Photography A-level students complete AQA Photography A-level. This comprises of two units of work: Coursework which is broken into several individual topics together making up 60% of the final grade and the Exam unit worth 40% of the final grade.
The students are required to write an Extended Contextual Essay of between 1000-3000 words as part of the coursework unit which discusses the influences and critical understanding of photographers they have studied during their independent projects.
Photography is a popular A-Level choice which is respected by all universities because it gives you the knowledge and skills necessary for higher education and which are also useful in any career. Students who specialise in Photography can go onto career paths like Journalism, Advertising, Media Production, Fashion and design industries or Animation.
Throughout the A Level course, students are guided through a set topic of exploration to enhance their skill set as they progress to their final personal projects.
Topic 1: Techniques, Artists and Genres Project.
This is an introductory Unit exploring different materials and processes whilst building students skills in a range of media and developing knowledge of artists and starting points. The aim of this unit is to develop individual skills and establish students core areas of interest and strengths.
Topic 2: Personal projects
Students begin Personal Projects in January of year 12 and students will choose their own topic title and areas of focus relating to their own interests and abilities. They will explore their chosen theme at length and develop their ideas during the remaining time in year 12 as they build a body of work to support this investigation. Students are required to write a 1000-3000 words contextual essay to support their personal project.
Students continue their personal project during in year 13 and this must be completed with final outcomes produced by the end of January when their external exam unit begins.
The A Level exam is 15 hours long and is spread over 3 days. Students are required to prepare a project of development work prior to the examination day and then produce final pieces in the exam. Papers are issued to students on the 1st February in Year 13 and students are given a 6 week preparatory period before the examination.
Why You Should Consider This Course
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW OR BE ABLE TO DO BEFORE TAKING THIS COURSE?
Students choosing this course should be able to develop ideas visually and show commitment and energy. You should be able to meet deadlines for coursework and be able to organise and present your ideas in work journals. A passion for Photography is essential. In addition to the organised trips students are required to attend Photography Exhibitions and complete photoshoots outside of school at suitable locations to meet the requirements of their projects.
WHO IS SUITABLE FOR THIS COURSE?
This course is suitable for students who are:
• keen to develop their visual skills
• creative, enthusiastic and imaginative
• able to sustain an investigation
• able to enjoy visits to galleries, museums, workshops and studios
• willing to experiment and take risks in their work
• willing to review their progress and make improvements
WHAT COULD I DO WITH A QUALIFICATION IN THIS SUBJECT?
There are a large selection of Photographic based careers including:
Journalism, Digital marketing, Media planning, Stylist, Visual Effects artist, Press and Television photographer, medical photography, Film / video Editor and graphic design.
The three most commonly asked questions about this course are:
HOW MUCH WORK IS INVOLVED?
You will need to produce a coursework folder together with final pieces for each unit. Coursework requires the writing of an essay 1,000-3,000 words.
What type of work will we be able to do?
The range of material within Photography is quite broad and include practical methods such as traditional darkroom-based work for example processing film and enlarging prints and also digital photography using related software to edit imagery and also studio-based skills such as lighting and props.
HOW MUCH INDEPENDENT WORK IS EXPECTED?
The course gradually increases the level of independence expected from a student. You will always be supported and guided. A high degree of independence is required in students personal projects which assess your ability to use the learning gained over the two years of the course.