A picture is worth a thousand words.
A statement this powerful captures, in essence, the concept and ideology of photography. We explore a day in the life of a Photography Student at Prestige Academy.
“The photography student experiences a journey which is very much like a rollercoaster ride. It’s exciting and things change constantly. They are challenged to deliver excellent work from start to finish, film to exhibition and theory to a portfolio,” says Mr. Jaco Blom, Photography Lecturer in the Faculty of Arts & Design.
As a photography student, you will be introduced to unknown concepts starting at analogue photography using film and developing these photos in a darkroom. From there you will learn about digital photography basics like camera settings and modes. You’ll also get the theoretical knowledge you’ll need to gain insight into the photography world. For instance, do you know how the first photo was made? You’ll learn that in the Photography History module.
Photography is a “let’s get down to business and do” type of course. It is the practical work that makes it so much fun. Apart from that, you will go on outings and a camp. These include beach shoots, night shoots, landscape photography in the field, star trailing, and going on a photography camp to Buffelsfontein where you will learn how to do wildlife photography.
You will also visit interesting places such as Butterfly World and Intaka Island, known for its variety of butterflies and bird species. What is really exciting is that the photography course has an open syllabus. This means that you will be given a certain topic but it will be up to you to plan your day and experiment as well as taking initiative in and out of the classroom. You can shoot on location, in studio or work on your photography tasks in class. There are periods where you will work as a team in a group environment but you will also get to enjoy the time where you will edit your photos via Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom in class.
Mr. Blom will be there every step of the way to support and guide you and also give you the freedom to express yourself through your own unique photography style. Mr. Blom himself has years of photography experience and has an editorial, fashion, and conceptual lecturing style. You will be well prepared in class before taking photos. Through a demo shoot, your lecturer will demonstrate certain photography elements and styles and you will get the chance to watch, learn and ask questions. From there you will do a test shoot and then, finally, you will take the photos that will be critiqued by your lecturer.
First-year students get to work in conjunction with the make-up students where body painting is applied to models and photos are taken. This is the first introduction to nude photography. There are a few laughs here and there but through a guided process you will learn how to professionally take photos that tell a story.
Apart from theory and practical work you will also prepare for an amazing exhibition that counts towards your practical examination mark. Students are given different responsibilities that form part of their tasks for the exhibition – from organizing a guest speaker, a centerpiece as well as planning the decor and music, you will definitely feel like you are part of creating this special event.
The fun doesn’t stop here. What you learn in class prepares you for the end of year exhibition. What is really great is that you will learn how to create a visual diary where you will plan your photo shoot. You will also set up a timetable that will contain your schedule where you will for instance plan the days where you will source your model, do location scouting, choose your wardrobe, do your test shoot, do the actual shoot and when you are going to print your photos.
You will also learn how to create a mood board and scamps (basic ideas of what you will be photographing). Then there is a rationale where you will develop your concept through a step by step explanation of what you are planning to do. You will do some research on other artists that inspire you and you will also create a mind map where you will list all the things that you need in order to have a successful photo shoot. From there you will print smaller photos of the actual photos you took. This is called mock-up printing where you will check the colour, exposure and photo quality. The end result gets printed and then mounted to a board and a frame is added.
Second-year photography students learn about medium and large format shooting as well as how to use infrared photography, create a time-lapse and short video clips. You will also have to hand in a portfolio that has to be visually and aesthetically appealing and demonstrates your knowledge and skills. This portfolio gets handed into your lecturer who gives you important and honest feedback.
All in all, you will develop the skills needed to have a successful career in the photography industry. Mr. Blom has had many students give amazing feedback on how far their studies have taken them and some of these students have their own businesses and studios or ended up working as professional photographers for well-known magazines and newspapers.
As a photography student, each day will be unique and exciting and will prepare you for a life where every photo captured definitely is worth a thousand words!
Some of our student work: