What will you study on the BA Photography ?
This degree encourages you to use your imagination and experiment at the same time as developing your skills. Throughout the course you will undertake a range of projects covering studio photography, portraiture, lighting and art direction, location shoots, landscape photography, sports and events, still life photography, fashion photography, architectural photography, urban landscape, reportage and photojournalism. With every project you are required to give a critical perspective of your own work.
Your first year explores photography through eight different projects that will give you the opportunity to investigate different approaches including black and white photography, digital imaging and hand colour printing. In your second year you will work on themed projects where you will be able to develop your own style and hone your skills. For example, photographing an area of London that is new to you or photographing different types of people. By your final year of study, you will be prepared to build your own professional portfolio informed by a research project related to your studio practice.
There are regular visits from high-profile guest speakers from diverse professional backgrounds, such as Professor Phil Cleaver, Simon Roberts, Dewi Lewis, John Blakemore, Tom Hunter, Professor Jem Southam and Julian Calder.
Introduction to Photography (60 credits) - Compulsory
This module aims to introduce the range of skills and knowledge which define the parameters of editorial and commercial photography practice. You will work on projects which explore the medium from a historical and technical perspective and the range of commercial photography practice from documentary, reportage, portraiture, fashion, sport and advertising through to photographers as authors. You will learn to develop solutions which balance a number of conflicting criteria and develop story telling techniques. You will also learn how to work with others, to win trust and gain access and to be aware of the ethics involved.
The module aims to define photography as part of a visual communication language and as relatively new development historically that has borne witness to many of the events that shape our society. It is the intention of the module to sensitise you to the messages contained in the photographic image and to foster the ability to research and analyse objectively and critically. This context is intended to form the basis for a number of photographic assignments. By the end of the module, you will have encountered several stages of the photographic process with a special emphasis on research and analysis.
Understanding Communication Arts (30 credits) - Compulsory
This module aims to encourage you to question how practitioners from Visual Communication Design the Communication Arts, here understood as Photography, Illustration and Graphic Design, both shape, and are shaped by, our material world. You will extend and deepen your understanding of the relationship between your developing practice and the practices that have developed at other times and at other places. With particular reference to the Communication Arts of the modern and postmodern periods, and using resources available in London, we aim to encourage an appreciation of how the design and consumption of Visual Culture is intimately bound up with cultural change. You will be enabled to place the history of communication arts and your own practice within the broader contexts of the histories of art and design, and to understand these in turn in their relation to the histories of society, culture and ideas. You will apply a range of critical approaches in order understand a range of images, texts and objects.
Photography Practice (60 credits) - Compulsory
This module aims to develop your understanding of specialist pathways within editorial photography, to be aware of their historical context and be aware of current practice. Self directed projects will develop your ability to take the initiative. The module will encourage you to further specialise in different aspects of commercial photographic practice. This builds valuable experience and also helps you decide on a personal pathway. Photography is critically examined as part of a visual language that can be subjected to manipulation and many different meanings. You will learn to work in areas of specialisation and explore open pathways within the subject focus. Projects explore studio photography, portraiture, lighting and art direction, location shoots, landscape photography, sports and events, still life photography, fashion photography, architectural photography, urban landscape, reportage and photojournalism.
The Critical Image (30 credits) - Compulsory
The nature of the photograph is changing. As traditional forms of image making persist alongside continual developments in the way photographic images are made, circulate and are put to use, how can we make sense of the expanding field of photography today As practitioners, we have a particular relationship with photography which necessitates an informed, responsible approach to the task of consuming and making photographs. This module aims to equip you with a range of critical tools you can use to understand and engage with the photographic environment.
Critical and Contextual Research Project (30 credits) - Compulsory
This module aims to enable you to identify and deliver a research project related to your studio practice. The project will involve an analytical engagement with a range of research resources in order to have a greater understanding of an aspect of studio practice through its historical, theoretical and social contexts. The module will consolidate the development of skills of project identification, research organisation and development, time management, visual analysis and critical argument. You will extend your ability to think creatively about the presentation of conceptual, critical and contextual material in both written and visual form. You will further consolidate the development of skills required for autonomous learning.
Photography: Professional Portfolio Development Major Projects (90 credits) - Compulsory
This module aims to give you the opportunity to work on self-initiated projects which will explore how photographers identify commercial opportunities through your professional practice. You will investigate specific areas chosen from ethics, politics, fashion, sport, business, social issues, events, locations, environments and human interest through the broad avenues of photojournalism, documentary and studio exploration. The module will explore the role of the photographer as author investigating self-initiated projects within the area of commercial photographic practice and the broader visual communication context. The module will give you the opportunity to initiate a photographic practice-based research proposition to explore a chosen area of current commercial photographic practice and to develop specific individual photographic practices. The module aims to enable you to develop your professional practice in editorial photography through producing a professional portfolio or collection of work tailored to the area of the creative industry that you wish to pursue as a career destination or as postgraduate study.
You can find more information about this course in the programme specification. Module and programme information is indicative and may be subject to change.
The photography work that our students create is world-class. Each year, our final year students, some of whom are award winners, exhibit their work at our Degree Show.
Take a look at our very own magazine, Lupe, to see a showcase of our students work.
In the news
There are two Base Rooms for use by BA Photography students each equipped with visual aids and tables.used for tutorials, seminars and critiques as well as for lectures by visiting speakers.
The Photographic Studios in the Basement of The Grove building offer a variety of spaces for photographing at different scales. The infinity cove is used for a wide range of portrait and full figure or group photography applications. There are areas which can be used for three dimensional, portraiture, close up and macro photographic work. ‘Colorama’ systems are provided for easy change of background colour and effects. The professional level lighting equipment and lighting tracks available throughout the studio includes Bowens synchronised flash units. Canon EOS 5D Mk III full frame digital cameras with a range of lenses are available for use in the studio, as well as a Hasselblad film camera with a wide range of lenses and backs. Phase One equipment is also available.
The Digital Darkroom is a state of the art digital photographic editing and output facility, which is probably the best of its kind in the UK. The area has over 56 calibrated Apple Macintosh-Pro workstations networked to a series of professional level Epson A2 photographic printers using the latest industry standard software and K3 pigment inks producing high quality prints. There are also five Hasselblad Flextight film scanners, two flat bed scanners offering scans up to A3 and a daylight-viewing booth. All the workstations and printers are calibrated and colour managed. The area is staffed with expert specialist technicians who work with students to help them achieve their creative goals.
For colour, we have a number of individual booths each light tight and equipped with newly serviced DeVere 504 colour enlargers, Kaiser and Durst colour enlargers. A Colenta RA480 (800mm) colour printer is installed in the darkroom.
Black and White Darkrooms
Middlesex has one Black and White Darkroom with 15 enlargers and a print developing area. DeVere 504 enlargers with condenser, cold cathode and Ilford Multigrade heads are available. There are also and DeVere 203 enlargers and a number of Durst and Kaiser enlargers as well. Negatives from 35mmm to 5 x 4 can be printed. A separate darkroom for higher quality prints (eg black and white fibre based paper) is also available.
A range of cameras including 35mm, 645, 6x7 medium format as well as digital cameras (Canon 5D MkII, 5D MkIII and 650D) and 5x4 technical field cameras can be taken on location. In addition location lighting equipment kits can be borrowed.
State of the art printing facilities
The Special Collections are held in the Materials Room in the Sheppard Library and is a supervised room for research and inspiration.