GCSE Photography Project Book

Photography for school has been changed out of all recognition with the introduction of digital technology. Before this, photography was a slow, expensive and intricate process which required special equipment and materials. Photography has been freed by new technology, but for all the changes some things have stayed the same. It was my aim with this book to use digital photography as a means of creatng new art work but at the same time acknowledging where photography came from. To this end I have conciously used examples of photography from the past 100+ years. Whilst the means of production might have changed dramatically the ideas behind the pictures remain constant, as do the key themes of photography.

One of the key skills in art and design is learning how to analyse an image. Using a simple WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE and HOW system students can being to look at photographs in a more detailed and considered way.

The key themes of Still Life (including Macro), Portraiture, Landscapes, Movement, Colour, Documentary and Viewpoints are looked at as project starting points. Technical ideas, were appropriate are introduced, although this book is focussed more on increasing students awareness of the role of photography than it is on specific tricks or equipment. I have also included an extra project based on Garry Winogrand’s book ‘The Animals’. This book, published in the late 1960’s looks at New York Zoo. In addition I’ve looked at a more contemporary zoo project by Morgan Silk to see what comparisons can be made between the two, and to look at how time has changed perceptions towards zoos. In the course of my teaching I have twice taught photography in schools with local zoos. On both occasions I have found the zoos extremely obliging, providing free entrance for students which has enabled students to mirror photographic work in their own way.

Photography, whilst cheaper and easier today than it has ever been, is nonetheless requiring a level of investment. I’ve attempted to keep the projects possible even with only basic equipment. They could even be tackled using film if the resources allowed. Too much of photographic thinking revolves around equipment and I’d like to get students thinking and looking more than worrying about the equipment.

Photography can be used either as an add-on to GCSE Art and Design or as a discrete subject in it’s own right. This book could be used to support either route.

I have taught Art and Design and Photography since 1996, during my experience I have used it as a GCSE subject as well as a vehicle for illustrating school magazine and websites. Students have constantly surprised me with their ability and unique points of view. Photography today can easily be produced and reproduced, I’ve included some ideas about publishing photo books, using websites and social media and creating exhibitions. Much of my teaching experience has been with SEMH and ASD students, including spells working in secure units, without exception photography has been a popular subject and the unlikeliest of students have produced some incredible work. I hope this book proves useful to you and I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions.