Head of Department: Ms A Ramwell
“Photography is the only language that can be understood anywhere in the world”This statement drives home the power of Photography and the importance to understand this art form.
Key Stage 4
60% Portfolio, 40% Exam
The students undertake a Portfolio of work that makes up 60% of their final grade. This is completed over the majority of the course in years 9, 10 and half of 11. The exam is worth the remainder at 40% and is released to the students after Christmas when they are in year 11. The exam board specifies the date and provides each student with a question booklet, which contains a series of topics of which the students choose one to study for their exam.
Throughout the 3-year course students are shown the basics of photography from composition of an image, shooting on location and in a studio with lighting and how to work a camera set on manual. As they develop in skill level, more advanced skills such as fast and slow shutter speed, depth of field and shooting with the sole purpose to create fantasy and unrealistic images are taught. The latter requires prior thinking and sketching of ideas in order for the shoot to be successful enough to then be edited in postproduction.
Students are shown a range of photographers from a variety of genres in order to influence them as they develop final images to answer the unit and exam topics. Students are also encouraged to discover their own photographers that support their journey through the Unit. We are very keen as a department to encourage independent thinking and this is something that will be expected from each student.
Students are shown right from the first week how to use Photoshop. You don’t need to have prior knowledge of this, as we will be starting from the beginning. We will start with the basics, which include, making a template with a boarder, adding an image and text to a document, changing images into black and white, colour cropping and plenty of other more basic Photoshop skills. Students will then be shown a variety of manipulation skills and steps to take in order to alter the appearance of images.
Students will be challenged to present their work in an imaginative and thoughtful manner, highlighting the importance of looking after and being proud of their work. This is something we value not only as a department but also across the whole College.
Key Stage 5
60% Portfolio, 40% Exam
Key stage 5 also has a break down of 60% portfolio and 40% exam. This is completed over the 2 year the students are with us.
As the students are generally coming to KS5 photography after completing a GCSE in the subject, the skills needed to be successful photographers are already there. You would have chosen A-level Photography because you enjoy the whole process.
The first year of the course will be a set topic chosen by the staff. This changes each year so the resources found are as up to date as possible. You are expected to self motivate yourself and to develop your project based around weekly set projects and teacher meetings that will help and guide you through this first year without being too restrictive on how you want to answer the topic. The whole purpose of this year is to move you from GCSE student to A-level and potentially a degree student.
During the second year of the course you are asked to choose an area of focus. This will be personal to you and will require you to think outside of the box, be imaginative and thoughtful. By this point you will have completed a whole GCSE and 1 year of A-level in the subject so the main skills and understanding of what is required is already there. From structured meetings with the teacher through to challenging tasks set each week, you will be guided through this independent area of focus.
You will leave the College with a thorough Portfolio of sketchbooks and images ready for any interview you may need to attend if you choose to take that route.