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6 The impact of research > The bigger picture: Reflection - Pg. 144

L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L JJ4JJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJ L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L Photographers use research, in all its forms, to aid the development of a project. It is important for practitioners to evaluate and reflect on how their research has supported the progress of a body of work. When research goes unrecorded, its significance can be lost or reduced. By making time to be more aware of both the research process and its influences you have more scope to reflect on your working process and apply this knowledge to future work. Gaining perspective Reflection takes place through a process of monitoring and evaluation, producing distinctive information that can help you improve your photographic practice. It helps you to process new knowledge gained through making a body of work. Reflection allows you to stand back, putting distance between you and your work, and frequently increases your awareness of the impact of a body of work. When a photographer has been working intensely on a project, it is difficult to gauge its impact. By standing back, the creator is able to see the work from a fresh viewpoint. This is a vital way of gaining the perspective needed to enable discussion and dissemination of the ideas coming out of your work. Keeping a journal Objective reflection is difficult and does not necessarily occur spontaneously; conditions can be structured to encourage it to happen. Reflection is often most successful in the form of a personal journal that can be written without the anxiety of it becoming public information. The development, research and evaluation progress of a project can be tracked, recorded and reflected on. A personal journal is a `partner' in the creative process, in which the development of ideas is recorded and considered reflectively. The aim of reflection is to enhance critical thinking that will contribute to the creative process and ultimately add to the dissemination of innovative work that contributes to contemporary debate and new knowledge in the field. 144 The bigger picture: Reflection Recording and reflection Develop your awareness of how you are making your photographic projects by recording your research in detail. Try to record the ways in which certain aspects of your research have influenced the way you develop a project. Use these records to reflect on your work and help you expand what you do and how you research an idea. How have you changed and refined the way you work through the lifetime of the project and why?