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Photography A Level at Sherburn High School

Course description

Photography is about looking, learning, thinking and communicating ideas. It inspires creative thinkers. Photography means ‘drawing with light’ and that is what photographers do when they take a picture. Many photographers have explored various techniques to create images that make a personal statement about things that have interested or concerned them. The most exciting aspect of photography is that you are capturing the world as you see it.

Course content

This is a 2 year linear course which is examined at the end of year 13

Programme of Study
Year 1 - The Portfolio

You will be encouraged to develop your knowledge of how your camera works and apply this knowledge to your own photographs. You will research different photographic techniques together with learning about photographers that have influenced each process. Projects are thematic and will include: Traces, Places and Spaces – composition, a sense of place and a sustained project ‘Covert and Obscure’. There will be opportunities to shoot on location and in the studio learning about lighting techniques. Photoshop skills will also be developed and experimentation encouraged.

Second Year Units – A2 Qualifications
Personal Investigation
This unit provides you with an opportunity to explore an independent theme of your choice. Alongside your sustained practical investigation and responses you must produce a written, illustrated essay (1000-3000) words. This is a critical and contextual study that will support your practical work.

The Externally set Assignment
This is the culmination of the course. The exam board release a number of themes you will select and respond from the theme of your choice. You are given a preparatory period to produce a sketchbook full of practical investigations and developments supported by influences from other artists/designers. You will have 15 hours supervised time to produce an ambitious creative response to your theme connecting to your development work from your sketchbook.

Study methods
We want you to develop into independent learners who use their creative skills and are willing to take risks in their work. We encourage a collaborative studio environment reflecting an art college atmosphere. You will want to develop your technical skills and be able to apply new techniques and follow your own ideas. Do you need your own camera? – yes it helps but we have some you can experiment with. There may be a need to make a voluntary contribution to material costs e.g. printing/photographic paper.


AS Qualification
Component 1 100% internally assessed

A2 Qualification
Personal Investigation 60%
Externally Set Assignment (15 hours) 40%

Future opportunities

Many of our students move on to photography degrees at university, or to study a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design. Photography students can consider a career in any of the following areas: fashion; graphic design; architectural; illustration; forensic; journalism; studio based photography; wedding photographer, teacher; advertising; webdesign; Photoshop specialist in special effects or in film and television work. Many photographers become self-employed and establish their own business.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Sherburn High School directly.

Last updated date: 10 March 2017
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