All Modules are compulsory with the exception of Photography in Context
Introduction to Creative Photographic Practice
You will be introduced to a range of conceptual, technical and creative photographic skills. To make evident the interconnections between traditional analogue and digital photography, one block of learning will focus on film photography, silver based materials and darkroom practice. You will be introduced to the creative possibilities of working with film and through demonstrations and workshops you will begin to develop knowledge and understanding of the principles of photography. For example, camera handling, exposure, focus, composition, depth of field, shutter speed, basic lighting and, in this block, black and white film selection, film development and printing will all be explored and applied through exercises in creative practice. In Digital Photography, Processing and Printing, you will develop an understanding of digital technologies and materials and how these can be used to articulate the student’s own creative aims.
Introduction to Photographic Studies
The module will focus on photographic histories, aesthetics and technologies, examining the emergence of an established medium and its cultural significance, and will introduce you to a range of key practitioners, images, genres and movements. The module is designed to focus learning across a number of critical approaches and whilst an historical overview will be provided, this module is also designed to develop understanding in related contemporary debates for example; imaging and ethics, photography and identity, and image, ideology and meaning. Visits to exhibitions and similar events will provide you with the opportunity to apply your developing knowledge and critical skills to an examination of specific work and practices not necessarily covered in module lectures. The visits and the following seminar discussions provide an opportunity for you to develop your own critical approaches to individual works.
As the course focuses upon the creative use of photography and its relation to other media, it is essential that you develop ability and confidence in articulating and developing your ideas visually. You will be introduced to appropriate mechanisms for idea generation, development and presentation that underpin the production of practical and creative work throughout the course. This module addresses the need for visual literacy through the production of visual research projects, the exploration of idea generation methodologies and the contextualisation of artistic styles, methods and histories. In this sense idea generation and creativity is understood as a process of play, exploration, discovery, problem solving and deep critical and creative engagement. You will be encouraged to develop and identify generic strategies for the development of visual research, and to identify and reflect upon context based strategies and your individual interests, strengths and idiosyncrasies in relation to visual research.
Introduction to Digital Imaging: Photography
This module will demonstrate a range of imaging hardware and software technology and explore the creative potential of the ‘digital darkroom’. The production of original material is vital in digital photography and this module introduces you to salient concepts of image production and manipulation. Starting with the capture of original photography, you study a variety of techniques which facilitate the production of different material for a variety of different purposes. The module examines workflow and various elements such as file formats, importing, storing and retrieving camera files, the necessity of colour management, and how software can be used for digital imaging (for example, colour correcting with levels and curves adjustment layers, basic retouching and printing profiles). In addition you develop digital workflows that include RAW processing and conversion of files ready for print. Through a series of practical exercises and varied set briefs, the module develops competence and confidence in digital imaging practice.
Photography in Context
The module will place photography into a broad context of cultures/politics and art/art histories, and operates on a three week cycle of: illustrated lecture, workshop and critique / seminar. This will offer an opportunity for a theoretical context to be established, followed by you applying new knowledge and understanding through practice, before thirdly reflecting upon your own experience of practice. An example of this might be ‘Instant Imaging’. To begin, a lecture would be provided, contextualising the instant image within an artistic (Warhol/ Tarkovsky) and cultural (Jamie Livingston’s Picture A Day Project) framework. Examination of how instant images - from the Polaroid to the Digital - have been used by both public and professional image-makers would be established. This lecture would be followed by a workshop on Polaroid Lifts and Transfers where you could experience and explore a method of image construction and be encouraged to bend it to your purpose. The third week of this cycle would offer time for critiquing work produced and discussing possible limitations and ways forward.
The compulsory module in year 2 is Advanced Creative Photographic Practice
Advanced Creative Photographic Practice
During the first term you will be taught to use a range of specialist equipment and relevant skills, within a workshop, studio or location-based context. An example of this is the advanced lighting workshops which move beyond the basics, to provide you with an understanding of complex multiple and mixed light set-ups and techniques. Beyond the technical, this module will also seek to develop your own personal aesthetic and ongoing practice. Contextual lectures, guest speakers and visits to exhibitions will provide you with the opportunity to apply your knowledge and critical skills to an examination of specific work and practices not necessarily covered in module lectures. The module will also work towards the non-assessed end of year exhibition, where you will be encouraged to assist in its organisation and through the process of editing and selection, contribute images from your submitted portfolios.
Analogue Photography and Darkroom Practice
The module will examine analogue photography across a multitude of formats and darkroom techniques. It will refine further your technical and creative skills in analogue photography and darkroom practice, and will place emphasis on the inter-relationship between exposure, film development and final print quality. The module will facilitate a range of skills including experimentation with alternative processes and image manipulation through cameras, filters, toners and photographic papers. As well as film and print processing, this module will also give you an opportunity to work with a range of cameras and undertake both studio and field photography.
Documenting the Real: Photography
The module will examine the interconnections between documentary photography, its historical contexts and its practice, it will therefore examine the history/ies of documentary photography and will place emphasis on how representations are mediated and constructed. To enable this exposition, you will be introduced to a survey of the key figures, movements and debates that have shaped the history of documentary photography. Key issues of representation, history, identity, ideology and politics will all be explored in relation to the developing history of documentary theory and practice. At the same time, a significant focus will also be placed on questioning such definitions. As well as defining the potential functions of documentary in engaging with cultural, social, and political themes, the module will also concentrate on contemporary challenges to documentary orthodoxy. Accordingly, the module will consider the various ways in which the traditional status of documentary photography has evolved in recent decades to incorporate elements of entertainment and will seek to challenge documentary’s general status as being a realist form.
You will examine creative expression through the editing and sequencing of photography. The module will initially provide an examination of different techniques used to create editorial work both in print and online. This investigation will be underpinned with a series of workshops that will demonstrate design layout for print and then for the web. These workshops will also show the importance in successful colour management. A further set of technical demonstrations will explain alternative and traditional methods of design, such as bookbinding. The module’s lectures and demonstrations will draw upon case studies, used to illustrate the techniques expressed.
Photographer on Film
The first part of this module will see you viewing and analysing a range of filmic representations of the photographer on film. A range of films where the photographer and photography plays a key part in the content will be explored and the links between film style, structure and meaning will be examined. The module at this early stage consists of a three week rolling structure of: lecture / screening / seminar. The second phase of the module is where you receive tuition through practical workshops on short film preproduction, production and post production. Here you will be given the opportunity to develop contemporary digital filmmaking methods and within this supportive creative environment you can apply these skills and examine your own photographic practice through short film production.
The module’s first term will be organised around salient lectures and workshops including delivery at Turner Contemporary and the Sidney Cooper galleries. During this time, the module examines how creative work can be exhibited through a variety of outlets from the traditional ‘hang’ to contemporary on-line displays and will provide a context for you to analyse the processes and ideologies underpinning exhibition design. The remainder of the module sees you, under supervision, begin to apply the knowledge and understanding in the planning of the Interim Exhibition. The module content is designed to facilitate your knowledge, understanding and skills in project management, leading to the delivery of the end of year Interim Exhibition. The module, in this regard, aims to equip you with the necessary project management skills to deliver an exhibition successfully, on time and on budget and to lead you to an increased creative, visual and contemporary awareness.
The compulsory module in Year 3 is Independent Study by Major Practical Project Note that if you choose to do Individual Study by Dissertation at year three you can only do 20 or 40 Credits – not both.
Independent Study by Major Practical Project
The module will facilitate your development of a practical project proposal and provide conceptual, technological and creative guidance through seminars and tutorials. In Term 1 you will identify an area of practice based research and will produce an ongoing research journal of research and pre-production materials in preparation for the major project. Term 2 includes a series of visiting lecturers and a short block of sessions on professional practice. These are designed to offer you the opportunity to gain work readiness and hone your portfolios prior to the final submission. Although emphasis is placed upon practice, you will discuss your projects in both seminars and tutorials, thus refining your approach and completing your work in a critically informed way. Group sessions will feature specialist workshops, discussions and critiques. By reviewing the work of others and participating in critiques, you will expand your understanding of photography and in the process, your own practice. The module will conclude with the non-assessed Graduate Exhibition, where you will be encouraged to assist in its organisation and through the process of editing and selection, contribute from your submitted portfolios.
Individual Study by Dissertation
You will be supported in the completion of a proforma indicating the proposed topic for study and the resources considered to be essential. In the first term, you will attend seminars where you will introduce your area of study and invite comments. You will also be given tuition on research methods and accessing academic sources. Thereafter, you will attend individual tutorials and have regular contact with your supervising tutor. You will be expected to produce a written individual study of approximately 5,000 words (20 credits) or 10,000 (40 credits). A 200 word abstract at the beginning of the piece will summarise the topic, the approach adopted and the main conclusions. The individual study can embrace any topic related to photography, either a further development of work undertaken earlier in the Programme or a new topic.
Mixed Media Project
The module aims to encourage and develop practice based research relevant to visual culture. The purpose of the Mixed Media Project is to allow you to define, negotiate and develop focused and specific research activity through engagement with theory and practice. Providing opportunities for the exploration, consideration and development of theoretical, critical and conceptual aspects of contemporary practice. Additionally and importantly this module aims to provide you with a substantial opportunity to develop your interests and specialisms within photography and visual culture. Whilst the outcome of the module may well be significant creative products across a range of media, the main aim of the module will be to promote your creative and practice based research in relation to identified theoretical issues, contexts and practice.
A key focus throughout this module will be on introducing you to aspects of contemporary photographic professional practice, enterprise and future employability. The module will outline the established framework for the photography and art industry and encourage you to consider where you place yourself within it. An introduction to, and tuition in, aspects of professional practice coupled with a competition submission will equip you with the necessary experience to begin their preparation for entering the workplace on graduation.