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“One should really use the camera as though tomorrow you'd be stricken blind.” Dorothea Lange
Photography is taught at Key Stage 5. Situated in the Pym Building, the department is equipped with 21 high specification computers installed with Photoshop. Darkroom facilities are provided for those students wishing to explore and experiment with alternative processes or traditional black and white photography. Photography is taught within the Edexcel Art syllabus and, as such, explores photography as a form of communication and a means of expressing ideas and feelings. Work on display celebrates the technical progress and individual creative achievement of students on the course.
Photography is an exciting and popular course at Highworth and there are many opportunities for our students to become part of the school photography team or enter national and local competitions. Many of our students have moved to highly acclaimed courses at university. Students enjoy success and their work is often showcased locally, in national competitions and galleries, such as the Turner Contemporary and Mall Galleries London. Providing an exciting platform for further education with students achieving places at the most competitive universities or specialist Art or photography Colleges.
Head of Department
Mrs S Strand
Mrs J Morton
Mrs N Eaton-Baudains
An art related background is essential and all applicants will be expected to have studied either Photography or Art and Design to GCSE Grade 6 or above. Photography is not an easy option at A Level and you will need access to a Digital SLR camera as it will be essential for coursework assignments; A printer will also be useful.
The aims and objectives of the Pearson Edexcel Level 3 Advanced GCE in Fine Art Photography are to enable students to develop:
- An interest in, enthusiasm for and enjoyment of photography with independence of mind in developing, refining and communicating ideas, intentions and personal outcomes;
- The operations and principles of creating a photographic image, including the use of available and controlled light, lenses, cameras and light-sensitive material;
- Materials to be investigative, analytical, experimental, practical and technical including digital and non-digital, print and screen-based;
- Expressive skills, aesthetic understanding and critical judgement;
- How the formal elements evoke responses in the viewer;
- Methods of presentation of photographic images and the potential of collaborative working methodologies;
- An understanding of the inter-relationships between photography art, craft and design processes and an awareness of the contexts in which they operate;
- An awareness of different roles, functions, audiences and consumers of photography, preparing students for some prestigious courses and further education and employment.
Component 1: 60% of Final Mark
You will be expected to complete an exciting range of skill-based workshops looking at the formal elements of fine art photography: film photography and alternative processes; digital photography and new media; lens-based image making; film and video. You develop your Personal Investigation portfolio to a more sophisticated depth and breadth, continuing to work closely with a designated photography tutor who will be responsible for setting and marking your work each week, as you are set specific tasks to complete. You will create a personal theme to fulfil the expectations of the unit of coursework. You will be required to work in one or more of the disciplines to communicate your ideas. By working across disciplines, you will extend your understanding of the scope of photography; By focusing on one discipline, you will gain a deeper understanding of specific processes within photography. In the summer term of the first year, you will be expected to conduct extensive, focused and academic research into your Personal Study. A related written study of between 1000–3000 words will be completed in the first term of your second year. During this second year, you are encouraged to build upon skills and techniques learnt in order to produce a more considered body of coursework. The emphasis is on personal independent creative work, supported by regular tutorials and guidance. Visits to galleries and exhibitions will be used to enhance and develop your work.
Component 2: 40% of Final Mark
Your final assessment is the Externally Set Assignment which starts at the beginning of February of your second year. You are given a set starting point or theme and are expected to develop a body of preparatory work over eight weeks, followed by a 15 hour examination. During the 15 hour period of sustained focus under examination conditions, students will produce final outcome(s) extending from their preparatory studies in response to the Externally Set Assignment; This is normally spread over three days. Work must cover all four assessment objectives and will be marked by your Photography teachers before being moderated by an external moderator. We celebrate the work of our students each year with an impressive exhibition.
Assessment, Marking and Feedback
AO1 Develop ideas through sustained and focused investigations informed by contextual and other sources, demonstrating analytical and critical understanding.
AO2 Explore and select appropriate resources, media, materials, techniques and processes, reviewing and refining ideas as work develops.
AO3 Record ideas, observations and insights relevant to intentions, reflecting critically on work and progress.
AO4 Present a personal and meaningful response that realises intentions and, where appropriate, makes connections between visual and other elements.
Termly overall predicted grades are awarded. Coursework is taken in at interim assessment points to allow staff to standardise and also put in remedy for underperforming students. Students will be given regular verbal instruction after these assessment points and discussion. This verbal feedback is recorded in a journal in relation to the Edexcel marking scheme.
Weekly homework will be given and a mark recorded in the teacher’s planner. Verbal feedback on each independent task will be given to let students know if they are progressing towards their target grade and clear developments will be explained. Weekly mutually agreed individual targets for practical class work will be recorded by the teacher in the form of a journal. This journal works in relation with the Edexcel marking scheme.
Students are made aware of the mark scheme and assessment objectives, when setting new work and targets, to inform their decisions and progress. This lets them know how they are progressing, why they are achieving their current projected grade and how to get to their target grade. Students will receive Positive Events regularly because teachers will create opportunities for individuals to demonstrate the relevant qualities.
Department standardisation happens regularly to identify underachievers and challenge others to achieve ambitious target grades. Students are monitored closely and targets given are specific to their needs. Lesson planning is altered to meet the individual needs of the students, after the teacher has assessed their work in meeting national standards and exam board criteria.
Please click here for the A Level Edexcel Photography specification
Careers and Alumni
What careers might this subject lead to?
Most photographers follow a photographic path and work in the following areas:
- fine arts
- scientific and medical
- wedding and events
A photography A Level could help towards studying or working towards the following careers:
- magazine editor
- TV camera operator
- product design
- garment development
- web design
- TV or Film production
- digital art/ computer games
Many of our students go straight onto university courses and/or complete a one-year diploma (foundation studies) in general Art and Design. This allows them to learn more about the many options or specialisms available within art related courses. This can lead them to enter many competitive university choices or careers within the arts or photography and lens based medias.
Chloe May Lightfoot – Jewellery Maker
Chloe studied Art at GCSE and then Photography for A Level along with Textiles, English Literature and Human biology. She went onto the Foundation Programme at The Goldsmiths' Centre in Farringdon in London; it is an introduction to the jewellery trade so they covered different areas of the trade such as jewellery, Silversmithing and engraving. Now she is a diamond mounter apprentice which is a 5 year apprenticeship in a jewellers on Hatton Garden. She won a gold award and the junior award in the Goldsmiths’ Craft and Design Council awards for a platinum brooch in the shape of a rose.
Chloe says she really enjoy making jewellery:
“I don’t necessarily get to design all new items. Most of the time I am given a design to copy but I can still be very creative. It is nice to be able to make a piece of jewellery that somebody will treasure and wear all of the time.”
George Mcgoldrick- Artist
George studied Art and Photography at Highworth. He then left for UCA Canterbury to complete his foundation Studies in Fine art and went on to secure a place at Oxford’s prestigious Ruskin School of Fine Art, achieving a 1st class honours degree this summer 2017.
Fleur Twynam – Fashion
Fleur studied Art and Photography at Highworth and then studied at UCA Canterbury, completing her BTEC National diploma (Foundation course). She attended Northumbria, studying Fashion Design. Fleur said that the course was enjoyable, hard work and stressful at times but good! She loves it for industry standards and connections, along with the placement year being great experience. It is a good extra if anyone's considering a course with a sandwich year. She had her collection shown at London Graduate Fashion Week before securing a placement at Old Navy in San Francisco.
Hal Haines – Photographer
Hal studied Photography at Highworth and is now a photographer and ceramicist. His output ranges from still life and portraiture to reportage and visual storytelling. Based between London and Sussex, he has worked internationally for the last seven years.
Here is a link to his website: https://www.halhaines.com
Holly Chapman – Photographer
Holly studied photography at Highworth. She now works as a photographer and junior fashion assistant at Vogue, working alongside famous photographers such as British fashion photographer John Rankin.
See her Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/hollylouisechapman/
Holly Cunningham- Fashion
Holly studied Art at GCSE, then photography at A Level. She left to study at the London College of Fashion and completed an internship at Vivienne Westwood. She was a former Fashion Assistant at Hunger Magazine and is now Executive Assistant at Emilia Wickstead.
Mathew Wight – Visual Effects
Mathew studied Photography A Levels at Highworth before studying The Art of Visual Effects (BA) at Escape Studios (part of Pearson College London).
"When I graduated from Escape Studios in May last year I had all the tools I needed to get a job in the film industry doing Visual Effects. I applied for a lot of jobs and was very lucky to get a position as Paint and Roto Artist at Framestore in London, one of the leading Visual Effects houses in the world. Since I started work in June last year I have worked on many films including Lady and The Tramp (2019), Dolittle (2019), Wonder Woman 1984 (2020), No Time to Die (2020), The Kings Man (2020) and Tom and Jerry (2020)."
Niamh Hejsak – Photographer
Niamh studied Photography at Highworth before going on to study Photography at Falmouth University.
"Currently based in London, I am a conceptual art-based photographer working mostly with analogue processes, exploring themes around experience, time, fear and desire."
Here is a link to her website: https://www.niamhhejsak.com/home-2
Octavia Hersden- Illustration
Octavia studied Art and Photography before going straight onto a degree course. She is currently just finishing her third year at Portsmouth university and publishing a children’s reference book.
Zoe Stromberg – Creative Content Manager
Zoe studied Art and Photography before going on to a Foundation Diploma at UCA. She studied Design at Goldsmiths University, going on to work as a designer for The Tom Sawyer Effect and Unity PR. She now works for the British Transport Police as their creative content manager where she is in charge of media planning, asset creation, print design and creative ideation.
For Years 7-9, is held weekly in terms 1-3 and run by Prefects and/or Subject Ambassadors.
Open studios – GCSE students are encouraged to work in the studio supervised by their art teacher on a designated lunchtime.
Trips and visits
Warner Brothers Harry Potter Studio tour
Plus visiting artists for workshops or primary workshops.
Highworth student's Images Published in Vogue
We are very proud of Jude Swan from 13KK who has had a range of his photographs from London Fashion Week published in an article in Vogue.
The Ashford Photography Society
The Ashford Photography society are to host their annual local interschool competition presentation evening on 22 January 2019 at Highworth Grammar School from 6:30pm.
I am pleased to be able to tell you that the following Highworth students have received an award in this year’s competition and we await with anticipation the final placing for them and the announcement of the overall school shield.
Eden Smith for “Lamp”
Bethany Mitchell for “Delicate”, “My Brother” & “Cheeky”
Tabitha Fooks for “Dusk” & “Countrylife”
Niamh Ziegenfuss for “Big Night Out”
Amelia Rudzinski for “Hello”
Isla Fuller for “Wreck”
Julia Ellul for “Paradise”
Sophie Martin for “Scrap Metal”
Daisy Edmed for “Trail Of Light” & “Untitled – Annabelle Waters for “The Viewing Tunnel”, “The Couple”, “The Traveller” & "Shaft Of Light”
David Hawkins for “Cockerel”
Kelsey Pattemore for “Freeze Time”
Emily Foster for “Power”
Weronika Czernichowska for “Kabeer”
Laura Paredes for “Shrinkwrapped”, “Daisy”, “Sparkle” & “Elodie In Pink”
An award comprises either 1st, 2nd or 3rd in each age/category. 1st place award comprises a trophy, certificate and prize. 2nd & 3rd place awards comprise a certificate.