Reviewing Creative Work

1 How do Research and Body of Work streams interact?

In the Research element I will be looking at images of flowers produced over a century in Japan and the West. In my Body of Work I will be producing my own images of flowers that will be influenced by what I learn from the Research. The following mind map shows the linkages


The period 1830-1940 seems appropriate as it encompasses Orientalism, Japonisme and the invention and development of photography. The Research work will drive my Body of Work and the experience of producing my own images will also inform my Research. My Body of Work will also be influenced by the range of current threats that may affect the flora of the world.


2. Resources

I have identified a number of resources that will help with both the Research and Body of Work courses.

  • Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures – it has a school of study at the University of East Anglia and presents a monthly series of talks in Norwich.
  • The Lisa Sainsbury Library in Norwich is part of the Sainsbury Institute and holds books, journals, exhibition catalogues, slides, prints, maps and other materials relating to all aspects of Japanese arts and cultures. I have already visited the library.
  • Norwich University of the Arts has an extensive photography collection in its library and I have taken out external membership of the library.
  • The National Art Library at the Victoria and Albert Museum has a huge collection of art books. I have taken out membership of the library and have already visited.
  • The British Museum and the V&A both have print collections of Japanese Art and, at the V&A, photographs which are available to study. I am currently researching what is available.


3. What I would like to achieve

I want to develop skills in – creating ways of using different photographic techniques and media to produce compelling, thought provoking final work

I want to consolidate skills in – composing and lighting photographic images of flowers

I want to produce – work that is more than just an attractive image, that conveys a message

I want to promote my work to – myself, I want to be satisfied with the way that I have integrated the Research and Body of Work components.

I want to refine – my own personal voice in the work and images that I produce

I want to explore – work from different art forms and different parts of the world that can influence how I produce my own work

I want to prove that – study of different art forms from around the world can be of considerable benefit to how I approach my own work and that different aspects can be combined to produce a contemporary image

I want to involve – just myself – I want to challenge myself to think differently and produce a set of final images that are unique

I want to integrate – different techniques and media from my research into my everyday work



Part 1; Tutor Response to Exercises 1-3

I had an excellent discussion with my tutor about my research topic. She raised a number of issues with what I had originally proposed :

  • the need for evidence of what is being considered, particularly if I am stating that certain artists were influenced by other art forms (it needs much more than ‘it looks like it is influenced by’) . What does it actually mean to import something from another culture?
  • the need to narrow down the research topic (e.g. Japanese influence) and refine what is being looked at (e.g. perspective, space, colour, etc)
  • could consider a more cultural comparison rather than influences e.g. representation of flowers across cultures and could look at parallels and different times and contexts.

I found the discussion to be of enormous benefit – highlighting the pitfalls of the approach I was considering and pointing the way forward to a good research proposal.


Part 1; Exercises 1-3

This part of the course was unusual in that you undertake the first three exercises of the module and send them off to your tutor before getting too far into the topic chosen for research.

I thought that I was pretty clear on what I wanted to do for my research project and body of work – looking at ancient Chinese paintings and influence on the West, then producing a series of photos in response to what I had learned.

However, going through the different exercises left me a bit less clear. Was the subject too broad? Should I narrow it down to individual photographers?

I found that creating the mind maps helped a lot, trying to work out how the two themes of Art History and Photography would interact and how to keep the whole thing manageable.

A copy of my response to the exercises can be found here. I will have a video tutorial on my submission so I look  forward to getting feedback.