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A Level Photography

Photography is an ever expanding medium employed in many contexts including fashion, advertising, journalism, medicine, science and industry, art and design and as a leisure pastime. This course examines a diverse range of techniques, ideas and images relevant to the practice of photography. Students will have the opportunity to develop skills in traditional and new photographic technologies, through exploration of portraiture, landscape, still life, documentary, abstraction and experimental imagery, in the studio and on location. The course is intended for those who are interested in studying the principles, aesthetics and role of photography as a means of communicating ideas and information. Students are expected to demonstrate this through practical and critical/ contextual activities. Photography combines well with most other subjects from humanities, sciences and business management areas of study.

Entry Requirements

A minimum of five GCSEs at grades A*-C, including English Language and usually Mathematics. It is not a prerequisite of entry that students have studied the subject previously, but you must demonstrate a keen interest in photography along with other visual arts. Please bring a portfolio of your own images to your interview.

Course Content

The A level consists of three components of coursework which are internally assessed and externally moderated.

In components 1 and 2 you will be expected to produce a portfolio of images, through a number of set projects, demonstrating experimentation and the creative use of the medium. Critical and contextual studies together with other evidence of development will also need to be presented for assessment.

Component 3 is an Externally Set Assignment. Here you will be required to produce preparatory work in response to set questions, then develop ideas towards a self directed outcome.  You will need to create an informed and competent response within a controlled test environment.


How will I be taught?

You will study the history and theory of photography through workshops and assignments. In addition to participation in formal classes, you will also be expected to continue your studies and practice in your own time. Lessons comprise of demonstrations, discussions, practical assignments, study trips and visits to exhibitions. You will also be expected to keep a work journal for each of the units, in the form of sketchbooks. In these you will record evidence of the development of ideas including reference to the work of others. The work journal is also a vital tool in supporting and stimulating the artistic process and has a major role in the production and development of your photography, offering a context for exploration and discovery.

How will I be assessed?

Your work is assessed individually in tutorial sessions, group ‘crits’ and presentations and by formally assessed unit submissions. Final assessment is initially carried out by your lecturers, then verified/ moderated by an external moderator appointed by the examining board.

Will I need any extra equipment?

Access to both digital and film SLR cameras, while not being essential, is strongly recommended, particularly in the second year of the course. Students will be required to buy and keep sketch-books for written research, notes, diagrams, plans, sketches, ideas and work in progress. Writing materials are essential. An Art portfolio is a useful way of storing photographic prints; you may purchase one of these from the College Shop. Materials for mounting and presentation are also available from the shop.

What qualifications will I get?

Upon successful completion of the course, you will be awarded an A level in the subject studied.

What will it allow me to do in the future?

A good A Level pass in a range of subjects will assist you to progress to higher education or appropriate employment.

Course Information

Students will be given a small allocation of materials. Additional materials can be purchased from the College.

It should be appreciated that A level Photography is a demanding course and you will be required to dedicate a great deal of your time to keeping up with this programme. It is therefore recommended that you should avoid combining A level Photography with more than one other practically based art subject (e.g. Graphic Communication, 2D Art, Textiles, etc) in your overall programme as this may represent an unrealistic workload. It is also recommended that you should consider carefully when choosing Photography as a fourth subject for the same reasons.

If you are aged 19 or over on 31st August in the year you start your course you should contact Admissions as fees may apply for this course. Where fees apply you may be entitled to apply for the Advanced Learner Loan.

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Further Information


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