A Level Photography Lens-based and Light-based Media

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Entry Requirements

  • Six GCSEs 9-4, two from English, Maths OR Science
  • Two at least grade 6

Specific requirements for 3D Design, Graphics, Photography and Fashion & Textiles:

GCSE grade 9-4 in any art or design based subject is desirable. However, students who have a keen interest, but do not have an art or design related GCSE are also welcome to apply, in this instance a portfolio of work is required.

What is Photography?

This is a two-year qualification. Throughout the course, students will explore, research and acquire techniques and develop their skills, knowledge and understanding in a range of photographic media. Students will work toward particular themes, ideas or issues and are encouraged to be experimental, innovative and enquiring in their approach. The course enjoys very high achievement rates and the quality of the work produced has been recognised by external moderators. A recent report states that the students produce “high quality, exciting and lively work that is extremely personal, mature and travels beyond the normal expectations and boundaries of traditional photography”.

Opportunities to enter national competitions and exhibit work offsite are continually offered for which we have had much success in recent years. Students can also apply to undertake roles of responsibility in the department such as Subject Ambassador or become a member of the Art Collective.

Components

Component 1: Personal investigation (60% of a level)

Learners should produce two elements:

  1. A portfolio of practical work showing their personal response to either a starting point, brief, scenario or stimulus, devised and provided by the learner or centre.
  2. A related study: an extended response of a guided minimum of 1000 words.

Component 2: Externally Set Task (40% of total A Level)

Learners will respond to an externally set task which will provide a number of starting points. A response will be based on one of these options.

Skills

Throughout the course students will explore, research and acquire techniques and develop new skills, gain knowledge and understanding in a range of photographic media. Students will work toward particular themes, ideas or issues and are encouraged to be experimental, innovative and enquiring in their approach. As well as developing their creative talents, students also learn to problem-solve, think analytically and creatively. This subject encourages students to develop a deeper understanding and awareness of the world around them.

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Careers/destinations

This subject can lead into many jobs in the creative industries such as magazine editor, medical photographer, press photographer, television camera operator, advertising, digital marketing, film/video editor, multimedia special- ist, visual merchandiser, web content manager/web designer, graphic designer,picture researcher, freelance pho- tographer, photographic technician, portrait/wedding photographer to name a few.

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Photography

Do I need an art & design G.C.S.E to do this course?

No, we accept many students onto the course who have not studied an Art G.C.S.E subject. If you wish to be considered without an art G.C.S.E, you will need to provide a portfolio of work to enable us to assess whether or not you have the necessary skills. You can contact the department for details.

Do I need my own camera?

We provide everything you need to study this subject at A Level. We have a large number of digital SLR cameras, tripods and lenses for loan. There are two Apple Mac suites and a darkroom which students can use during lessons. Drop-in sessions are also available

What is covered on the course?

You will earn everything you need to complete the course successfully. The first year focuses on gaining essential skills and experiencing a variety of genres such as portraiture, location, still life, landscape and documentary photography. These are then applied in an increasingly independent way as you focus on a chosen area of study.

Is there an exam?

No, not in the traditional sense. You will complete a practical project called the externally set assignment that is based on a series of starting points provided by the exam board. You will then complete your final piece within a set 15-hour time frame.

Is there a lot of homework?

No more than any other A Level subject. However, you need to be aware that taking this subject can be time-consuming as the majority of your photographs will be taken for homework.

Is there a lot of writing?

No, this is predominantly a practical course. However, you will be expected to make notes about your work and there is a written research project which forms part of the Personal Investigation unit.

What careers can I go into?

Ultimately you can progress to a range of photography related careers such as fashion photography, journalism, social documentary, advertising and editorial. You may wish to enter a profession where a more fine-art approach is required such as teaching or delivering workshops. There are other areas of photography that have a more technical focus such as medical and forensic photography. Image-making technologies are progressing at a rapid pace and you may be interested in a profession that is related to developing these.

What can I study at H.E?

Photography will enable you to progress to most art-related degree courses. The UCAS points you get can be used to gain entry to the majority of degree course (but you should always check). We have had students from the department who have progressed onto a variety of degree courses at prestigious universities. These include Glasgow School of Art, Oxford and Cambridge.

What are the class sizes?

The class sizes are a maximum of 20.

Do you go on trips?

Yes! We frequently go out on shoots and visit galleries. There is a departmental trip abroad every year. We have been to Paris, New York, Berlin and Poland in the past. There are lots of extracurricular events within the department you can get involved with