Subject Lead for Photography: Mr Graeme Henderson

Photography by Mr Graeme Henderson

Why study photography? A simple question but not surprisingly one that has a complex series of responses. In many ways the answer you get and the satisfaction you have with that answer is based on your expectation of both photography and the academic process.

Do you want to be a professional photographer who earns their living purely from photography? Do you want to further explore photography as part of a personal interest or hobby? Do you want to gain a qualification that will aid you in teaching photography? Do you want to progress your work an develop your practice under the tutelage of those you respect? All are realistic and common reasons to invest both time and money to join some form of educational establishment offering photography as an academic option. However, how many of those looking to study photography see it as an opportunity to learn a new language or expand their visual vocabulary. Exploring your artistic and creative side through the medium of photography is something that for me at least brings great pleasure.

Why Study Photography?

The aim of the A level Photography course is to encourage students to explore news ways of seeing the world using a wide variety of photographic techniques and processes. We introduce students to the history of photography, the work of important photographers and the variety of ways of making a photograph, with or without a camera. We want students to experience the magic of the darkroom as well as the wonders of digital processing when they are "drawing with light".

Course Description

You will be introduced to a variety of experiences exploring a range of photographic media, techniques, and processes. You will be made aware of both traditional and new technologies and you will explore relevant images, artefacts and resources relating to Photography and a wider range of art and design, from the past and from recent times, including European and non-European examples. This is integral to the investigating and making process. Your responses to these examples will be shown through practical and critical activities which demonstrate your understanding of different styles, genres, and traditions. You will be aware of the four assessment objectives to be demonstrated in the context of the content and skills presented and of the importance of process as well as product. You will keep a visual journal to document your work. You will use both traditional methods and digital techniques to produce images.

In February of Year 13 you will receive your examination question paper which you will use as the basis for your second unit of work in a 15-hour exam set over 2 or 3 days. The exam is approximately 8 weeks after receipt of the exam paper.

During your course you will be advised on how to build a portfolio of work suitable for entry to a one-year pre-degree Foundation Diploma course in Art and Design/photography or a university degree.

Beyond A level

The degree courses and careers associated with the Photography A level are substantial and varied. A selected list would include fine art, graphic designer, magazine features editor, medical illustrator, photographer, press photographer, television camera operator, advertising art director, digital marketer, film/video, editor, media planner, secondary school teacher, stylist, visual merchandiser, web content manager, web designer. Students are free to develop their own interests within this course.

Entry Requirements

The best foundation for success in Photography is a grade 6 minimum in Photography or Art and Design related course. However, this does not prevent interested students applying for the course provided if they can provide a portfolio of work reflecting their interest in the subject.

Technical Details
Exam Board WJEC
Qualification Type A Level
Course Title Photography
Specification Code  
  Number Duration Weighting of total A Level
External Exams (end of Year 13) 1 15hr (over 2 or 3 days) 40%