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PHOTOGRAPHY

A LEVEL

We’ll help you focus your lens on a successful career.

In Photography at Xaverian, you’ll gain the knowledge and experience to take control of the camera creatively, but you’ll also open your eyes, heart and head artistically. 

By working in a dynamic Art department alongside students from other artistic disciplines, you’ll be exposed to new and exciting techniques, ideas and artworks that’ll inspire you in new and challenging ways.

There’s a great amount of creative freedom on this course. You’ll get to shoot 35mm film and print your images in our darkroom, use the College’s digital SLR cameras and edit your photos with Adobe Creative Cloud programs, which you can download and use at home for free! 

ou’ll experiment and work across various genres of photography, from landscapes and portraiture to experimental and street photography. Initially, we’ll give you starting themes for inspiration and, as the course progresses, you’ll create and develop your own personal themes, interests and ideas.

You’ll learn your way around a camera, putting its creative controls to full use.

There’ll be a chance to process black and white film, shoot in studio, and through your personal project investigate a topic in depth, examining the work of other photographers.

We’ll work in small groups and through discussions and independent study. You’ll collaborate through online sketchbooks and larger scale developmental work. And there will be lots of chance to head off campus to flex your photographic skills on study trips and working with artists.

As you’d expect from a course that’s highly practical, there’s a lot of coursework. 

This is designed to help you build an expansive portfolio reflecting the immense progress you’ll have made throughout your Photography A Level studies for showcasing to universities and employers.

While this course is predominantly focused on still images, your practical project for Photography A Level may include video and timelapse films. This project includes a written essay of up to 3,000 words – helping you explain your thinking and working processes.

There’s also an assignment for which you have about 10 weeks to prepare. The assignment takes place over 15 hours and is your chance to demonstrate everything you’ve learned during this two-year course.

Much of your study time will be spent shooting images – and editing and manipulating them on our high-spec Macs and PCs powered by industry-standard software. You’ll be using digital SLRs every week – but there will also be plenty of chance for you to do film work with traditional cameras.

You’ll study your passion in Ward Hall – which has been elegantly refurbished to provide the creative inspiration fuelling our Art, Graphic Communication, Photography and Textiles Courses.

You’ll use extensively Ward Hall’s Film and Media suites, and maybe use our cine room to show off your work.

LESSON TIME!

Today’s workshop focuses on Nicholas Kennedy Sitton, celebrated for his twisted architecture photography that’s heavily reliant on modern image manipulation techniques.

Take any landscape image. We’re about to create art with spirals, dissecting a desert horizon.

We’ll be copying multiple layers and applying transformations to create a striking result.

You’ll be learning lots of handy keyboard shortcuts making it quicker to make your masterpiece.

Play Video

What’s next?

Accordion Content

Some students go straight into the industry and work in photography studios.

You might choose to specialise in:

  • Photojournalism
  • Fashion photography
  • Food photography
  • Forensic and
  • medical photography
  • Wedding photography.

Photography can lead on to many careers in the art and design industries.

Once you’re bitten by the camera bug you’ll probably want to study Photography at university.

Higher education institutions popular among Photography students include Glasgow School of Art, Goldsmiths and Camberwell College of Arts in London, Derby and Birmingham City universities, and our city’s own Manchester Metropolitan University – where Xaverian alumnus James Dewhurst says: “Photography teachers are really passionate about the subject. Studying Photography at Xaverian gave me the knowledge, skills and confidence to continue at uni.”

Portfolio Component: 

You work and develop ideas using a range of processes, skills and techniques producing a portfolio of coursework exemplifying work carried out

Personal Investigation: 

You will develop a practical project which will be supported by a written element of 1000- 3000 words

Externally Set Assignment:

You will have approximately ten weeks to produce prep work. At the end of this lead in time you will produce final work in 15 hrs of unaided, supervised time

Entry requirements:

Six good passes at GCSE including two at grade 6 or above

Course specific entry requirements:

Grade 5 from Art or Photography. Merit or above if BTEC*

If you haven’t taken an Art GCSE then you’ll need to put together a portfolio, which will be reviewed by a teacher. 

Course duration:

2 years

Assessment methods:

1 exam project
1 coursework project

Course type:

Linear A-level

Exam board:

AQA

Initially the course will give you the opportunity to learn subject specific skills such as: using the camera’s controls creatively, black and white printing in the darkroom, studio work, digital editing and image manipulation.

You will then go on to develop personal projects in which you investigate a topic in depth, through personal experiments and examining the work of other photographers. At this stage you will be given personalised tuition depending on your individual requirements.

Your learning experiences will include: whole class and small group demonstrations; individual discussions and personal exploration; online sketchbook and larger scale developmental work; study trips and working with artists.

I came to Xaverian as my older brother came here and had a really good experience. It has been a memorable experience for me too, and the subjects I chose have helped me to prepare for life at university.

Rajprit Randhawa, Photography A Level

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