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Luton Sixth Form

Photography (A Level)

Why study Photography?

This course will deepen your understanding of the visual world across different times and cultures and introduce you to the diverse roles and functions of Photography in contemporary life. A foundation in this subject can lead to a wide range of career
opportunities in the creative industries, an area experiencing great expansion in this country. Photography is important because all sectors of the job market require creative thinkers who can innovate, see and make connections, solve problems and
make informed decisions and judgements. This course will give you many transferable skills you can use in the future.

Entry Requirements

In addition to our general entry requirements, you must have:

  • GCSE English – grade 4
  • GCSE Art & Design or Photography – grade 4, OR be able to demonstrate a serious commitment to the visual arts through a portfolio submission.

The Course

You will learn about traditional and contemporary photographic techniques. You will learn how to take black and white photographs, using manual 35mm cameras. Developing, printing and darkroom techniques will be a core part of the course. Digital cameras will also be used and image manipulation working with computers and software such as Adobe Photoshop. You will explore studio techniques and experimental photography through a strong emphasis on creativity and personal expression as well as skills and techniques.

Course Activities

Lessons will be predominantly practically based. You will be given clear demonstrations of processes and you will be given time to explore these both in small groups and independently. You will be encouraged to talk about your work using specialist vocabulary and to discuss your ideas and your understanding of other designers’ work with your tutor and fellow students. You should be prepared to write about both your ideas and the work of others. Written evaluation forms an extremely
important part of this course. Your sketchbooks should be thoroughly annotated. There will be practical workshops in all types of Photography. Homework is set weekly and you should allow at least five hours per week to complete this. The darkroom is available by arrangement for students wishing to complete additional or outstanding work. Students are also expected to
participate in various gallery visits and photo shoots.

Career and Progression Opportunities

Many students choose to pursue Photography studies at a higher level and there are two main pathways: an Art Diploma (Foundation) or direct entry into Higher Education. Possible career options include advertising, graphic design, fashion industry, games industry, film and television production, fine art, marketing, new media, publishing, web design, freelance photography and photojournalism.

Course Structure and Assessment

This is a two-year course.

Component title and content Assessment

Component 1: Personal Investigation

  • Practical work:
    You will identify and select a focus for personal creative ideas. You will also undertake investigative and research work appropriate to your focus. You will explore media and processes.
  • Personal study:
    You will focus on a selected aspect of others’ art, craft, design or art movement which is related to your own practical work. You will develop and produce a personal enquiry which will culminate in an illustrated critical written communication of a minimum of
    1,000 words.
  • 60% of total A Level.
  • Internally assessed, externally moderated.

Component 2: Externally Set Assignment
You will respond to a given theme and develop your ideas during a
preparation period for the examination.

  • 40% of total A Level.
  • Internally assessed, externally moderated

Additional Information

The College provides some of the materials you will require for this course. However, the nature of this course does mean you will need to purchase additional materials, namely paper and film (all darkroom chemistry is provided). These can be purchased from the College shop at an extremely reasonable price. Students are expected to do a minimum of 4.5 hours each week of independent study. In this time, you will build up evidence in your sketchbooks of visual recording, researching, contextual
linking, developing ideas, experimenting, reviewing and refining work.

Examination Board: WJEC (Eduqas)



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