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Why study Photography (A level Art and Design)?

Students who choose to study Photography at A Level will gain invaluable opportunities not only in this subject, but in the wider school and local community, building on their experience as a student, artist, social observer and independent thinker. Such skills  are not only designed in this subject, but also in many university courses and in careers.

Building on their GSCE knowledge of digital photography, Photoshop and basic darkroom techniques, students will become aware of the wider impact of the arts in the gallery space and local community; and how to visually communicate their ideas, concerns and passions within their world. This is also  combined with a lifelong appreciation of the Arts and cultural capital that will enhance their opportunities as well as give them tools to assist with their own wellbeing and soul searching.

Course Content/Outline

Conduct a range of 5 exploration units to learn advanced techniques and methods and grow into the expectations of A Level. These are internal units that give you the opportunity to explore and learn about your own style.

  1. Chiaroscuro: studio and lighting techniques
  2. Large Scale Art and Installation and projection.
  3. Graphics, animation, video.
  4. Film and darkroom photography,
  5. Community Arts: create and run workshops for Beaver Community Primary school students.

Art History and Criticism: 1 period a week.

Once a week students will meet to discuss a range of issues in Art History and Criticism from introductory aesthetics, a history of art and photography through to contemporary and cultural issues. Here they will be encouraged to critique, write, and speak about art in order to give them the skills necessary to critique their own work and write their essay in Component 1.

AQA: Component 2: February 2021– May 2021 - 40% of final mark

Externally Set Assignment: The exam board will give you selection of up to 7 questions to choose from. You will research, respond and develop artworks inspired by what you have learnt and even what you still wish to investigate. In selecting a question you are passionate about, you will get to experience what it may be like as a photographer producing a commission, using the question as a starting point and working through this with the self-direction and independence that is unique to this course. You will make a final response in a 15-hour exam over 3 days, building on your experience of working in a studio just as an artist would. 

Other opportunities embedded into the course structure will expand your learning and interest in Photography, as well as enhance your UCAS applications for all types of University courses.

AQA: Component 1: April 2020—January 2010 - 60% of final mark

Personal Investigation where you decide your idea issue, concept or theme, research an artist. You will be given the opportunity to explore and visually express your interests, ideas and concerns in the world as your respond to your theme and develop artworks inspired by what you have learnt.  You will also direct the media you use throughout the project. No two projects are ever the same! You will also write a 2000-3000 word essay outlining the development of your project and your own aesthetic. This is a truly independent project guided by your own expectations of what you want to experience in this subject. You will create a body of work as well as a final outcome for your project.

  • Friday evening trips into London to Art Galleries and national events including Access Art 25 and Late at the Tate.
  • Visits to Private Art Galleries as well as well-known galleries such as the Royal Academy and Tate Britain and Modern.
  • Trips to university Post Graduate Art Shows.
  • Community Arts program with Beavers Community Primary School
  • Learn how to deliver art workshops to GCSE students within school, which enhances your own understanding of the subject, and looks great for UCAS!
  • Studio session times in your free periods to help balance the workload with your other subjects.
  • Practical Exams are at earlier times to other subjects which will help balance your A-level workload.
  • Mentoring between year groups.
  • Visits to other A Level schools to compare and meet with students.
  • Help with university applications, portfolios and interview techniques.

Further Study

There are many possible degree options, these include: Animation, Art Therapy, Commercial Photography, Creative and editorial photography, Digital media, Fashion Photography, Film and Television, Film and Visual Culture, Forensic Photography, Graphics with Photography, Medical Photography, Visual Communication.

What career opportunities are there?

The career possibilities are very wide and include: Animator, Commercial and Fashion Photographer, Filmmaker, Photojournalist, Magazine Editor, Researcher, Commercial Art Gallery Manager, Gallery/Museum Curator, Gallery Assistant, Arts Educator, Brand Ambassador/Sales Promotion Executives, Multimedia Specialist, Community Arts Worker, Advertising Art Director, Marketing Assistants, Web Editor, Medical and Nature Photographer, Social and Sports Photographer Photographic Studio Technician, Visual Merchandising.

Syllabus: A Level Art and Design: Photography
Examination Board: AQA
More information: Miss V Parker