What is Photography A level about?
Photography is a popular subject at A Level, with many students attracted to the combination of technical instruction and creative freedom it offers.
If you choose to study Photography, you'll have considerable scope in choosing and pursuing your own projects. As a result, the work of our students – and the Department's expertise – is diverse. The course aims to develop understanding of a wide range of photographic approaches.
Whether you're interested in digital photography, traditional SLR work or film-making, you'll receive expert support and tuition.
What does the course consist of?
During your AS course, you'll begin by focusing on documentary work. Based in a studio environment, you'll learn to work with controlled lighting, as well as carrying out some experimental work.
Unit 1 of the AS combines practical work with an investigation into the work of established photographers. There is an emphasis on research – but also on experimentation. Unit 2 is a timed exam.
The A2 course allows you further scope to specialise. Increasingly, you'll focus on the quality of your final prints, honing the skills and knowledge you've acquired over the course of the AS.
Similarly to Unit 1 of the AS, Unit 3 combines practical work with research into and study of other photographers' work. However, the emphasis is on the final prints. Unit 4, again, is a timed exam.
Throughout the duration of the course, you'll make regular location visits to take photographs, as well as visiting exhibitions in Oxford and London to see, analyse and discuss original prints at first hand.
Whom does the subject suit?
You don't need to have any previous experience of photography – but a strong interest in the subject is essential. You will need to work hard to develop technical skills, and spend time researching projects, alongside the more practical elements of the course.
What are the facilities like?
The research aspects of the course are supported by an extensive library of photography books and journals – as well as access to computers via which to carry out online research.
The Photography Department is equipped with very good IT and printing facilities for digital photo development and manipulation, as well as a traditional darkroom for black and white film processing and printing.
Who will teach me?
The course is taught by Laurence Waters, a very experienced photographer and teacher.
He is assisted by Nick Reeves, who teaches contextual aspects of the AS and A2 courses and Sharon Wyper an artist who uses photography and film extensively in her own work.
What might the subject lead onto?
Many of our students have gone on to study photography, film and animation at universities and colleges in the UK and abroad: in recent years, students have been offered places on Photography degree courses at Farnham, Nottingham Trent, Manchester and Middlesex. Others have used work from their AS and A2 photography portfolios in their applications to leading art and/or design foundation courses.