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Photography

Photography students experience an innovative course that stimulates creativity and provides challenge. They are given the freedom to express their own thoughts and opinions through the powerful visual medium of lens based media. Students develop photo literacy through discussions and debates about photographers and their work. They extend their knowledge of the subject through inquisitive questioning and challenging assumptions. Students are encouraged to collaborate together sharing ideas and building on skills. The photography department is a place for taking creative risks and experimenting with ideas.

Teachers work alongside students to model the process of thinking and working like a photographer. The equipment in the studio is outstanding; all students use iMacs to edit their work using Photoshop. They all build their own website to showcase their work. There are plenty of digital SLR cameras for students to use and professional studio equipment. Regular written and verbal feedback allows a conversation to develop between teacher and student. Photography uses an online interactive feedback system where students are encouraged to act on feedback and track their own learning.

To keep up to date with the constantly evolving technology and trends in photography students are introduced to the work of traditional and contemporary photographers through trips to and workshops at, some of London’s best galleries and museums.  The department adopts a range of strategies to deliver the curriculum.  These include:

  • Observation of teacher-led demonstrations,  discussion/critiques of work
  • Using secondary sources for critical and contextual investigation
  • Use of ICT in classroom with an emphasis on editing with Photoshop
  • Building a website to present classwork / coursework
  • Collaborating with peers on projects to share ideas and knowledge 
  • Practical work in the studio or on location
  • Gallery/museum visits when link can be made with project
key stage 4

Year 9

Initially students are introduced to the basic Photoshop editing skills through a digital collage project. They then move on to practise more advanced Photoshop techniques and basic camera skills by designing, photographing and editing their own photo story in the style of a comic book. To refine their skills further they complete the ‘Put Yourself in the Picture’ project. Students put their own image into a famous film poster, music CD and book cover. This requires students to look at the finer details of their work and to perfect the cutting, blending and filter functions in Photoshop. Finally students are introduced to ‘Abstract Photography’ by applying knowledge of the subject and practical skill into a cohesive project.

We follow the AQA Photography: lens-based and light-based media specification.

The aim of the GCSE Photography course is to encourage students to explore news ways of seeing the world using a variety of photographic techniques and processes.

Year 10

To begin the course students learn to use the camera, studio equipment and Photoshop through a variety of short assignments. These form part of the unit 1 portfolio and are presented as a ‘Technical Workbook’. In conjunction with this students are introduced to subject specific vocabulary through critical and contextual investigations into a variety of photographers and their work.

Continuing with the portfolio students apply what they have learned in a project based on the theme ‘Surrealism’.

Year 11

In the final year of the course students complete a project inspired by sequence photography. This allows students to build on their skills and design their own project. In February they start prep work for their final GCSE exam, which takes place towards the end of May.

key stage 5

About the course

A level Photography is an innovative course that stimulates creativity and provides challenge.  Students are given the freedom to express their own thoughts and opinions through the powerful visual medium of lens based media.  They will explore the work of key practitioners and be introduced to important historical trends.  They will develop a good understanding of photographic technology through practical tasks presented in the form of a technical workbook.  They will develop their ability to research and analyse, both orally and in writing, important examples of photography from its origins to the present time. 

Year 1 Subject Content

Students will complete Component 1, their personal investigation, by identifying an area of photography practice that interests them and by beginning to conduct strategic research.  They will experiment with making relevant responses of their own, developing stronger ideas over time, refining and developing their work.  Written work of no less than 1000 and no more than 3000 words will be submitted to support the practical work.  

Year 2 Subject Content

Students will embark on Component 2 by selecting one of the prompts from the exam board's Externally Set Tasks.  They will respond by producing work which provides evidence of their ability to work independently within specified time constraints.  They will use the assessment objectives to guide their working process and complete a response in a 15 hour controlled assessment.

Career Opportunities/Routes

Students may go on to study photography, digital imaging or art based degress at universities and colleges in the UK and abroad.  Students may also use their A level photography portfolio in their applications to leading art and design foundation courses.