This is a great first assignment. What I like most about it is that all of the students can learn something about both of your images, not just one of them. There have been a few examples in this lesson category where both pictures (i.e. the beauty and the beast) are good photographs.
It is a misconception that you need to “move in” and make your photograph a macro photograph to make it look interesting. Even though that is what most of the photographs in this section appear to try to accomplish, what they are in fact trying to accomplish is “simplification” and ‘control” over elements like color, line and shape.
However, you have that simplification and control in both of your photographs. Both photographs play with the circular shape, both play with color simplification and both have good composition.
What I’m getting at is that you were supposed to take 1 “beast” shot (i.e. ordinary and boring), but in fact, your beast shot is actually quite appealing because it incorporates many of the basic design qualities of a good photograph. I’m not sure if this was intentional or accidental.
My only concern over both photographs is the use of shadows in both photographs. In both bases there are relatively harsh shadows cast on the wall behind the candle decoration or caused by the wooden pillars. These shadows create objects in themselves and in my opinion take away (especially in the zoomed out photograph) from the otherwise great composition. You can fix these issues by using artificial lighting, waiting until other times of the day, choosing other objects on different angles or changing your own position to try to hide the shadows.