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Photojournalism Career

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Similarly, to the documentary photography research, I felt I should look into photojournalism – another career path that interests me.

I have again highlighted key information that I feel is important to know when approaching photojournalism as a career path, highlighting skills that I know I need to have/develop further. It also highlights the best places to look for jobs where I feel I will be most valuable.

Example of Career Requirements

Degree Level No degree requirements; bachelor’s degree may help improve employability
Degree Field Photojournalism
Licensure/Certification No licensure or certification needed, but membership in the American Society of Media Photographers can offer professional resources and networking opportunities
Experience Internships available; professional portfolio is required
Key Skills Stress-management; ability to meet deadlines; communication; decision-making; computer skills with photo editing software; technical skills with camera technology
Median Salary (2015)* $31,710 per year (for photographers)

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Monster.com, American Society of Media Photographers.

Although this career requirement list is for an American job, it has still enlightened me on the kind of skills employers are searching for when choosing successful applicants.

When submitting a CV is important for me to consider these skills and present a CV which responds to this directly to show myself as a reliable and worthy applicant for the job.

Other skills/knowledge/requirements needed to be a successful photojournalist:

  • Graduate with a degree – a photojournalism degree is often more favourable
  • Invest time in an internship – learn about the industry
  • Create a portfolio
  • Publish your work – create contacts with local newspapers etc to form networks which will give you a gateway to the industry
  • Become confident with writing – this will more often than not have to accompany your work

I found that the requirements for this career choice are very much the same as documentary photography, but with the added extra of a skill within writing – specifically when working with publishers. This isn’t something that had put me off the decision to pursue this as a career, but more motivated me to consider practising writing things such as a press release or article to help me gather experience when publishing writing.

From this point I want to continue working on my skills and develop a CV/portfolio that will be attractive to potential employers, enabling myself a strong opportunity of entering the industry fairly quickly after graduation.

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Documentary Photography Careers

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After establishing my lack of desire to continue education straight after graduation, I felt it necessary to investigate the qualities and knowledge needed to invest into a career in the documentary photography industry.

I have highlighted here key elements that I feel are important to know when approaching this as a career path, highlighting skills that I know I need to have/develop further, and the type of jobs I could potentially approach when graduating.

Other skills/knowledge/requirements needed to be a successful documentary photographer:

  • travelling to remote places
  • contending with uncontrollable forces like weather and lighting challenges.
  • translating and visualising issues that are happening as is, and in a way that will make the story interesting and appealing to different viewers
  • being able to choose your subject well – researching thoroughly, understanding the issue
  • adapting a style to suit the message – example: close ups or long shots? Dramatic or intriguing?
  • showing a storyline within the images
  • having health and safety/insurance sorted – asking permission from authorities, models – showing them respect
  • being patient – waiting for things to happen, not choreographed
  • paying critical attention to detail – they help narrate the story

This research has demonstrated to me the key areas that are ideal for me to work on when continuing my studies, using this as an opportunity to experiment and get a professional feel for the industry. It sets itself as ‘guidelines’ to follow when approaching my career in the future, using this knowledge to sell myself within CVs when applying to jobs and promoting myself as a knowledgeable candidate.

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Masters?

When considering the next steps after graduation I considered the option of studying a Masters. After deep thought I felt this may not be the best route for me. Through my experiences at university, I have at times struggled with personal issues and motivation which as a result has made me question my passion for photography on several occasions. Knowing deep down that photography is where I want to be, making a name for myself as a practitioner, I made a conscious decision not to approach applying for a Masters, allowing myself to get out there and continue to actively make work because I WANT to not because I have a deadline approaching. I also feel that this decision will allow me to gain more experience with the action of doing.

Despite this decision I felt it would be of benefit to research possible Masters courses that I would consider if for any reason I was to change my mind in the future about my decision to discontinue study.

I came across a Masters degree in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at the London College of Communication. The course itself sounds like the exact thing I want to participate in when approaching my career, but as said before the idea of studying for another two years is not of an attraction to me now.

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The course itself is online based, and has an excellent track record for successful graduates, who have “dominated the UK student documentary photography prizes”. The course allows students to build on knowledge of the industry and encourages the use of multi-media. The course is two years and employs a variety of highly successful practitioners such as Tom Hunter to tutor the course.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

The course team welcomes applicants from a broad range of backgrounds, from all over the world. MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography attracts students who apply direct from an Honours degree course, or a professional or academic qualification recognised as equivalent to an Honours degree, or those with other, equivalent qualifications.

Graduates of all disciplines may apply, although most students have a background in Arts and Humanities. You must be socially aware, inquisitive, self-motivated and passionate about a career in photojournalism or documentary photography. Relevant professional experience or work experience in the industry is increasingly important.

Candidates without a first degree can be accepted onto the course if they can demonstrate past experience equivalent to a first degree, such as professional experience. This is assessed as a learning process and tutors will evaluate that experience for currency, validity, quality and sufficiency.

Educational level may be demonstrated by:

  • Honours degree (named above);
  • Possession of equivalent qualifications;
  • Prior experiential learning, the outcome of which can be demonstrated to be equivalent to formal qualifications otherwise required;
  • Or a combination of formal qualifications and experiential learning which, taken together, can be demonstrated to be equivalent to formal qualifications otherwise required. 

LANGUAGE REQUIREMENTS (INTERNATIONAL/EU)

All classes are conducted in English. If English is not your first language, we strongly recommend you let us know your English language test score in your application. If you have booked a test or are awaiting your results, please indicate this in your application. When asked to upload a CV as part of your application, please include any information about your English test score. 

  • IELTS 6.5, with 5.5 in each four skills is required.
  • If your first language is not English, you can check you have achieved the correct IELTS level in English on the Language Requirements page.

For further details regarding international admissions and advice please visit the International Applications page.

SELECTION CRITERIA

Offers will be made based on the following selection criteria, which applicants are expected to demonstrate:

  • Evidence of prior knowledge and/or experience of Photography that would indicate potential to successfully complete the programme of study
  • Social awareness, inquisitiveness and passion about a career in photojournalism or documentary photography
  • An ability to work on one or more projects over a sustained period of time and in an intimate and involved way (Portfolio)
  • A journalistic and documentary awareness and an understanding of research and practice methodologies and a realistic idea of what makes a strong project (Project ideas)

CV

Please provide a CV detailing your education, qualifications and any relevant work or voluntary experience. If English is not your first language it is important that you also include in your CV details of your most recent English language test score.

PERSONAL STATEMENT ADVICE

You will be asked to complete a personal statement describing why you want to study on MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography. Candidates will be expected to demonstrate critical knowledge of and enthusiasm for the subject, and a well-articulated rationale for joining the course.

The personal statement is a very important part of your application and should demonstrate to the course team that you are interested in the subject and that you have thought very carefully about why you wish to study on the course.

Ensure that your personal statement it is well written, clear and free of any spelling mistakes. It is your chance to impress the course team by showing a strong interest in the subject, demonstrating what you feel you would bring to the course, your appreciation of what the course can offer you and how you feel it might help you in the future. This can be demonstrated through work experience, previous studies and your personal experience.

STUDY PROPOSAL/PROJECT PROPOSAL ADVICE

All applicants will be expected to submit an outline of their major project ideas. This should describe the area of interest – the field of study and the particular focus of their intended work across the year. This should include an overview of how you intend to go about producing the project – the methodology.

It is important to recognise that these ideas will inevitably develop and change across the year of study on the course and only serve to inform your application at this stage.

PORTFOLIO ADVICE (25-30 IMAGES)

All applicants will be expected to submit an electronic portfolio as part of their application, with all work clearly annotated and labelled. Your portfolio should include a maximum of six projects and supporting material, consisting of 25-30 photographs of a documentary or journalistic nature on a related theme. This should demonstrate evidence of an ability to work on a project over a sustained period of time and in an intimate and involved way.

If you have links to web projects or media assets, please note these in your CV.

What happens next?

Successful applicants will be guided through the rest of our admissions stages and towards enrolment on the course. 

I feel the entry requirements of the course are of an achievable level for my abilities which makes me feel more confident about the opportunity should I one day chose to approach it. However, they are also another aspect that has put me off the idea of continuing education straight after graduation. At a time where I am so busy with completing my degree, this would be an awful lot of work to be taking on at the same time, with a deadline fast approaching for the applications in February.

FEES AND FUNDING

HOME / EU FEE

£4,750 (2018/19) entry.

UAL alumni receive a £1,000 discount

ELQ

Home/EU students whose chosen course is at a level equivalent to, or lower than, a qualification that they already hold, would will be charged the fees shown above, plus an additional £1,100 (called the Equivalent or Lower Qualifications (ELQ) fee). Students in receipt of Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) are exempt from ELQ fees and will pay the original fee, regardless of the highest qualification held. For enquiries relating to ELQ fees, please complete the course enquiry form.

Additional costs

In addition to tuition fees you are very likely to incur additional costs such as travel expenses and the cost of materials. Please read the information on our additional costs page.

Accommodation

Find out about the accommodation options available and how much they will cost.

FEES & FUNDING CALCULATOR

Find out how much your studies may cost and what financial help may be available.

SCHOLARSHIPS AND AWARDS

A range of scholarships, bursaries and awards are available to postgraduate students at UAL.

Postgraduate loans of up to £10,000 are now available for eligible UK and EU students. A full list of eligibility criteria and information on applying can be found on the postgraduate loans webpage.

Home / EU and International students

Funding opportunities available for this course:

 

Although there are various options available to applicants for the funding of the course, it is something that I have had to question deeply when considering this as my decision. With an extensive debt on my back when graduating from uni, it is an extra debt I’m not sure I’m willing to have when debating my future. However, realistically the price of the Masters is extensively cheaper, and I wouldn’t necessarily have to consider accommodation costs as the course can be completed online.

At this current point, I don’t feel that a masters is an option for me straight after graduation. I would like to go out into the real world and give it a good go, encouraging myself out of my comfort zone and indulging in my passion for photography because I want to get a career and not because I have a deadline. Although I feel this course would be of a great benefit I also feel that entering the working world will also give me a substantial amount of knowledge and experience which I feel is incredibly important when starting a career within a competitive industry. If things don’t go to plan for me, this option is definitely one I will revisit in the future as a back up option.

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5 Year Plan

Year 1 – After graduation it would be beneficial to be able to intercept the photojournalism industry at a low level, for example as a photographer’s shadow, gathering experience to motivate myself to work up further into the industry. To do this I wish to be building strong networks with existing practitioners and creatives with knowledge useful to my goal. I will look to move to a larger city rather than move back home to broaden the chance of opportunity, depending on potential recognition from Free Range. I hope to build extensively on my confidence and networking skills by maintaining existing relationships with individuals from PCA and creating new ones with individuals who hold beneficial experience, to make the process of moving to a larger city and stepping into a competitive industry easier. I want the process to be underway within the first 6 months to motivate pro-active behaviour and avoid the event of becoming indulged in my social life and ignorant of a potential career. If Free Range doesn’t go quite the way I expect, and I miss out on an opportunity, I hope to invest in a full-time job to accumulate a financial situation which will allow me to later hunt for an opportunity independently in other places.

Year 3 – Assuming I begin to become successful and build on promotions within the photojournalism/documentary industry, perhaps for a popular newspaper or magazine, I hope to be able to reach out to a wider audience and increase the potential of becoming identified. I think of a standard work day involving actively creating work at all times – indulging in the community to create relatable and strengthened pieces of work. I hope that my financial situation allows me to live in an environment rich with opportunity for commissions and work opportunities to continue the building of knowledge. I have an expectation of a deeper knowledge of the industry and work ethic, which will motivate me to begin thinking and investing into becoming self-employed, giving myself independence and broadening my options – for example beginning to curate exhibitions using my own work. It is important to me to begin making a name for myself within the documentary and photojournalism sector of the photographic industry as I am passionate about giving people a voice – exposing truths within the world that are often victims of ignorance. I want to enable the audience to trust me as a photographer and open to confiding in my photography. If at this point I feel that I am at a loose end and my career is not really progressing, I would consider going back to education and studying a Masters to encourage an increase in knowledge and perhaps acquire a new perspective when approaching the industry.

Year 5 – By this point I want to have and continue to maintain a strong identity within my desired industry, if I haven’t by this point gone back to education. I would like to start being recognised for my documentary work, photo-journalistic work and potentially curating influential solo exhibitions. I would like to believe by this point I would be self-employed, and that my business would be beginning to really take off, evidencing a comfortable financial situation, domestically and socially. For this to happen I will have had to invest a lot of money and actively push for my business to get going in the previous years – putting in what I want to get back. I hope by this point to have an extensive and loyal following from my audience, and a maintained relationship with other practitioners and previous colleagues within the industry to continue to build myself as a photographer. To feel a sense of accomplishment I wish to believe that my work would make a difference to the subjects photographed, giving the injustice, justice. I have always believed that visual work can make a difference to personal feelings, and my goal is to prove that with my own work.

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Press Release

Thinking about a career within photojournalism, the expectation is that the work I wish to produce will often be accompanied by writing. I felt it was necessary to consider press releases and how they are written to increase my skills when writing to essentially promote an event/item/myself as a photographer.

To practice I have attempted a press release based on the upcoming print auction event designed by our cohort to give myself an idea how the kind of thing that the press release needs to include – being concise and enticing at the same time.

 

What? (Give your event a snappy title)

 F29 Fundraising Print Auction
When?  February 22nd 2018, 7-7.30pm
Where?  Copthorne Hotel, Plymouth
Who? (Who is organising the event? Who is invited?)  Organised by BA Photography third year students, invitation to other creatives and members of the public interested in art/photography
Why? (Why is it an exciting event? Think of 2 or 3 reasons why people would want to come to this event) ·       To help raise funds for the graduate show in London, June 2018

·       Get your hands on work sent directly from existing practitioners, signed, sealed, delivered!

·       To express personal passion and have an enjoyable experience doing something a little different

Quote: (Don’t forget to include a name from an organiser, attendee or sponsor)  Items for sale include work from internationally renowned photographer Tom Hunter, signed book from fashion photographer Rankin, and many more!
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Online Portfolio

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To enable myself the ease of creating an online portfolio, I created a profile on artsthread to reach out further than my existing website and social media platforms.

The website allows one to look at other portfolios from existing users, submitted by a range of users from undergraduates to practitioners, gathering inspiration from people within the industry that could inspire my career going forward. It also allows people to view, ‘appreciate’ and ‘comment’ on your portfolio which could lend useful feedback when trying to make an impression.

The website also allows you to enter competitions, another platform which will help me to release my work to a wider audience and essentially increase my confidence when submitting work to be judged. It will also help me to consider my decisions when choosing work more critically, in order to display work that is successful.

The website is also designed to help with potential job opportunities – similar to a LinkedIn profile but more specifically for artists.

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Research

Cerebral palsy is the name for a group of lifelong conditions that affect movement and co-ordination, caused by a problem with the brain that occurs before, during or soon after birth.

Symptoms of cerebral palsy

The symptoms of cerebral palsy aren’t usually obvious just after a baby is born. They normally become noticeable during the first two or three years of a child’s life.

Symptoms can include:

  • delays in reaching development milestones – for example, not sitting by eight months or not walking by 18 months
  • seeming too stiff or too floppy
  • weak arms or legs
  • fidgety, jerky or clumsy movements
  • random, uncontrolled movements
  • walking on tip-toes
  • a range of other problems – such as swallowing difficulties, speaking problems, vision problems and learning disabilities

The severity of symptoms can vary significantly. Some people only have minor problems, while others may be severely disabled.

Causes of cerebral palsy

Cerebral palsy can occur if a baby’s brain doesn’t develop normally while in the womb, or is damaged during or soon after birth.

Causes of cerebral palsy include:

  • bleeding in the baby’s brain or reduced blood and oxygen supply to their brain
  • an infection caught by the mother during pregnancy
  • the brain temporarily not getting enough oxygen (asphyxiation) during a difficult birth
  • meningitis
  • a serious head injury

But in many cases, the exact cause isn’t clear.

Treatments for cerebral palsy

There’s currently no cure for cerebral palsy, but treatments are available to help people with the condition have a normal and independent a life as possible.

Treatments include:

  • physiotherapy – techniques such as exercise and stretching to help maintain physical ability and hopefully improve movement problems
  • speech therapy to help with speech and communication, and swallowing difficulties
  • occupational therapy – where a therapist identifies problems that you or your child have carrying out everyday tasks, and suggests ways to make these easier
  • medication for muscle stiffness and other difficulties
  • in some cases, surgery to treat movement or growth problems

Outlook for cerebral palsy

  • life expectancy is usually unaffected, but can be reduced in severe cases
  • the condition may limit your child’s activities and independence, although many people go on to have full, independent lives
  • many children go to a mainstream school, but some may have special educational needs and benefit from attending a special school
  • the original problem with the brain doesn’t get worse over time, but the condition can put a lot of strain on the body and cause problems such as painful joints in later life
  • the daily challenges of living with cerebral palsy can be difficult to cope with, which can lead to problems such as depression in some people

There are four main types of cerebral palsy:

  • spastic cerebral palsy – the muscles are stiff and tight (especially when trying to move them quickly), making it difficult to move and reducing the range of movement that’s possible
  • dyskinetic cerebral palsy – the muscles switch between stiffness and floppiness, causing random, uncontrolled body movements or spasms
  • ataxic cerebral palsy – when a person has balance and co-ordination problems, resulting in shaky or clumsy movements and sometimes tremors
  • mixed cerebral palsy – when a person has symptoms of more than one of the types mentioned above
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Induction Week – Exposure – Devonport

As part of the induction week of university, I took part in the induction project, “Exposure” and was part of the group who investigated Devonport. At first I was disappointed by this choice, but mainly because I knew it would require a lot of walking which isn’t my favourite thing to do. However, over the course of the week I became increasingly fond of the sites in Devonport and the stretch of history that has built it into what it is.IMG_1970 - Copy (2)IMG_1974 - Copy (2)IMG_1977 - Copy (2)

Devonport has a long history with war and military which is evident as you walk around. There are lots of dull, grey tones, especially down near the docks with a lot of barbed wire, giving a physical indication to the naval and mIMG_1979 - Copy (2)ilitary links that it has. This is evident in one of the images I made, where a children’s park is encased by a grey brick wall, making something so innocent look serious. IMG_1985 - Copy (2)I also noticed the signs around Devonport, things like NO BALL GAMES for example. Although this probably wasn’t intentional, it made me think of the rules and commands that members of the military would face and the sense of order they would follow. There is also the outdoor swimming pool which almost looks abandoned but brings a bit of colour to the yet still dull grey walls surrounding it.IMG_1981 - Copy (2)

Devonport was largely destroyed during the war and still faces terror today with a recent fire which destroyed many homes. When walking around Devonport you see a lot of building work and reconstruction which shows the development of Devonport. IMG_1968 - Copy (2) IMG_1969 - Copy (2) IMG_1971 - Copy (2)The newer parts of Devonport are very obvious in comparison to the more original parts, which gives it a slight inconsistent feel as nothing matches. The modern buildings are almost futuristic and structured compared to the standard brick houses that stand from years ago. It’s quite an odd sight as you don’t feel like you’re walking around the same place.IMG_2065 - Copy (2) IMG_2018 - Copy (2) IMG_2005 - Copy (2)

The scenery in Devonport was divine, especially down by the sea as you can see for miles, giving beautiful landscapes. The best place for these spectacular views was from the top of guild hall. I struggled up what felt like 100 stairs to the top, but it was well worth it for the views were amazing and I was able to capture new perspective of Plymouth. When I was told stories and descriptions about Devonport, I was expecting a downbeat place with little aesthetic beauty, but it proved me wrong. There was very little contact with citizens of Devonport which was strange as it was a sunny day; it made it feel like a ghost town.IMG_2054 - Copy (2)

The experience as a whole was good for me as it gave me a chance to meet older people that I will now feel comfortable to speak to and ask for advice throughout my learning experience, something that I sometimes struggle with. It was an opportunity to see some initial work by others and be made to work in a team, something that will be essential if I work in industry in the future. It also gave me a chance to explore and be active – as someone not from Plymouth it was nice to see the areas of which I hadn’t even thought to visit.

Improvements for the week? Well, I think the ideas and intentions of the week are good and have benefits for everyone, however the group I was in was fairly unorganised and faced a few challenges along the way which at times created an awkward atmosphere. This is only a trivial thing based on the personal experience I had. Regardless of this, I feel the older students of the group helped to hold things together and created a great final exhibition for the week.IMG_2019 - Copy (2)

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