- Business Studies
- Child Development
- Design & Technology
- Film Studies
- Information Technology
- Media Studies
- Physical Education
- PSHE and Citizenship
- Religious Education
- Travel & Tourism
GCE AS and A2 Photography
“To me, photography is the art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.” - Elliot Erwitt
Start by asking yourself is this an interest, a hobby or are you a serious shutterbug?
Photography as a media opens a world of opportunities for you, in terms of creativity, education and careers. As an art form it is extremely productive, creative, technical and interesting. Photography has gripped humanity ever since its invention over 3 century’s ago. It is constantly evolving and responsible for many of the modern worlds iconic images. Students, who undertake this course, will be able to investigate this process of photographic evolution leading them to accessing, harnessing and analysing this exciting and dynamic subject. You will develop your ability to appreciate the visual world, becoming visually literate and creative. You will also acquire highly develop technical and ICT skills.
Photography can serve many purposes; to capture peoples memories, record history, evidence the ‘truth’ of an event, aid medical diagnosis and represent beauty. Photography is important because it’s a way to record a visual sense of every aspect of our lives and history. Photography is about telling stories and more importantly protecting memories. With a camera you can protect your memory of a scene, expose evidence, investigate, harness beauty and preserve a moment for eternity.
“I think a photography class should be a requirement in all educational programs because it makes you see the world rather than just look at it.” – Richard Avedon
The Photography department is well resourced and offers a wide range of photographic equipment from digital SLR’s to unique and retro analogue cameras. We have Adobe Photoshop on our Apple Macs in the large air-conditioned computer suite. These facilities will ensure you have access to up to date digital amenities at all times. We see our students as individuals with specific learning styles and particular agendas, our aim is to create a supportive and stimulating environment that will foster and facilitate their education in order to help them achieve the best possible outcome.
We offer you an advanced and comprehensive learning experience focused on and around the medium of photography. You will be actively engaged in developing your skills in a variety of processes, such as critical analysis, animation, digital imagery, image manipulation, darkroom practices, studio lighting and exhibiting.
The course is designed to encourage a creative interplay between practice and theory. You will consider and analyse photography in its historical, scientific and practical context, reviewing the work of photographers and photographic processes. This will lead to informed and relevant connections being made between the conceptual and your practical work.
We also actively encourage and organise study trips, having travelled in recent years to Venice, Paris and Barcelona, a plethora of galleries in London and to Twickenham to undertake sports photography work experience.
“You don’t take a photograph, you make it.” – Ansel Adams
Proficiency in digital and analogue recording skills, visual literacy, creativity and critical analysis are increasingly important in today’s world. This courses significance as a creative tool and technical knowledge base offers career value within the Art and Design world as well as commercial opportunities.
The main aim of the photography course in Art and Design is to develop your ability to appreciate the visual world, enhance your personal creativity, utilize technical and ICT based skills. You’ll study the following:
- Digital photography
- Analogue photography
- Darkroom Practice
- Image manipulation and graphics
- Multimedia techniques
- Critical analysis skills
- Photographic and Art History
- Exhibition and portfolio building skills
You will gain a working knowledge of materials, practices and technology within the discipline. Allowing you to develop your skills related to interpreting, recording, and conveying ideas succinctly. Vehicles for learning such as personal tuition, lectures, demonstrations, excursions, workshops, group activities, and peer mentoring are all part of the course. We seek to enhance your range of specialist vocabulary, and core skills. Studies on both digital and analogue photography (Black and White) will provide you with a board skills base. You can practice darkroom techniques, digital manipulation on Adobe Photoshop and much more!
“Buying a Nikon doesn’t make you a photographer. It makes you a Nikon owner.” – Tony Benn
AS Level Structure Unit 1: coursework – 60% AS GCE (30% of A2 GCE)
You will initially follow a structured foundation course to learn necessary practical, presentation and composition skills in order to build your confidence and knowledge. Support is given through direct teaching and one to one advice and tuition. This unit is intended to develop a student’s knowledge, skills base and understanding of visual language and pushes creativity.
You are encouraged to formulate ideas, carry out research, analyse, enquire and experiment with a wide range of photographic and imaging techniques. Within this unit it is essential that you learn and implement the skills to analyse your own work and work of others, from a contemporary, historical and cultural context. Students will be guided through this, through a programme of study that teaches practical, technical and theoretical skills. A written assignment of 500-700 is required and a 4 hour practical examination is taken in term 2.
Unit 2: externally set assignment – 40% AS GCE (20% of A2 GCE)
The externally set assignment includes an 8-hour practical examination spread over 2 days. This will enable you to demonstrate your knowledge, skills and understanding gained from your experiences in unit 1. You will be given guidance and instruction on how to explore the externally set assignments ‘theme’.
“There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.” – Ansel Adams
A2 Level Structure
During the A2 year you will expand on theory and practice developed in the AS level course, exploring and refining techniques further to meet the needs of your ideas. Pushing your work further into the realms of excellence and professionalism. Ultimately, building an effective and balanced portfolio of work that demonstrates technical skills, theory based knowledge and critical analysis. This portfolio may be used for interview at higher educational level, for securing external exhibitions or for entering industry at apprenticeship or employment level.
Unit 3: coursework – 30% of A2 GCE
This unit incorporates 2 linked elements:
a – Practical work
Practical work aims to provide the opportunity for you to pursue your own creative, visual ideas in photography. b – Personal study The Personal Study requires you to research, evaluate, analyse and establish links between your own work in this unit with that of historical and contemporary references. This takes the form of a 1500 word essay.
Unit 4: externally set assignment – 20% of A2 GCE
The externally set assignment includes a 12-hour practical examination spread over 2 days. This represents the culmination of the advanced Art and Design Photography course. You will be given guidance and instruction on how to explore the externally set assignments ‘theme’.
What qualifications will I need to take this course?
Ideally the best foundation for success in A-level Photography is a high grade at GCSE Art, Design, Media, ICT, Chemistry or Photography. However it is not necessary and many students whom have had no experience with the ‘Arts or Media’ have flourished on this course, but a minimum of 5 A*-C GCSE grades is required.
Who should take this course?
We want students who are keen to learn and have a strong aptitude and interest in the subject. They should have a lively creative approach to their work and display the desire to work independently with support and guidance from their teachers. Importantly, students should be able to listen to and act on advice to reach their full potential.
What post A-level opportunities does this course offer?
- Further study and higher education in photography, art, craft, graphics and design.
- Related study in fields such as media, film, journalism, ICT or television.
- Career opportunities in commercial and product design industry.
- Valuable asset to engineering, architecture, forensics, environmental studies, radiology and biology.
How will I be assessed?
You will be assessed formatively consistently throughout the academic year and summative at the end of each project. You will create an exhibition at the end of your studies of all your units work, essays and examination pieces; this will be assessed in accordance with Edexcel criteria.
“While there is perhaps a province in which the photograph can tell us nothing more than what we see with our own eyes, there is another in which it proves to us how little our eyes permit us to see.”- Dorothea Lange
Examples of students’ work can be seen using the menu on the top right of the page.
- Susan Conroy