and visual skills: Well written essay.  Carefully structured and referenced.  Text is supported by use of appropriate illustrations.

Quality of outcome: Essay presents a clear and coherent argument.  It is well formatted and easy to follow.

Demonstration of creativity: Author’s voice is distinguishable.  An original opinion is expressed.

Context: Well researched essay.  Uses varied sources (books, websites, journals) not directly linked to the course materials.  Shows considerable independent research.

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