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Photography BA Honours

Become an expert 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
September 2023
EU/International induction: September 2023
Duration
3 years full-time
5 years part-time
Attendance
Full-time
Part-time
Fees
£9,250 (UK) *
£15,100 (EU / INT) *
Course leader
Alison Tanner

Why study photography with us?

This award-winning BA Photography programme offers the resources and opportunities to develop your practice through set assignments, self-initiated projects and through exposure to a range of different industry and academic contexts.

The course is delivered by a highly experienced and diverse team of academic and technical staff, supporting image-making across a range of photographic practices and genres including art, documentary, fashion, portrait, editorial and commercial photography, as well as exploring new debates, developments and techniques in contemporary photographic practice.

Our photographic facilities are among the best in the country and offer students access to cutting-edge image making and printing technologies. Our library and IT facilities are open 24/7 so students can study in a welcoming environment whenever it suits them.

Over the years since the course began, our students have continued to win numerous awards and prizes, exhibit in galleries and photo festivals worldwide and undertake commissions for influential fashion, advertising and editorial clients.

Every year, our students produce outstanding, industry standard work. See for yourself and learn more about our state-of-the-art facilities in our BA Photography Catalogue or our Creative Graduates 2022 exhibition site.

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Explore our student work gallery by selecting an image below.

What will you study on the BA Photography?

Throughout the degree you will be encouraged to think critically about your own and other practitioners’ work and will develop technical skills whilst also building an awareness of visual languages. You will have the opportunity to apply these skills to a range of practice-based and written assignments with weekly support through feedback sessions and end of project critiques with your lecturers and peers.

As you move through the course you are given more agency to respond to the project briefs in your own way using the techniques and genres of photography you are personally keen to improve on.

Year one consists of set projects designed to introduce students to a range of different photographic debates, genres and techniques, introducing you to key areas of photographic discourse and allowing you to become proficient across all areas of the photographic facilities. You will participate in lectures, seminars and workshops and for practice projects will work in small groups to allow for in-depth project-specific feedback.

In year two you are encouraged to experiment and take more control over the direction of both your practice and your academic research. You will begin the year by exploring key theorists relevant to photography debate and by undertaking a series of set assignments designed to develop your skills in art, still life, commercial, fashion and documentary photography practices, moving on to self-initiated projects later in the year, culminating in an in-depth research project proposal and a public end of year exhibition.

By year three you are expected to have chosen a pathway for your practice and will undertake a series of self-initiated projects supported by a tutor with expertise in your area of practice. These projects will build towards a final major practice project which your will exhibit at the public end of year degree show. Your practice will be further supported by the accompanying development of both your own written research project and by assignments designed to prepare you for professional life after university.

Throughout the course we have a rolling programme of guest speakers, artist talks and portfolio reviews.

Past speakers and reviewers include:

Martin Barnes: V&A Lead curator of photography / Simon Bainbridge: Editorial director of British Journal of Photography / Emma Bowkett: Director of photography FT Weekend Magazine / Bridget Coaker: Picture editor at the Guardian and Observer & Director at Troika Editions / James Gerrard-Jones: Director at Wyatt-Clarke & Jones / Laura Noble: Gallerist and Author / Zelda Cheatle: Photography specialist, curator, editor, gallerist and consultant / Celia Davies: Director of Photoworks / Susanna Brown: V&A curator of photographs / Emma Morris: Executive director of Towner Gallery / David Burkett: Director of DMB agency / Shirley Read: Independent curator based in London / Helen Trompeteler: London based writer and curator of photographs / Monica Allende: Independent photo editor and cultural producer / Bruno Ceschel: Founder of Self Publish Be Happy / Louise Clements: Artistic Director, Format Festival / Cheryl Newman: Telegraph Magazine Photography Director / David Campany: Writer, Curator, Artist / Francis Atterbury: Book designer, director of Hurtwood Press / Shoair Mavlian: Director, Photoworks / Max Ferguson: Photo Editor FT Weekend Magazine, Editor Splash and Grab Magazine, Director of Photography Port Magazine / Hannah Watson: Director TJ Boulting Gallery, Trolley Books

Past artist talks include:

Martin Parr / Tim Walker / Jem Southam / John Davies / Hin Chua / Simon Roberts / Bettina Von Zwehl / John Blakemore / Rut Blees Luxemburg / Julian Germain / Gareth McConnell / Julian Calder / Tom Hunter / Jack Latham / Lydia Goldblatt / Joanna Piotrowska / EJ Major / Jamie Hawkesworth / Eva Vermandel / Brian Griffin / Alan Powdrill / Trevor Appleson / Brian Harris / Kate Peters / Tom Wood / Edgar Martins / Spencer Murphy / Cian Oba Smith / Silvia Rossi / Kalpesh Lathigra / Richard Billingham / Clare Strand / Kate Peters / Haley Morris Cafiero

  • 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
  3. Assessment and feedback
  1. Standard entry requirements
  2. International (inc. EU)
  3. Interview and portfolio
  4. How to apply
  1. UK
  2. EU fees
  3. EU / International
  4. Additional costs

Degree Show

The photography work that our students create is of an exceptional standard. Each year, our final year students, some of whom are award winners, exhibit their work at our Hendon Show.

Instagram

Follow our Instagram account to keep up with live course updates and new student and alumni work.

Degree show magazine

Take a look at our 2022 degree show magazine to see a showcase of our students work.

How can the BA Photography support your career?

This degree will prepare you for a successful career in the creative industries. Our students go on to fill a range of roles in the photographic industry and beyond; we have alumni working as freelance commercial photographers, editorial photographers, photographers working with still life and e-commerce; we have alumni with successful art practices who exhibit internationally and gain public funding and commissions to support their art practice; some of our alumni have gone on to curate exhibitions, work in publicly funded and commercial galleries and have secured positions as photo editors at national and international publications. Many of our students choose to assist professional photographers after university with many going on to establish their own commercial practice or manage commercial studio spaces.

Many of our students take up post-graduate study after their BA degree with many undertaking MA or MFA degrees and PhDs. Some of our alumni are now pursuing academic careers as either technicians or lecturers on photography courses at Middlesex or elsewhere.

Transferable Skills

Many of the skills you learn throughout the BA Photography degree are transferable to other industries, creative or otherwise, and help students achieve employment in many fields. Employers across the board look for skills in critical thinking, problem solving, interpersonal relations, time and finance management, all of which are embedded into our BA Photography degree.

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
  • Several winners of the D&AD Yellow Pencil over a period of several years
  • Joint first prize-winner in the Onward Compe award
  • Magenta Foundation prize winner
  • Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize – Students and staff exhibited 15 times since 2007
  • Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize – John Kobal Award
  • Paris Photo Carte Blanche award
  • Daniel Blau award x3
  • Palm Photo Prize x3
  • Magnum 30 under 30
  • Mack First Book Award (4 nominations and 1 shortlisted)
  • Royal Photographic Society Under 30’s gold award
  • Free Range Award – best university x 2
  • Free Range Award – best individual x3
  • FOAM Paul Huf Award
  • Magenta Foundation prize winner
  • Grand Prix Images Vevey Award (shortlisted)
  • FOAM Paul Huff award (nominations x2)
  • Paris Photo Jeunes Talents award

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.

Philippe Pleasants
Senior Lecturer – 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
Programme Leader - 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.

Gavin Fernandes
Senior Lecturer (Practice) BA Hons Photography

Gavin Fernandes graduated in BA Hons Graphic Design at Middlesex University and MA Fashion Photography at London College of Fashion. His visual narratives Monarchs of the East End and Empire Line were presented as solo exhibitions at Maison Des Arts de Creteil, Paris and Rich Mix Cultural Foundation, London in 2007, and at Maison Folie, Wazemmes, Lille, 2006.

Work from his master's degree was selected by The Photographers’ Gallery in London for their inaugural group show freshfacedandwildeyed08 in 2008. He has also exhibited in London at the Victoria and Albert Museum; Whitechapel Art Gallery; Institute of Contemporary Arts; Royal Academy of Arts; Barbican Centre; National Maritime Museum and Museum of London. In 2011 he exhibited at the Harris Museum, Preston, UK where his work was acquired into its Photography and New Media permanent collection.

His photographic work has been featured in the publications Dazed & Confused; i-D; Tank; The Observer; The Guardian and The Independent; and a portfolio of his images appeared as a dedicated chapter in the book British Asian Style: Fashion and Textiles/Past and Present by V&A Publishing, 2009. His research and professional practice unite his experiences of fashion direction and photography to interrogate socio-political themes around cultural identity; religion; feminine empowerment and gender.

Will Lakin
Lecturer - Photography / Academic Assistant

Currently undertaking a practice-led PhD at London College of Communi- cation on the multi-model rhetoric of online disinformation. Also founder / curator of online contemporary photography platform XLVI Space.

Has recently exhibited work in Braga, Portugal, Paris and Arles, France and Bologna and Padua, Italy as well as in solo and group exhibitions across the UK. Recently shortlisted for the Images Vevey Prize 2021.

Richard Billingham
Professor in Creative Industries

Graduated from Sunderland University with a degree in painting. In 1996, Scalo published Richard’s photographs taken of his own family in a book ‘Ray’s a Laugh’ with a short validation from the American photographer Rob- ert Frank. In 1997 Billingham was the first recipient of the Citibank Private Bank Photography Prize (now the Deutsche Borse Photography Prize) and included in a number of important group shows, most notably ‘Sensation’ at the Royal Academy, London. Nominated for the Turner Prize in 2001 for his photography and video work.

Awarded the Sargeant Fellowship at the British School at Rome in 2002. Spent next few years travelling and making a body of work called ‘Zoo’ Show of work in the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art in Melbourne in 2007- 8. Has lectured and taught in Yale, University of North Texas, the National Art School, Sydney and particularly values the exchange of ideas between teachers and students. Has been a part time senior lecturer on the BA Fine Art- Photography course at the University of Gloucester since 2006 and is cur- rently working on a number of photography and film projects. A recent film ‘Siberian Tiger’ was broadcast on Channel 4. Wrote and directed ‘Liaz and Ray’, a film based on his book ‘Ray’s a Laugh’. This was BAFTA nominated and also winner of the Lisbon and Estoril Juy Special Prize and awarded the Special Jury Prize at the Locarno Film Festival 2018.

  • Sandra Mickewicz

    Photography BA graduate

    Sandra Mickewicz

    Sandra graduated from the BA Photography course in 2018 and has since gone on to establish herself both as an artist and an editorial photographer shooting for The New Yorker and The Financial Times.

    Her personal work focusses on difficult to access communities; her most recent project being a long-term documentary series on the traveller communities of the UK. Her work is currently being exhibited in a landmark touring exhibition of British documentary photography from the 1960s to present day titled, Facing Britain, alongside photographers such as Martin Parr, Anna Fox and Tom Wood.

    Sandra has also won and been shortlisted for a number of prestigious photography awards such as the British Journal of Photography Portrait of Britain 2019 and 2020, and the Bar Tur Photo Award 2020.

    Follow Sandra @sandra_mickiewicz

  • Sophie Gladstone

    Photography BA graduate

    Sophie Gladstone

    Since Graduating from the BA Photography course in 2018, Sophie has earned the title of Photo Editor at Wallpaper* magazine, having worked her way up from an intern position. In this role, Sophie commissions photographers globally to work on fashion, still life, interior and portraiture commissions. She also undertakes commissions as a commercial and editorial photographer for clients such as The Financial Times and Dover Street Market.

    Her art practice focusses on the trappings of consumerism and status games, working with still life and performative fictions. This work has been exhibited in the UK, Portugal and China and has been shortlisted for the FOAM Paul Huf Award and the Palm Photo Prize. Sophie was also featured at one of the British Journal of Photography’s ‘Ones to Watch’ in 2021, for which she presented her project at Photo London in Somerset house.

    Follow Sophie @sophiegladstone

  • Richard Dowker

    Photography BA graduate

    Richard Dowker

    Richard graduated from the BA Photography course in 2015 and has since gone on to establish himself in the fashion industry shooting editorials for magazines such as Esquire, British GQ and Document Journal and commercial assignments for brands like Vivienne Westwood, Fendi and Burberry.

    He has also been commissioned to photograph many well-known actors such as Ewan McGregor, Thomas Brodie-Sansgter from Game of Thrones, and Daisy Edgar-Jones from the recent popular TV series, Normal People.

    Follow Richard @richarddowker

  • Cole Quirke

    Photography BA graduate

    Cole Quirke

    Cole’s final year degree project won him the Free Range student prize, for which he was awarded a fully funded solo exhibition in East London and mentoring from Metro Imaging. Since then he has gone on to photograph for editorial and commercial clients, as well as for musician and celebrities such as Nick Cave and Derren Brown.

    His photography is diaristic in nature, documenting his friends and their youthful, carefree lifestyles and has been published in the British Journal of Photography, Huck Magazine and Pylot magazine. He also makes conceptual video art and self-publishes books and zines of his work.

    Follow Cole @devils_point


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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