A Level Photography
Examination Board: AQA
A level Photography will enable you to develop your practical and creative abilities as fully as possible whilst encouraging a critical appreciation of existing photographers’ work and technical skills. You will develop your own ideas through the skill of digital and film photography and post production using image editing software and a dark room. You will be encouraged to take inspiration from a wide range of sources to develop and create work that is both technically proficient and individual.
At the beginning of Year 12, you will be fully taught how to use the manual settings of a DSLR camera, including shutter speed, aperture and ISO. Students then follow a taught course where they explore viewpoints and composition whilst developing deeper understanding of technical elements such as lighting, dark room techniques, composition, context, mood and atmosphere and editing skills.
Students will also explore specific themes such as abstract modernist photography, still life photography, portraiture, Art Historical projects and the light investigation.
Students create a digital portfolio to record their influences and progression throughout this stage, while hand editing and more experimental practices will also be explored. There is an emphasis on building technical skills, using the work of others to inspire their own practise, experimentation and refining ideas, therefore improving their understanding of how to develop their work in a personal way.
Once you begin Year 13, you will begin your Personal Investigation, which is the opportunity to do what you want as a photographer. You will develop a self-driven project entirely unique to you using any photographic techniques you may choose.
As part of this A-Level you will be set fortnightly reading tasks in Year 12 which will enrich your subject knowledge and help you to read like a photographer. In Year 13, once you have started the Personal Investigation, the reading you do will be much more self directed in terms of subject matter, and you will share your reading with your peers in seminar type lessons. This is great preparation for how many university courses are run, where you read articles and then bring your findings to seminars to discuss with peers and lecturers.
Assessment is based on a combination of the Personal Investigation (60% of final grade) and an externally set assignment (40%). Your Personal Investigation (60%) is your choice of subject matter, and is a whole project within Photography with an accompanying essay of 1000-3000 words. The externally set assignment (40%) will be given to you in February, and you will have several weeks to work on a project, culminating in a 15-hour controlled assessment where you will produce a final response for the externally set assignment.
Photography is suited to further courses or employment where ‘what we see matters’ and has transferrable skills to media, advertising, film, marketing and many other career pathways. Many students have furthered their studies through a foundation course, which has provided excellent preparation for further study or employment in the Creative Industries. 1 in every 8 businesses is in the creative industries, and overall it is greater to the UK economy than the oil and gas, automotive, aerospace and life sciences industries combined! Former students are now working in Photography, Graphic Design, Web Design, Game Design, Fashion, Textiles, Architecture and Animation.