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Art & Design (Photography: Lens-Based and Light-Based Media) A Level at Prior Pursglove And Stockton Sixth Form College

Course description

Photography is a visual media that can document a moment in time, communicate creative ideas or make a visual statement. In many ways it can be related to Fine Art and be as experimental and creative as painting. Alternatively, it can be used in a more commercial manner and is associated with advertising, the media and design.


If you enjoy working with visual imagery and particularly enjoy taking photographs, then Photography is the course for you. Photography is a very ‘hands-on’ practical course and can be very rewarding to study.

Images are used everywhere in today’s society including within the world of Fashion, Advertising, Film & TV, Photojournalism and Portraiture, as well as Wedding and studio-based photography. A career in Photography is very competitive and many photographers support themselves through teaching and lecturing or with community residencies.


You should have a keen interest in visual art and enjoy making imagery. You will be introduced to traditional ways of working in Photography by using the college’s fantastic darkroom facilities and more contemporary techniques including digital photography, as well as challenging experimental approaches. You should also enjoy visiting Art galleries, to look at both historical and contemporary art.

Course content

During the course you will study and explore many areas of photography.

  • You will learn how to use a SLR camera and how to develop your own negatives.
  • You will work with Black and White processes in the darkroom and be introduced to Photoshop and digital manipulation.
  • You will learn to view photography as a form of visual language and you will increasingly direct and manipulate images in order to communicate your own personal ideas.
  • The emphasis will be on the Art & Design approach to photography; it will not be treated as a purely technical subject, though those areas will not be neglected.

Throughout the course you will study themes and photographers from the history of photography, while also being introduced to a wide variety of contemporary photographers and techniques. You will be expected to make notes and analyse imagery which relate to your own projects. 

Entry requirements

You need to have met the standard college entry requirements of five GCSE grade C or above, however, you do not need to have studied Art & Design at GCSE to enrol on Photography.

It is preferable for you to have a GCSE grade C or above in English as you will have to write essays.


All your work will be assessed by your subject tutor.  At different times during the course you will be asked to hand in your work so that your progress and development can be monitored.  You will receive feedback from your tutor, advising you on what to do to improve your grade.  At the end of each topic you will submit your work for final assessment.

The course is made up of 2 components.

Component 1 (60%) is the coursework and skills building component, where you will submit sketchbooks and a portfolio of work for assessment.  In the second year you will complete.

Component 2 (40%) which is externally set so you are given an exam paper with different projects to choose from. Following an initial period of preparation time in lessons, you will have a timed exam to complete a final piece. There is no revision as all the work is practical.

Financial information

Art and Design can be an expensive subject to study.

At Prior Pursglove College you will be given lots of materials free of charge. Photography requires the use of paper, photographic paper and chemicals, as well as some other materials.

We ask students to contribute £20 towards the cost of materials as you begin your course in September; this enables us to cover some of the costs of the materials we supply to you.

If you are enrolled on 2 or more Art based subjects the cost will be capped at £30 per year.

You will also have free access to SLR and digital cameras, computers, sewing machines, darkroom equipment and printing facilities.


Future opportunities

Many students do decide that they would like to continue with their art studies at a higher level and there are a number of progression routes available to you. One route is to study a Foundation Diploma Course before applying to do Art and Design at degree level, however, we have had students who have applied directly to universities from Prior Pursglove and have been successful in obtaining places.

Some of the students who studied this course at Prior Pursglove College progressed on to:

  • CCAD – Photography
  • University of Sunderland – Photography
  • Leeds College of Art - Photography
  • Lincoln University – Contemporary Lens Media
  • Manchester Met University – Interactive Arts
  • Newcastle University – Film and Media


How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Prior Pursglove And Stockton Sixth Form College directly.

Last updated date: 23 December 2016
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