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2008-2009 Assignments Analysed - 1

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Although the assignment for 2009 will be different to last year's, there will still be a lot of similarities. With that in mind, I've gone through the 5 briefs that students could pick from in 2008, and detailed why we chose them, the traps we set, and what sort of approaches were successful (and not so successful). So without further ado, here's the first one:

1. The Music Magazine – Nearly New Music Express

The brief:

The influential jazz/folk artist Pat Armstrong is about to give a “Silver Jubilee” concert at the Royal Albert Hall, looking back over 25 years of their career. The magazine have secured an exclusive interview and need a series of portraits to illustrate it.

"hey, I can just get some mates to stand around near a scrapyard, and say they're a band - job done"


We knew this brief would be popular, as seeing the title "Music Magazine" in the preview information would have lead many people to think - "hey, I can just get some mates to stand around near a scrapyard, and say they're a band - job done". To stop people doing this, and make people think a bit more we threw in the "25 years" bit. Note that Pat Armstrong could be either Patrick or Patricia, it's up to you.

Successful Entries:

People who sourced someone who could feasibly have been playing music professionally for 25 years. This gave rise to some very interesting phone calls as people desperately called parents, uncles and other people of advanced years. Just what we wanted to see - demonstrating a bit of resourcefulness!

People who realised that the shot didn't have to scream "musician" if it was going to be published in a music magazine. You could make a fairly good assumption that the reader would at least have heard of Pat, so shots didn't have to feature them clutching a trombone, and it was quite refreshing to see entries that were just straight portraits.

People who shot extra details. It was great to see some shots of things like a whiskey glass on a guitar, an empty violin case and so on. Detail shots like that help to pad the piece out very well in the magazine.

Not So Successful Entries:

"...slapping a false beard on someone (you know who you are....)"

People who cheated with the subject. This includes slapping a false beard on someone (you know who you are....) or shooting several people when Pat Armstrong is fairly obviously 1 person. Or even, on one occasion, just not even bothering and shooting someone who couldn't have been older than 21.

Shots that didn't include a person at all. Seriously, we did get one of these - and it's taking the whole "the reader will know what they look like" theme a bit far!

Other Briefs: 1. Nearly New Musical Express; 2. The Day Before Monday Magazine; 3. The Economalist; 4. The Timely Educational Supplement; 5. The Draping Journal.


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