Back in 2015 it was in the back of my mind to get a professional qualification for my photography. So I explored the possibility of going to University and seeing what they had to offer. Luckily for me the local University ( Northampton ) ran a course BA ( Hons ) Photography, so with a little bit of hesitation I applied and was called in for a interview.
I presented various pictures , street photography and gig photography at the interview and they obviously went down well as I was invited to enrol on the course!
Come September 2015 and I arrived at University for a welcome week , one word to describe this ...daunting! Almost everyone was so much younger than me , I sat in the restaurant and wondered if I had made the right decision. Onto the lectures and modules. I learnt about reading the image, concepts of photography, design , darkroom practises and lots of theory which was quite daunting for me personally, I do not regard myself as having great academic prowess! Year one was full of ups and downs , I really felt out of my comfort zone but I got through with good grades a mixture of a solitary A and three B's , this was quite an achievement as my youngest was still at Nursery and I had to miss the Monday afternoon sessions to pick him up. Highlights of year 1 included some street photography down Brick Lane, London, images taken at the David Bowie mural in Brixton just days after his sad death and light trails at a fairground.
Onto Year 2, this one mattered as unlike the first year some of the grades would go forward to Year 3 and the final classification. Four modules and a big year. I selected the two modules to concentrate on which were 'double weighted' in the grading system. Time is precious so I thought concentrate on these modules and just get through the other ones!The plan worked well as the two main modules one which included an exhibition gained me my highest grades yet, I even got an A for a design module, to be honest that was the module for me, I was so comfortable with the content! I also did my identity project and went back to my time in Finance and photographed myself wearing a Pig mask , the theme was 'corporate pig' and 'greed' loosely based on the Pink Floyd album 'Animals' which in turn was influenced by George Orwells Animal Farm, this worked well along with a mock horror video I produced, this was more experimental but still very well recieved.
A Summer of concern followed yr 2 as there was an illness in the family which took up a lot of my time and was playing on my mind. Year 3 nearly did not happen for me but I decided to get it done. Time again was precious but with only two modules in this the final year I felt comfortable enough to continue and hopefully finish my studies. It took me an age to get going with my big exhibition project , so many ideas going through my head , in the end I settled on a portrait based project. I photographed people I knew through social media but had never met. Lecturers warmed to the project and encouraged me to move forward with it , it was January by the time I started to shoot and I had it all done within a month or so, there was a 5000 word contextual report to write too. To be honest with all going on in life outside of University I just wanted to get through and the aim was to get a good enough grade to move forward and apply for a Masters. The other module in year 3 was a career development module , this was comfortable for me , my business was already up and running and for this module I received another A . I knew I was on my way to a 2 :1 and so did the Lecturers , after a few chats they almost encouraged me to just get through as they knew I have a lot of external commitments and with that in mind I more or less downed tools and felt comfortable enough that the exhibition project research and 5000 word contextual report are adequate without being thorough, I was 'winging' it a bit hoping that the quality of my photography would get me through...it did!