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Photography BA Honours

Become a fully-fledged communicator of visual ideas and information while developing the essential skills and knowledge to launch a successful career in the creative industry.
Code
W640
Start
October 2021
EU/International induction: September 2021
Duration
3 years full-time
4 years part-time
Attendance
Full-time
Part-time
Fees
£9,250 (UK) *
£14,000 (EU / INT) *
Course leader
Philippe Pleasants

Why study photography with us?

Our BA Photography course will help you make the most of your creative vision and encourage you to develop your own personal approach.

You will be given the tools, opportunities and inspiration to explore the world we live in now, investigating photography’s role in the communication of ideas, opinion, comment, reportage, analysis and meaning through your own work and through debate. You can focus on editorial photography, portraiture, studio and fashion photography for magazines, books, exhibitions and new media, as well as carry out more investigative, reflective and conceptual work.

You will get full support from a dedicated and enthusiastic staff team, who have a broad range of professional expertise in a number of specialist areas, including digital imaging technology, documentary, editorial portraiture and reportage, fashion photography, curating and analysis, theory and writing. Our experienced specialist technicians are a well-integrated part of the team and are always willing to give you the expert technical support you need to achieve high-quality work.

Build your photography skills

Online demonstrations will introduce you to a number of technical skills, including both traditional and digital processes. Extensive campus facilities, when appropriate, include studios and darkrooms. There is an excellent online library provision. We have strong links with the industry in London, which means you will be able to make invaluable industry contacts too. At the end of your degree, you will the get a chance to show your work in either a dedicated exhibition in central London, or as a virtual exhibition online.

Get the support you need to succeed

You will get much support throughout your course from all your tutors (including an assigned personal tutor), from your graduate academic assistant and from all the technical staff. Each one has studied your subject or an allied one and will provide the support you need. If you need some help with writing, numeracy or library skills, then we can provide this too. We also have ‘student learning assistants’ who are normally in their final year and can offer help, based on their own experiences. Our graduates go on to work in a number of fields within photography, on occasions winning industry awards and competitions.


Find out more

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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 documentary. You will learn to think critically about a range of issues and be able to communicate your responses to these in written form. 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 subjects from documentary to fashion. Drawing on literature from photography and cultural theory, a visual culture module will provide a historical and critical framework for a deeper understanding of a range of photographic practices. In your second year, you will work on themed projects where you will be able to evolve your own approach and develop your skills, for example. A visual culture module will address current themes that affect the ways in which photographs are made and seen and understood. By your final year of study, you will be prepared to build a professional portfolio based on a subject of your own choosing. This will be accompanied by a research project, which will provide a very useful theoretical underpinning for your own practice.

There have been visits from guest professionals including Rhiannon Adam, Adrian Bradshaw, Rachael Burns, Julian Calder, Brian Harris, Cheryl Newman, Martin Parr, Kate Peters, Ingrid Pollard, Simon Roberts, Nicola Shipley and Jem Southam.


Modules

We’ve made temporary changes to some course modules for students starting in 2020 in response to the coronavirus outbreak. If you’re applying to start this course or progressing into year one, two or three this autumn, there’s info on these updates below.

  • Year 1

    • Photography: Fashion and Documentary (30 credits) - Compulsory

      This module will introduce the contemporary methods applied to photographic practice within the fields of fashion, documentary and the urban environment. The module will also focus on several specialist fields in photography including documentary, fashion and the urban environment. You will develop an ability to research effectively, evaluate your own work and be able to place it in relation to an assessment rubric. You will also develop an awareness of ethics in photographic practice.

    • Photography: Traditional Processes (30 credits) - Compulsory

      This module will introduce the skills inherent within traditional photographic processes and will provide you with a range of skills and knowledge in traditional photographic processes. You will be encouraged to establish an appreciation and application of the use of light within the photographic medium, and engage with staged imagery and art direction.

    • Photography: Studio and Digital Practice (30 credits) - Compulsory

      This module will introduce you to the photographic studio and digital darkroom as well as the skills and knowledge required in studio and digital photographic processes. You will engage with ideas of photographic construction and manipulation, and the relationship between photography, reality and truth. You will explore the use of constructed imagery in contemporary photographic practice and be able to emphasise the importance of collaboration within the editorial and commercial environments.

    • Culture and Contexts (30 credits) - Compulsory

      This module provides an introduction to the expanding and inter-disciplinary field of photography, focusing on London as its main site of exploration. You will be equipped with the skills to apply cultural theory as a critical tool in the analysis of photographic works and images, and will be exploring a range of histories, practices and theories relevant to the consideration of photography as a rich, expanded and interdisciplinary field of study. You will learn different ways of understanding the importance and meaning of photographs, across various modes of photographic production and consumption, with emphasis on its technological evolution, its history as an art form and the political, social and institutional uses to which it has been put. You will be able to make use of the particular resources offered in London as a way of considering the urban, social, art-historical and cultural contexts of photography.

  • Year 2

    • Photography: Editorial Practice (30 credits) - Compulsory

      This module uses contemporary professional editorial photographic practice as a framework to explore specialist pathways in portraiture, fashion and fine art. You will develop an understanding and application of contemporary professional editorial photographic practice. You will critically examine photography as part of a visual language and the context in which commissioned work is consumed with an emphasis on the relationship between commercial demands and artistic integrity. Your existing photographic skills and knowledge in relation to professional standards will be expanded. You will further develop an understanding of specialist pathways within photography with knowledge of historical context and current practice.

    • Photography: Concept and Development (30 credits) - Compulsory

      This module explores the idea of identity as a conceptual framework in photographic and artistic practice. Your understanding and ability to self-initiate photographic practice and research will be developed. You will identify a personal approach to the medium, exploring different specialist pathways, and expand your understanding of the photographer as author and investigate the work of both contemporary and historical practice in relation to your own work. You will experiment with and question both the production and consumption of photography and to articulate and discuss conceptual approaches to photographic work and its modes of presentation. You will further develop advanced techniques and technical skills to support this approach.

    • Photography: Social Practice (30 credits) - Compulsory

      This module will explore ‘the other’ and our relationship with objects, environments and society. You will develop an understanding of the role of photography in interpreting and communicating the world around us through a personal socio-political and ideological viewpoint. You will investigate and observe objects, environments and society to understand how photographic representation can be used to explore, comment on and critique contemporary culture. The importance of the final photographic output and the context of its presentation and consumption will be emphasised. You will be encouraged to promote a deeper and more critical understanding of contemporary and historical practices in some of the specialist subject pathways. An appreciation and application of the advanced technical demands and stylistic choices inherent in producing work to a professional standard will be established.

    • The Critical Image (30 credits) - Compulsory

      This module takes an interdisciplinary approach to the critical study of historical and contemporary photographic practice. You will consider a range of theoretical approaches that are helpful in understanding the ways in which photographic meaning is produced and understood. You will be equipped with the necessary critical tools for the analysis of photographic images as well as the social practices, histories and cultures in which they are enmeshed. Your skills and confidence in writing practice and your critically informed and responsible photographic practice will be developed and enhanced.

  • Year 3

    • Photography: Professional Toolkit (30 credits) - Compulsory

      This module will develop the knowledge and skills that are required to operate as an independent professional photographer. Your knowledge and skills will be extended to become a self-reflective and critically engaged photographer. You will develop appropriate research methods and analytical skills to both respond to commissions and to generate self-initiated projects. You will gain an awareness of how to negotiate commercial contexts and established professional standards of photographic practice. You will promote professional development through a self-negotiated work placement or similar, within an area of the photographic industry.

    • Photography: Negotiated Practice (30 credits) - Compulsory

      This module will develop your ability to formulate and write a critically informed photographic project proposal. The module will  also facilitate the development of a personal direction of work, researched thoroughly and executed to a professional standard. You will be enabled to investigate strategies for developing ideas into negotiated photographic project proposals.  You will be supported in further extending your technical knowledge and building confidence as skilled and independent practitioners.

    • Photography: Professional Portfolio (30 credits) - Compulsory

      In this module, you will develop a self-initiated project proposal that consolidates your personal or commercial photographic direction and interests. The module will facilitate the formulation of a coherent self-initiated project related to an area of professional practice as well as the creation of a professional portfolio appropriate to an area of the creative industry. You will consolidate understanding of the broader contextual and theoretical frameworks that underpin photographic work. You will be supported in the development of strategies to critically reflect upon and evaluate your own work

    • Critical and Contextual Research Project (30 credits) - Compulsory

      This module will facilitate you in identifying, developing and delivering an in-depth research project related to your study of photography, and culminating in an extended written essay. It will also facilitate you in developing an analytical engagement with a range of research resources in order to have a greater understanding of an area of photographic practice through its historical, theoretical and social contexts. You will consolidate the development of skills covering 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 be supported in consolidating the development of skills required for autonomous learning.

You can find more information about this course in the programme specification. Optional modules are usually available at levels 5 and 6, although optional modules are not offered on every course. Where optional modules are available, you will be asked to make your choice during the previous academic year. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, or there are staffing changes which affect the teaching, it may not be offered. If an optional module will not run, we will advise you after the module selection period when numbers are confirmed, or at the earliest time that the programme team make the decision not to run the module, and help you choose an alternative module.

  1. Overview
  2. Teaching and learning - changes for students in 2020
  3. Teaching and learning - typical structure
  4. Assessment and feedback
  1. UK & EU
  2. International
  3. Interview and portfolio
  4. How to apply
  1. UK
  2. EU / International
  3. Additional costs

Degree Show

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.

Instagram

Follow our Instagram account and keep up with what our students are creating and showcasing.

Lupe magazine

Take a look at our very own magazine, Lupe, to see a showcase of our students work.

In the news

Image gallery

How can the BA Photography support your career?

This degree will prepare you for a successful career in the creative industry. By the end of the course you will have created a professional portfolio essential for entry into studio, portraiture, fashion, architectural, reportage and photo-journalism, art direction, location, landscape, sports, events, still life, magazine, newspaper, book, exhibition and new media photography.

Meeting Employer Demand

  • There are agencies and studios that employ Photographers but most photographic practitioners are self-employed or work in small groups.
  • Photographers compete for work from a wide range of clients from Fashion magazines to picture agencies. Clients are looking for a personal vision. We encourage students to develop a strong personal language, together with a highly professional and responsible approach.
  • To meet this demand, students are encouraged to develop a strong technical understanding. Workshops and a range of projects in level one emphasize different technical outcomes. This forms a strong foundation so that students begin to develop an individual approach. Further projects encouraging a creative approach and acquisition of further technical skills take place at level five.

Student success

  • Sony World Photography Student Focus Award solo winner
  • Middlesex Photography Best in Show Free Range Truman 2016 and also Best Student Photographer 2016
  • Several winners of the D&AD Yellow Pencil over a period of several years
  • Three finalists in all three of the Daniel Blau Gallery ‘5 under 30’ exhibitions
  • Joint first prize-winner in the Onward Compe award
  • Magenta Foundation prize winner
  • Either a student or staff member has been selected to show in every year of the National Portrait Gallery Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait prize since its inception (about seven years ago) including the John Kobal Award for new work last year and two students (one 2016 graduate and one current final year student) in the current 2016/2017 show.

Baserooms

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.

Photographic Studios

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.

Digital Darkroom

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.

Colour Darkroom

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.

Equipment loan

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.

Michael Bradley
Associate Professor – BA Photography

Graduated from the Architectural Association  School of Architecture. Registered Architect and member of the Royal Institute of British Architects. Worked with Ahrends Burton and Koralek, Foster Associates, GLC Architects and in own architectural practice. Research focus is photography. Photographs published in ‘The Architectural Review’, ‘The Architects' Journal’, ‘The Guardian’, ‘British Journal of Photography’, ‘Building Design’, ‘Architectural Design’. Photographs exhibited at Bath (Royal Photographic Society), Cheltenham, Building Centre London, South Bank Photo Show and Cotton’s Atrium, London Bridge and shown on RTE’s ‘Nationwide’ programme in Ireland September 2015. Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Philippe Pleasants
Joint Programme leader – BA Photography

Having studied an MA in Photography at the  Royal College of Art, Philippe has gained a diverse range of professional experience from working with commercial photographers and contemporary international artists. Additionally, he has acquired an advanced knowledge of digital imaging technology, techniques and printing. Philippe is currently completing a photographic portraiture commission and producing new photographic / video work in London.

Alison Tanner
Senior Lecturer - Photography

Alison graduated from Cheltenham & Gloucester College of Art & Design with a BA Hons in Professional Media: Photography. She has worked in London since 2000 in the Fashion and Editorial Photography industry and for five years as first assistant to the fashion photographer Tim Walker. This role involved organising and handling photographic equipment and lighting during photo shoots, print production as well as co-ordinating the printing/framing and installation of his recent retrospective 'Pictures' at the Design Museum in London.

Steve Barritt
Lecturer - Photography

Steve is a graduate of both the BA Hons Photography and MA Photography programmes at Middlesex University. He has been a finalist two years running in the Taylor Wessing prize at the National Portrait Gallery. His ‘Mythographie’ series explores the relationship between the Greek myths and contemporary society.

Steve Lovell-Davis
Lecturer - Photography

Steve studied Fine Art and got interested in photography through photographing live bands. During this period he photographed The Clash and other musicians including The Who. Spent a period as a photographer with the ‘The Ham and High’. A freelance photographer specialising mainly in editorial portraiture and reportage, his work has been in Vogue, The Independent Magazine, The Daily Telegraph, Q, Top Gear, Car, Bike and Country Life(!). He has worked closely with the musician Peter Gabriel on two CD-ROM projects and has provided covers for numerous CDs on his Real World label. He has travelled extensively with Top Gear's James May, driving through Russia, Japan, Australia, India, Jordan and the USA on various motoring-related stories.

  • Scott Thomas with his artwork

    Scott Thomas

    Photography BA graduate

    Being at university allows you to put all your time into a project. Having the time to grow as a photographer and an artist, you start to notice different things. It’s really interesting to look back at the photos you started with to the images I’m able to show on the wall now.

    As part of my final year project, I immersed myself in an alternative community in the depths of Wales - living, eating and talking with them - to capture the essence of alternative living in his photography.

    It really helped with the photography because it made it more of an intimate experience. It was more an observation of living rather than me going there to shoot in a descriptive project. That was only possible when I was living among that community and experiencing it.

    The support you have at university helps you to experiment and dig deeper into a project and the fact that I could come back after a few weeks and get feedback on that work helped me reflect on my own vision of how the project was going.

  • Carly at her exhibition

    Carly Clarke

    Photography BA graduate

    Carly used her time at Middlesex to experiment creatively, and from this was able to carve a career more specifically as a social documentary photographer. She recently completed her MA in Photography, with Distinction, having been awarded the Luck Hill Postgraduate Photography Award.

    I chose Middlesex University because the facilities were outstanding, unlike facilities I had seen elsewhere. I was also inspired by many of the previous students' portfolios and hearing of their success's after their studies.

    I am particularly pleased that I had complete control over subject matter and projects including some working abroad, giving me time to experiment with my own creativity and to discover what works for me.

    The close support from tutors helped me to carve a more specific pathway for myself that applied to the professional practice of photography and prepared me for the real world.

    Ultimately I'd like to follow my interest in portraiture and documentary, combining the two genres and working with people and their surrounding environments to create editorial and fine art photography.

    See more of Carly's work.

  • Shekhar Bhatia

    Photography BA graduate

    BA Photography graduate Shekhar worked as a professional journalist for many years before studying BA Photography.

    I chose to study photography at Middlesex University because of the location and the reception I received when I walked in to inquire about studying here. I wasn't made to feel like an idiot for finally undertaking a degree in my forties, with a Fleet Street and TV career behind me.

    I enjoyed the engagement with the lecturers and my fellow students, and simply learning again. You can't put a price on knowledge and I will always cherish the know-how they passed on to me. It has given me confidence behind the camera.

    I currently have an exhibition called "Brown Brits" at Roast in Borough Market which is dedicated to my tutors David Simmonds and Michael Bradley, and the students who made me feel welcome. I am also working on a photography project called "The Brown Book" and have just produced two TV documentaries for the BBC and Channel 5 on the shooting of Reeva Steenkamp by Oscar Pistorius.

  • Will Lakin

    Photography BA graduate

    Will was one of only four students whose project was recently chosen by a jury for exhibition at the Paris Photo Fair. His work was displayed in large format at the Gare du Nord station in Paris from October to November 2017.

    Having my work selected for the Paris Photo Carte Blanche award meant that I had a focus for the work and a platform to show it soon after I graduated. On top of this, having my portfolio presented at Paris Photo fair gave me the opportunity to get feedback from a focused photographic audience, allowing me to gain experience talking about the work.



We’ll carefully manage any future changes to courses, or the support and other services available to you, if these are necessary because of things like changes to government health and safety advice, or any changes to the law.

Any decisions will be taken in line with both external advice and the University’s Regulations which include information on this.

Our priority will always be to maintain academic standards and quality so that your learning outcomes are not affected by any adjustments that we may have to make.

At all times we’ll aim to keep you well informed of how we may need to respond to changing circumstances, and about support that we’ll provide to you.

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