For my course submission I sent prints along with hard copies of the five assignment submissions. Below are the thoughts I included in a covering letter to the assessors which explain some of the feelings I have in completing the course. I felt a great sense of relief taking my box of prints to the post office, I have thought more than once that I would not complete DPP and in the end I am glad that I did. Some of the lessons I have learned are detailed below, only time will tell if I am able to use the self awareness I have gained going forward or slip back into old bad habits. All I can say is that today I feel positive and motivated to face future challenges head on, I will try to remember this when old doubts slip into my mind.
A note on completing the course:
I have found studying this course to be extremely challenging as it has coincided with me hitting a crossroad in my photographic development. As you will see from my assignment submissions, I have frequently been racked with self doubt and a feeling of being 'blocked' during the course. This affected me to such an extent that I strongly considered cutting my losses with the course and trying something different. I am pleased I managed to persevere and complete DPP and grateful that OCA extended my deadline so I was able to do this. Ironically, a tightly managed 6 week extension for the submission of each assignment really helped to focus my mind on producing work rather than worrying that I may fail. I found myself taking a great deal more risks than I would have normally, culminating in assignment 5 which was a huge leap of faith for me. I am grateful to my tutor Keith Roberts who encouraged me to take risks and push myself out of my comfort zone.
Unlike my previous course, The Art of Photography, I decided to keep an online blog for DPP. This was partly because I wanted to practice my writing skills - the act of publishing online for the world to see forced me to consider carefully what I was writing. Unfortunately, I found myself being extremely self critical and have only ended up publishing a selection of the notes I have made about further study. I have decided to keep these notes that I have not completed on my computer rather than spend an inordinate amount of time trying to formulate them into something I would be happy with. Unfortunately this means that my blog only contains a section of my further research. Hopefully the posts that are online will give you an idea of the type of reading and research I am doing.
My photographic motivations and influences have changed significantly during my time studying DPP; I am much less interested in technical perfection and have become more concerned with the multitude of ways photography can be used as visual communication and art. My focus now is in exploring as much visual art as I can through books, magazines and gallery visits - and not just confining myself to photography. I am keen to develop my critical thinking and study skills and the next course I have enrolled on is Understanding Visual Culture. The challenge for me with this course however is to keep taking photographs driven by personal projects rather than the course material. This ties in well with the main learning I have gained from DPP: I need to be self motivated and self sustaining in my photographic practice.
In summary, I have probably learned more about myself studying DPP than I have about photography and this has been a difficult yet ultimately rewarding. I understand better now what motivates me and I feel I am starting to head in the right direction: I have not yet found my voice but I have a clearer understanding of the direction I need to go to.