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Arts University Bournemouth: Photography

Institution Arts University Bournemouth
Department Bournemouth Film School
Study type Taught


MA Photography is the perfect springboard for ambitious photographers wishing to become practitioners at the forefront of the industry. The course is designed for ambitious photography graduates, or experienced photographers who wish to develop their knowledge and expertise in order to reach the very top of their field. We look for students with a passion for the subject and who are willing to take risks, and in doing so push themselves to new heights.

What you will learn This course offers the opportunity to study in the genres of advertising, fashion, editorial or documentary photography, whichever genre you choose to pursue will define your experience of the course. In each genre you will develop a comprehensive understanding of techniques and knowledge relevant to that specialism combined with a critical awareness of developments in that area of professional practice.

Highly practice-focused, the course offers an exciting combination of art and commerce and comprises of three units. This is to allow the production of substantial bodies of work that could become an exhibition or publication.

The course is founded on the assertion that commercial photography is a powerful form of mass communication that potentially connects with an audience of millions. What defines it as commercial is that it is conceived and created with a specific audience in mind, conscious of how meaning is affected by socio-political criteria. The course is structured in such a way that learning develops systematically and with an emphasis on the independent learning abilities required for continuing professional development and the advancement of your career. By a combined approach of practice, theory and professionalism, the course will provide a challenging and stimulating environment in which you are able to develop your full potential, with the aim of becoming a practitioner at the forefront of the discipline. You will expand your commercial potential by applying genre practices across contexts; for example, the aesthetics of documentary can be applied to advertising, editorial, and fashion outcomes.

The course enables you to develop an in-depth and critically informed understanding of the commercial photography industry. You will engage with key themes in emerging and established critical analyses that underpin each professional genre. This will equip you with the theoretical understanding to progress your practice and effectively articulate your concepts through the production of advanced outcomes to specialist and non-specialist audiences.

These specialist areas of study will be supported by the staff team who have extensive commercial experience and specialist knowledge. Several of the staff are leading practitioners in their field with decades of industry experience. In addition, there will be a team of well-known and respected industry practitioners, including not just photographers, but associated roles such as agents and picture editors, to act as mentors and visiting tutors.

By the end of the course you will be able to... - Produce complex and advanced work that is informed by critical debates at the forefront of the discipline, and evidences originality in the application of ideas.

  • Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of photographic genres and commercial contexts, and communicate effectively through the presentation of visual outcomes to targeted and wider audiences.

  • Demonstrate and apply in-depth conceptual, practical and professional understanding of current practices and techniques to innovative commercial outcomes.

  • Critically reflect upon your work in order to direct and advance your professional practice through the development of high-level image making skills.

  • Act autonomously in the production of solutions to complex problems, and advance your career through the continued development of entrepreneurial skills.


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