Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photo Media

Photography and the Media Arts, now more than ever, are essential vehicles for personal expression, collaborative communication, and the delivery of powerful personal, documentary, and brand stories.

The Photo Media specialisation places emphasis on contemporary fine art photographic and moving image practice, historical contextual learning, current theoretical concerns, and best practice industry expectations. Students will consider the formal and technical aspects of photography and video as well as the theory and debate surrounding lens-based image-making today.

Key dates

February 2022 Intake 14 • 02 • 22

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Duration

3 years full-time in Auckland

Qualification

Bachelor's Degree (Level 7) 360 credits

Costs

2021 Domestic $9,051 + $300 Student Services Levy
2021 International $27,000 + $300 Student Services Levy
Fees free applies
All 2021 fees are subject to change and regulatory approval

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Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photo Media Course Outline

The programme is underpinned by the delivery of essential skills, techniques, and methodologies to foster students’ creative, practical, and contextual development. Students develop this creative potential while gaining an understanding of professional practice applicable to the photographic and wider communications and media industries. Photo Media students are supported in working on projects that are realised in the form of exhibitions, screenings, and publications.

Photo Media graduates will be well-positioned to embark on dynamic and creative careers. Alumni of the pathway have established their own commercial and fine art practices, assisted professional photographers, and worked in galleries, photo labs, and for photographic agencies and producers.

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Why choose Photo Media at Whitecliffe?

  • Photography and moving image increasingly play a crucial part and ever-changing role in contemporary art practice. Via lens-based arts we engage with fact, fiction, and fantasy - and the place where they intersect. Constant advances in wireless technologies, cameras, data storage, and social networking deliver images from anyone to anywhere, in real-time. Still and moving images are central to the ongoing development of contemporary art practices and exhibitions. Images can seduce the consumer and represent our inner selves. Video is now widely recognised as the literacy of the 21st century and images are embedded into our very culture while retaining their power to harness memory and their storytelling potential.
  • The Photo Media pathway at Whitecliffe charts this exciting new territory in the related areas of Photography, Fine Art, and New Media.
  • The programme engages with this expanding definition of lens-based media, with an emphasis on Fine Art Photography, Sound and Moving Image, and the Photobook. Students work in their studio spaces to develop a unique photographic practice, supported by electives and workshops that deliver rigorous technical instruction. Entrepreneurship studies and internships ensure students have a clear sense of commercial and professional expectations upon graduating. Contextual studies allow students to position their own ideas within a framework of historical and contemporary art and lens-based theory.
  • A committed, enthusiastic team delivers the Photo Media programme. The department draws on experienced lecturers, including established and award-winning practitioners from visual arts, commercial, editorial, and theoretical backgrounds. There is a strong research culture within the department, with lecturers engaged in their own commercial and fine art practices as well as in academic research.
  • Whitecliffe faculty have active and productive relationships with both the commercial and fine arts arenas: practicing photographers, artists, and industry specialists regularly take part in artist talks, tutorials, critiques, and workshops.
  • Many alumni are working full-time in their own photographic practices, or in creative industry-related fields. Graduates excel in national art awards; exhibit in local and international galleries and have their work published.
  • Each year a number of top graduates choose to expand their investigations into further academic research at a postgraduate level.
EOY2020 PHM

The Whitecliffe BFA

The Whitecliffe BFA has evolved significantly over the past two decades, with content and delivery modes shifting and changing with developing technologies and the changing needs of students, creative sector demands, and future employability.

In response to these shifts, Whitecliffe is remodelling the Bachelor of Fine Arts qualification to specifically align with the subjects of Fine Arts and Photo Media. We aim to offer this combined suite of products that continue to honour the Whitecliffe Art and Design reputation, while also being relevant and innovative in the current industry market and arts community. Our suite of Photo Media specific courses are increasingly valuable in a changing digital world, so much so that we aim to offer core learning in this area to every Whitecliffe BFA Year 1 student. The proposed changes to the programme as a whole, aim to strike a balance between traditional art making methodologies, contexts, and histories with the embracement of new media, technologies, and contemporary relevance.

The Bachelor of Fine Arts programme is life-long career-focused and builds desirable supplementary soft skills, encouraging independent thinking and creative entrepreneurship where students from different social and economic backgrounds develop and apply the confidence, adaptability, and ethical sensibilities necessary to make a significant contribution to our society.

The Whitecliffe BFA continues to produce high-quality graduates that are creative, critical, and connected thinkers. By providing life-transforming educational experiences through a combination of practice and critical study, we educate students to shape culture and become leaders in their fields.

Whitecliffe is now based in a newly renovated flagship campus. This campus provides a wide variety of high-quality spaces, classrooms, and other learning facilities, including a library; studio spaces; a darkroom; lighting studios; screen printing facilities; projection spaces; a range of different computer suites to support specific student and programme needs and a dedicated onsite gallery.

Students are encouraged to engage with the various aspects of digital media, drawing, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, installation, and video. Learning takes place within an integrated programme of studio-based and contextual courses that prepare students for a range of creative professions.

Mā te huruhuru ka rere te manu -
Adorn the bird with feathers so it may soar.

Workshop Week PHM

Photo Media Year One

Students wishing to specialise in Photo Media will be required to complete courses that introduce the fundamentals of lens-based practice and include a balance of contemporary and traditional skills, knowledge, and research.

The course content will include specialist photo-filmic topics such as Darkroom Processes, New Media, Contextual Studies in the territory of lens-based practice, and longer-term Studio Projects designed to support and develop the individual students’ area of interest in the context of contemporary lens-based practice.

EOY2020 PHM

Photo Media Year Two

Year Two focuses on the further development of individual practice research, experimentation, and art-making undertaken in the studio with an emphasis on student-directed outcomes. A series of project briefs support students to evaluate complex issues and discuss critical frameworks relevant to contemporary art practice.

Students have access seven days a week to modern adaptable studio spaces and specialist digital equipment within which to develop and display their work. They are supported by a range of photographic, lighting, and video equipment and the input of a highly-skilled technician. At the end of each Semester, students stage formal assessment exhibitions within these spaces which provide opportunities to showcase work, resolve ideas, and consider new directions.

Mahalia Rush

Photo Media Year Three

Students in their final year will engage with two important platforms for the creation and dissemination of their work: publication and exhibition. Semester one addresses the form of the Photobook. During this extended project, students generate a significant body of work that provides the material for their developing skills in editing, sequence, and series. Students engage with ideas around design, production, distribution, and the book as object. At the culmination of the project, the work is assessed and displayed at an open event.

In the second semester, students are supported in generative and experimental methodologies, across a range of digital and analogue media. The studio-based project sees student work refined and resolved through a series of Formal Critiques and supported by the development of an Artist Statement. The outcomes are presented and assessed in an end-of-year exhibition. In addition to these major projects, students receive ongoing technical tutorials, workshops, and specialist support in relevant areas including the use of medium and large format analogue cameras and advanced approaches to digital post-production and lighting. Students also receive ongoing advanced support for moving image and sound production.

Whitecliffe Photo Media graduates are strongly positioned within the exciting new territory opening up in expanded areas of Photography, Moving Image, and New Media.

The department supports and emphasises these evolving definitions of lens-based media. The ability to think into the future of visual imaging, both technically and conceptually, positions our graduates at the forefront of art and industry.

Photo Media study at Whitecliffe develops a deep understanding of the traditions and contemporary expressions of photography and video art. Students work in their studio spaces to develop a lens-based practice as a response to their encounter with the world.

Visiting artists and practitioners talk frankly to students about ‘real world’ working conditions. The Whitecliffe internship programme exposes them to industry standards and expectations and helps set up a network of connections for their future.

EOY2020 PHM

Life After BFA Photo Media

Photo Media graduates are positioned to maximise opportunities as practising lens-based artists in a visual world. Many graduates work as Freelance Photographers in their own businesses, collaborate in creative teams, or have found employment at Printing Labs, Photographic Studios, and as Assistants to well-respected Photographers. Alumni have also gone on to work as Producers, Post-production Artists, Curators, Gallery Assistants, and Magazine Editors. Each year several graduates continue into further academic research at postgraduate level.

Jono Kraettli

Key Information for Students

NZ Government key information link for students, that provides more information to support your decision making for this programme

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Admission Requirements

Domestic Student Entry Requirements:

  • Completed application form
  • Minimum age: Students must turn 17 within their first year of study at Whitecliffe
  • NCEA University Entrance or equivalent
  • CIE/IB award
  • Discretionary Entrance is available to students who have gained exceptional marks in NCEA Level 2 and wish to embark on higher-level study. These students must display a high level of motivation and maturity
  • Some of the above academic requirements may be waived for students over the age of 20
  • Interview: All applicants for this programme are interviewed, and students should come to the interview prepared to discuss their work and ideas freely
  • Portfolio: This is brought to the interview and should include between 12-24 examples of original work showing breadth of ability. The portfolio can be specific to one genre if that has been the student's body of work. Digital copies of your portfolio will also be accepted
  • Letter of Intent: A 250-word letter of intent outlining reasons for wanting to study the BFA programme and desired pathway


International Student Entry Requirements:

  • Completed application form
  • Passport copy
  • Minimum age: Students must turn 18 within their first year of study at Whitecliffe
  • IELTS Academic overall score of 6.0 with no band less than 5.5 or equivalent
  • Academic transcripts: School or previous tertiary results
  • Interview: All applicants for this programme are interviewed. International student interviews are conducted via telephone or online
  • Portfolio: This is brought to the interview and should include between 12-24 examples of original work showing breadth of ability. International students may submit their portfolio digitally
  • Letter of Intent: A 250-word letter of intent outlining reasons for wanting to study the BFA programme and desired pathway


BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Requirements:

This programme has Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) requirements, the following specifications will support you to be successful in your studies.

Required IT Specifications:

Minimum Hardware requirements

  • Mac - Intel processor with 64-bit support; 2 GHz or faster processor with SSE 4.2 or later
    OR 
  • MacBook Air with M1 Chip 
    OR 
  • Intel® or AMD processor with 64-bit support; 2 GHz or faster processor with SSE 4.2 or later 
  • 8 GB RAM (Recommended 16 GB)   
  • 250 GB SSD or higher hard drive with 10GB free space minimum    
  • Wireless capability 802.11n dual-band    
  • Up-to-date antivirus software    

Minimum Operating System     

  • Windows 10 (64-bit) version 1809 or later; LTSC versions are not supported
    OR     
  • Apple macOS Mojave (version 10.14) or later 
  • Internet and data plan.    

Not Supported:    

  • Chromebooks    
  • Windows X or Windows S OS    
  • Tablets (except Windows Surface Pro or iPad Pro)

Macbook Pro (preferred)
AND dedicated GPU (Graphics card)

May use Apple iPad Pro for drawing. 

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Where could this programme take you?

Photo Media graduates are positioned to maximise opportunities as practising lens-based artists in a visual world. Many graduates work as Freelance Photographers in their own businesses, collaborate in creative teams, or have found employment at Printing Labs, Photographic Studios, and as Assistants to well-respected Photographers. Alumni have also gone on to work as Producers, Post-production Artists, Curators, Gallery Assistants, and Magazine Editors. Each year several graduates continue into further academic research at postgraduate level.

Jobs related to this programme

Photographer

Producer

Videographer

Cinematographer

Studio Manager

Photographer's Assistant

Art Buyer

Curator

Gallery Assistant

Photo Lab Professional

Find out more about career opportunities

Talk to our team

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If you would like to ask us a question or request more information, please detail your enquiry using the form below. If you would like you can contact us directly on 0800 800 300, email us or use the contact us form.

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