Bachelor of Fine Arts: Photo Media Course Outline
The Bachelor of Fine Arts: Photo Media specialism 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.
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.
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.
Photo Media graduates will be well-positioned to embark on dynamic and creative careers. Alumni for the specialism have established their own commercial and fine arts practices assisted professional photographers and worked in galleries, photo labs, and for photographic agencies and producers.
The uniqueness of the Whitecliffe Bachelor of Fine Arts qualification is that it begins by aligning the subjects of Fine Arts and Photo Media (Photography and the Media Arts) together, allowing students to experiment with all forms of working before choosing to focus on a specialism for further study. This means Whitecliffe graduates are better prepared to work across new and traditional fields of contemporary arts practice utilising these highly sought-after transferable skills in an increasingly wide range of industries after graduating.
Whitecliffe's Form Gallery provides an excellent site for students, alumni, faculty, and visiting artists to exhibit. These exhibitions provide insight into professional contemporary practice and help students to connect with the wider arts community.
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.
Bachelor of Fine Arts: Photo Media Year One
All Bachelor of Fine Arts students will be required to complete the following four compulsory 15 credit courses in the first semester.
- FA7501 Critical and Contextual IA
Critical and contextual Introduction offers students the essential tools to confidently approach the development of their critical and contextual research and its application to studio practice.
- FA7502 Materials and Processes
A practical study into a range of art making processes and application including drawing, painting, screen printing, and 3D object making.
- FA7512 Photography and the Media Arts
A practical study into a range of lens-based processes, methodologies, and technologies. The course introduces students to camera and lighting, moving image, and sound recording.
- FA7522 Visual Thinking
An introduction to methods of visual research. Facilitates an introductory understanding of the fundamental research processes supporting the development of a studio-based practice.
After completing Semester One in their first year, students will then enrol in 7504 Studio I (45 credits), and 7503 Critical and Contextual (15 credits). These two courses interrelate with each other and provide the basis for students to create and develop their own ideas and creative outcomes and allow them to choose their specialism in Year Two.
Years 2 + 3 follow the same format (45 credit Studio and 15 credit Critical and Contextual courses) per Semester. Students select either Fine Arts or Photo Media as their specialism for the remainder of the degree.
Bachelor of Fine Arts: Photo Media Year Two
Year Two focuses on the 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 work in their studio spaces to develop a lens-based practice as a response to their encounter with the world.
Bachelor of Fine Arts: 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.
Visiting artists and practitioners talk frankly to students about 'real world' working conditions. The Whitecliffe internship programme exposes them to industry standards and helps set up a network of connections for their future.
Life After a Bachelor of Fine Arts: 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 team, 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.
Key Information for Students
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
- MacBook Air with M1 Chip
- 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
- Apple macOS Mojave (version 10.14) or later
- Internet and data plan.
- 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.
Matt EllwoodHead of School, Fine Arts
Matt Ellwood completed his undergraduate studies at Auckland University’s Elam School of Fine Arts and has a PGDip in Teaching from Auckland College of Education.Continue reading
Dr Yolunda HickmanProgramme Leader, Fine Arts Postgraduate Programmes
Yolunda Hickman completed her MFA at Elam in 2013 and is a current Doctoral candidate there with a focus on the visual semiotics and limitations of communication systems.Continue reading
David CowlardProgramme Leader, BFA Photo Media
David is a documentary and editorial photographer, digital producer, writer and field recordist.Continue reading
Richard MaloyProgramme Leader, BFA Fine Arts
Richard completed his MFA from the University of Auckland in 2001. He employs a multi-disciplinary practice including; sculpture, photography, installation plus more.Continue reading
Lynnemaree PattersonProgramme Leader, Certificate in Arts + Design
Lynnemaree received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Whitecliffe College in 2005. Prior to that she taught Expressive Arts in Papua New Guinea.Continue reading
Henry SymondsSenior Lecturer, School of Fine Arts
Henry Symonds completed his undergraduate studies at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town.Continue reading
Christina ReadSenior Lecturer, School of Fine Arts
Christina Read emigrated from the United Kingdom in 2003. She has an MFA from Elam School of Fine Art, University of Auckland.Continue reading
Noel IvanoffSenior Lecturer, School of Fine Arts
Noel completed his undergraduate studies at the School of Art, Otago Polytechnic before completing a certificate in advanced studies at St Martins School of Art in London.Continue reading
Leon MitchellProgramme Delivery Coordinator, BFA
Leon graduated from Whitecliffe College in 2006 with a BFA majoring in Photography.Continue reading
Caryline BorehamLecturer, School of Fine Arts
Caryline holds an MFA from the University of Auckland and was the recipient of the 2010 Elam School of Fine Arts Post Graduate Photography Prize. Working predominantly in the mediums of photography, video and sound, her practice is concerned with an ongoing exploration of the built environment with a particular interest in how people inhabit and interpret their surroundings. Caryline’s work has been exhibited and published in New Zealand, Australia, North America and Europe. Internationally she has received nominations for the Prix Pictet Photography Prize in 2013 and 2016; with her work being featured in the 2017 Prix Pictet ‘Space’ publication. Her work is held in public and private collections including the Wallace Arts Trust Collection.Continue reading
Dr Julia TealeLecturer, School of Fine Arts
Dr Julia Teale gained her PhD from the University of Auckland and her MFA at the University of Cape Town, Higher Dip Fine Art, Technikon Natal.Continue reading
Matt DowmanLecturer, School of Fine Arts
Matt Dowman received his BFA from Whitecliffe in 2002, and a MFA with honours from Auckland University’s Elam School of Fine Arts in 2004.Continue reading
Rose MeyerLecturer, School of Fine Arts
Rose Meyer gained a Master of Fine Art with First Class Honours in 2015 and a Post Graduate Diploma of Arts Management with Distinction in 2017 at Whitecliffe College.Continue reading
Jill SorensenLecturer, School of Fine Arts
Jill completed her undergraduate studies in 1991 at the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales, Australia and gained an MFA with First Class Honours.Continue reading
Glen SnowLecturer, School of Fine Arts
Glen gained his Master of Fine Arts at the Elam School of Fine Arts, Auckland University, in 2012.Continue reading
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
Photo Lab Professional
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