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Photography BA(Hons)

Attendance UCAS code Year of entry
3 years full time W640 2015

See the Unistats data for this course

Why choose this course?

This course is ideal if you would like to explore a broad range of approaches to photography and if you are interested in the potential that a background in fine art photography offers. You will explore ideas and develop skills applicable to contexts such as advertising, architecture, documentary, fashion, contemporary art, interiors, publishing and travel photography.

What will you study?

You will develop your creative ability and technical skills through a series of set and self-initiated projects. As you progress through the course, your work will become increasingly independent. You will have opportunities to work creatively with your peers on other art and design degrees at Kingston as well as outside agencies. Your practical studies will be underpinned by modules covering the critical and historical contexts of photography, together with career-focused modules that highlight professional opportunities across the creative industries.

Year 1 introduces a range of photography practices, with emphasis placed on the creative development of ideas through photography in ways that link the conceptual basis of creative photography to an enquiry into its diverse forms. You will be encouraged to investigate both familiar and new areas of photography practice. Option modules allow you to choose between a programme of art history and contextual studies or a language.

Year 2 enables you to develop your photography and build on your understanding of the range of practices developed in Year 1. You will identify areas of practice within which to specialise, and will set out to understand the context for your chosen areas of practice in terms of their conceptual, historical and theoretical basis.

Year 3 will enable you to develop a personal practice and to realise photographic work that is both creative and innovative. You will pursue your ambitions to work in appropriate aesthetic, conceptual and professional terms. Finally, you will present your work in ways appropriate to your areas of practice and ambitions beyond the completion of the course.

Module listing

Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list. Those listed here may also be a mixture of core and optional modules.

Year 1

  • This module introduces the course. It introduces learning through projects, which lead from thematic and conceptual to self-initiated and developmental projects. You develop a body of work that is "personal photography" – an independent practice rather than a response to set project briefs.

    This photography work should develop from personal concerns which you may have engaged with during the set projects or which may come out of work made independently. You are responsible for keeping a reflective journal which shows the background to the development of your photography and personal work, in which thoughts, processes and research are compiled. Summative assessment will take place at the end of the module.

  • This module focuses on the development of an array of production skills to expand and enhance your development of a photographic language. It begins by introducing learning through skills-based projects, which lead from thematic and conceptual to self-initiated and developmental projects. Each project will have a written introduction, group seminar and a series of group project reviews.

    Throughout the year you continue to develop yourr production skills alongside a portfolio of independent practice. This is informed through a lecture programme and individual tutorials delivered by photographers from diverse areas of practice, workshops, seminars, group and individual tutorials, and a reflective journal. Summative assessment will take place at the end of the module.

  • In this module you develop independent photography and examine the implications of different modes of presentation on their photography. You develop appropriate methods of presentation for your personal photography through tutorials, workshops and your contribution to the seminar programme where you show and discuss work in progress to your peer group. You produce photographic books and a reflective journal. Summative assessment will take place at the end of the module.

  • This module introduces the various contexts in which the contemporary practices of art, photography and independent filmmaking are defined, debated and displayed. Designed to support your first steps as practitioners within the wider field of the visual arts in the 21st century, through lectures, discussions, screenings and exhibition visits, you will be introduced to the historical framework of modernity and post-modernity in order to understand the development and contemporary situation of their own discipline.

    The module is organised as discrete but related teaching blocks that progress from broader questions of cultural practice to the more specific debates that have framed the historical development of the related practices of fine art, independent film and photography. In the first block, emphasis is placed on the notion of practice in the visual arts by addressing the historical, theoretical, social and political factors that have affected our understanding of its function. In the second block, you will pursue programme-specific strands that focus on the key debates, theoretical questions and changing contexts of each discipline. Throughout there is an emphasis on the introduction of key analytical, critical and research skills, and through close engagement with visual sources, historical texts and contemporary critical writing you will begin to develop the tools necessary to discuss, conceptualise and reflect on your own emerging practice.


Year 2

  • You develop portfolios of independent photography and a journal that demonstrate a growing awareness of the photographic specialism or context to which your photography relates. The development of an independent photographic practice is supported through group seminars, lectures, workshops and tutorials. You research the historical and contemporary context of that specialism and deliver seminars in which you visually contextualise their practice. Elective 'slide seminars' in which your work is seen immersed within examples of photography from diverse professional contexts act as a platform for discussion of style, aesthetics and ideas. 

  • You are supported to further develop identified technical skills and knowledge through participation in a series of analytical studio-based workshops. You are encouraged to build and extend this expertise through the development of your own independent practice. You also have the opportunity to participate in collaborative projects in the fields of fine art, advertising, live art and fashion photography. The module also enables you to further develop your confidence in working critically as individuals and in groups. You continue to use journals as a means of analysing your practice, context, research and making evident your thinking and working processes – as well as mapping expertise acquired.

  • On this module you will consider the implications of different modes of presentation on your evolving independent photographic practices. You will develop a new body of photographic work which form the core of your portfolio and end of module presentation. You will produce and present a body work conceived and delivered as a group exhibition / publication as an introduction to professional development which is explored more fully at Level 6 (Year 3). This is designed to help you start the process of developing the skills that will equip them for professional life. Teaching is delivered through lectures, seminars, workshops and tutorials. A series of theoretical lectures complement the practical aspects of the module.

  • Building on the historical contexts introduced at Level 4 (Year 1), this module concentrates on the theoretical frameworks in which photography is produced, consumed and interpreted today. Introducing case studies emerging from current trends in contemporary photographic practice, the module is taught as a combination of lecture, seminar, workshop and exhibition visits through which you will be encouraged and enabled to identify and experience the vital links between practice and research. The political, social, philosophical and aesthetic issues driving current practice will be introduced via lecture and seminar discussion, focused and deepened through independent reading and research, and applied and evaluated through workshops on research practice. With reference to key texts that have informed the development of photographic theory, you will acquire the knowledge and analytical skills to build a framework within which to engage with the critical contexts in which photography operates. You will also develop research methods appropriate to the study and practice of their discipline, propose an area of research for development at Level 6, and begin to contextualise and make sense of the concerns emerging in your own practice.


Year 3

  • This module is concerned with you consolidating theoretical, practical and research processes that are embedded within your individual photographic practices. Within this module you produce a journal (personal development planning) in which you evidence your working processes: the various stages within the development of your ideas, the development of appropriate technical modes of recording and producing photographs, your evolving research processes and the ways in which you integrate your individual responses to your growing awareness of the contemporary context and research to which your work relates. This module dovetails with the Contextual and Critical Research module in which you realise your final body of photography.

  • This module is concerned with realising a coherent body of independent photography. Dovetailing with the Independent Practice: Production and Portfolio module (in which you progress and consolidate the thinking, technical production and research processes of your practice that are evident in your journal (personal development planning)), you develop and apply skills of editing, selection, sequencing, printing and presentation to produce a final body of photography.

  • In this module you consider and realise appropriate modes of presentation for your photography. In January you participate in a workshop where you test out presentation modes and examine how these effect the reading of your photography. The module culminates in the preparation of a presentation of your major body of work, the 'capstone' project, which will be exhibited at the degree show in June.

    The module is concerned with analysing how different modes of presentation for photography are utilised in diverse professional contexts. You develop appropriate presentation modes for your individual practice whilst also considering the wider context of a large, diverse group exhibition, in releation to relationship to diverse photographic contexts.

  • Building on the links between research and practice embedded at Level 5, this module focuses on in-depth research, critical enquiry and reflection on questions and critical issues emerging in your own practice, and pertinent to the practice of your own discipline.

    During the module, you will initiate and develop an individual research topic; identify and evaluate appropriate archives, bodies of critical literature, visual/material sources and research methods; manage their study time; engage with and respond to tutorial dialogue and peer feedback, and apply critical and analytical skills to produce a 6,000-word written dissertation, supported by a series of lectures, seminars and tutorials.

    Following the submission of the dissertation, and to support the realisation of studio capstone projects, you will be assisted with the conception and development of an individual statement that enables self-reflection and locates students within the contemporary contexts of their discipline. Consolidating the research, reflexive and critical skills acquired throughout students' programme of study, the statement engages and applies learning undertaken within previous modules to studio practice, supporting your self-presentation at Degree Show, in future postgraduate study, and/or professional practice in a variety of art and design contexts.


You will have the opportunity to study a foreign language, free of charge, during your time at the University on a not-for-credit basis as part of the Kingston Language Scheme. Options currently include: Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

Most of our undergraduate courses support studying or working abroad through the University's study abroad programme or Erasmus programme.

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