Overview

What is this subject about?

Photography is an exciting contemporary medium, and one that surrounds us all. Photography at Esher College will develop your camera skills, teach you how to use our professional studio, encourage you to learn up-to-the-minute Photoshop techniques, and raise your awareness of the visual world that is ever evolving.

What will I study in the first year?

During your first year we will build up your essential camera and studio skills which we link to Photoshop and darkroom techniques. You will be encouraged to explore the wide variety of photographic areas, from fashion to music and landscape to advertising. The outcome of your projects will be presented as final piece images accompanied by sketchbooks containing a documentation of your creative journey in a written and visual format. These will be the result of in-depth study of a variety of photographers and artists. Challenge, reward, discovery and hard work are all part of your first Photography year.

What will I study in the second year?

During your second year you will further explore and refine the skills you have learnt in the first year. With one-to-one guidance from your teachers and regular peer assessment sessions, your own ideas will be nurtured and allowed to blossom. We will look more closely at the relationship between film, pop videos and photography. Contemporary issues in Photography, such as airbrushing in magazines and the role of photojournalism in today's culture, will also be studied. You will be taught how to promote your work and build your own photography blog. Your practical photography will be accompanied by an in-depth written study of an area of photography that interests you, and is relevant to your work at that time.

How is the course assessed?

The coursework is 50% and there is a 15 hour timed exam (50%).

What skills will I need and develop in this course?

You should possess a desire to explore Photography in and out of class, to deepen your knowledge by shooting on a weekly basis, and commitment to a subject where organisational skills and hard work are rewarded by being able to watch your creative ideas take shape and your photographic skills improve. Photography A Level will teach you how to use and appreciate the technicalities and aesthetics of much of the photography that surrounds you in your everyday life.

Careers

​What can the course lead to in terms of higher education and future careers?

Photography is a popular choice at university and some students study a Foundation in Art or Photography before progressing to a creative degree, but many go straight from A Level onto a degree course. Gone are the days where you study Photography, and naturally go on to be a photographer, though that is still an option for a great number of Photography graduates. There is now a diverse range of careers that will be open to a Photographic graduate, from film making and advertising to a career in design or journalism. In 2015, seven A Level Photography students gained a place at Bournemouth Arts University, Bournemouth being one of the best places in the UK to study Photography.

Entry Requirements

​What are the formal entry requirements for this course?

Aside from the College's general entry requirements, evidence of real commitment to this subject is essential. We require a C grade or above in GCSE Art, Media, Resistant Materials, Textiles or Art & Design. Good grades in essay-based subjects are key for success in second year units.

Extra Support

​What extra support / enrichment activities are on offer?

Throughout the year visiting professional Photographers will come into the College. We will also visit galleries and there will be a variety of after College workshop, such as studio lighting and darkroom skills. Students will visit end-of-year degree shows at universities and there will be an end-of-year prize-giving event and exhibition. There is also a residential Photography trip.

Subject combination advice

​Subject combination advice:

Art, Fashion, 3D Design, Graphic Communication, Media, Film Studies, Maths and English all offer a range of progression routes.