MA Photography

MA Photography at London College of Communication has produced many celebrated photographers and artists around the globe. This fine art photography MA has an international reputation for conceptually driven, research-led practices. Based in the still image, an interdisciplinary approach encourages students to explore the ever-expanding boundaries of the photographic medium to develop a distinctive body of work that is contextualised within a wider critical framework.

Paloma Tendero: 'Inside Out' MA Photography Final Show 2014

Paloma Tendero: 'Inside Out' MA Photography Final Show 2014

Liz Orton: 'A Handful of Soil for the Whole Horizon' MA Photography Final Show 2014

Liz Orton: 'A Handful of Soil for the Whole Horizon' MA Photography Final Show 2014

Image of work by Lalu Delbracio: Sala de ensayo (Rehearsal Room)
Image © Ana Escobar

Lalu Delbracio: Sala de ensayo (Rehearsal Room) – MA Photography final show 2015

Jocelyn Allen: 'Your Dedication Worries Me A Little' MA Photography 2014 Final Show LCC

Jocelyn Allen: 'Your Dedication Worries Me A Little' MA Photography Final Show 2014

Bronia Stewart: 'Babe Station' (MA Photography 2012)
Bronia Stewart: 'Babe Station' (MA Photography 2012)

Bronia Stewart: 'Babe Station' (MA Photography 2012)

Joachim Fleinert, 'There was a family in 1915' (MAP12), MA Photography, LCC
Joachim Fleinert, 'There was a family in 1915' (MAP12), MA Photography

Joachim Fleinert: 'There was a family in 1915' (MA Photography 2012)

Minna Pöllänen: from 'Attempts'‎ (MA Photography 2011), LCC
Minna Pöllänen: from 'Attempts'‎ (MA Photography 2011)

Minna Pöllänen: from 'Attempts'‎ (MA Photography 2011)

Peter Ainsworth: 'Stuffed Bird, found on a Bank of the Thames at Crayford Ness' (MA Photography 2007), LCC
Peter Ainsworth: 'Stuffed Bird, found on a Bank of the Thames at Crayford Ness' (MA Photography 2007)

Peter Ainsworth: 'Stuffed Bird, found on a Bank of the Thames at Crayford Ness' (2007)

Elisa Noguera: from 'Perhaps finally alone' (MA Photography 2010), LCC
Elisa Noguera: from 'Perhaps finally alone' (MA Photography 2010)

Elisa Noguera: from 'Perhaps finally alone' (MA Photography 2010)

Wang Lin: 'Lavender Marriage’ (MA Photography 2013), LCC
Wang Lin: 'Lavender Marriage’ (MA Photography 2013)

Wang Lin: 'Lavender Marriage’ (MA Photography 2013)

Veronique Ducharme: 'The Mystery of the Other' (MA Photography 2010), LCC
Veronique Ducharme: 'The Mystery of the Other' (MA Photography 2010)

Veronique Ducharme: 'The Mystery of the Other' (MA Photography 2010)

Marcello Simeone: 'A Gradual Approximation to the Sun (MA Photography 2013)
Marcello Simeone: 'A Gradual Approximation to the Sun (MA Photography 2013)

Marcello Simeone: 'A Gradual Approximation to the Sun (MA Photography 2013)

Jo Gane: 'Perspectives on Time' (MA Photography 2010), LCC
Jo Gane: 'Perspectives on Time' (MA Photography 2010)

Jo Gane: 'Perspectives on Time' (MA Photography 2010)

Andrew Porter: 'Ageing for Beginners' (MA Photography 2012), LCC
Andrew Porter: 'Ageing for Beginners' (MA Photography 2012)

Andrew Porter: 'Ageing for Beginners' (MA Photography 2012)

Alicja Dobrucka, 'I like you, I like you a lot' (MA Photography 2012), LCC
Alicja Dobrucka, 'I like you, I like you a lot' (MA Photography 2012)

Alicja Dobrucka, 'I like you, I like you a lot' (MA Photography 2012)

Gemma Marmalade: 'Strange Birds' (MA Photography 2011), LCC
Gemma Marmalade: 'Strange Birds' (MA Photography 2011)

Gemma Marmalade: 'Strange Birds' (MA Photography 2011)

Reasons to Apply

  • Develop a distinctive body of work, building a relationship between experimental practice, theoretical contextualisation and active research processes.
  • MA Photography encourages active involvement with current photographic research including the Photography and the Archive Research Centre (PARC) and the Photography and the Contemporary Imaginary Research Hub both based at LCC.
  • Hear from high-profile artists, theorists and curators as part of our guest lecture series.
  • Our extensive analogue and digital facilities will help you to expand your creative vocabulary.
  • For more than 15 years our graduates have developed distinctive practices that gain recognition across the creative industries as well as being respected as showing artists, inventive editors and critical writers.

Funding opportunities

Find out about the range of funding options available for postgraduate study.

Facts

Course Leader

Dr Wiebke Leister

Course Location

London College of Communication
Elephant and Castle
Find us

Study LevelPostgraduate
Study ModeFull time
Course Length1 year 3 months full time (45 weeks across a four-term model)
Home/EU Fee

£8,250 (Full time – 2016/17 fees)
£4,125 (Part time – 2016/17 fees)

UAL alumni receive a £1,000 discount
Course fees may be paid in instalments

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

International Fee

£17,230 (Full time – 2016/17 fees)
£8,615 (Part time – 2016/17 fees)

UAL alumni receive a £1,000 discount
Course fees may be paid in instalments

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

Start DateSeptember 2016
Term DatesSeptember 2016 - December 2017
Application Route

Direct to the College. See the How to Apply tab for details.

Application DeadlineApplications are accepted, and offers made, throughout the year. Early application is advised.

Content and Structure

Content

MA Photography is a fine art photography programme aimed at developing a personal, distinctive and conceptually strong practice, grounded in research and critical thinking. While based in the still image it embraces cross-media and cross-genre practice. 

MA Photography at London College of Communication is renowned for producing some of the most successful contemporary emerging photographers and artists. Part of the School of Media, the course offers a unique opportunity for photographers to develop a major body of research-based practice in the context of a critical understanding of contemporary photographic culture.

The course encourages students to work experimentally and produce work that tests the boundaries of the medium, encompassing the still image, video, installation, performance and digital media, and culminating in a public exhibition. The School of Media offers a longstanding tradition of photography education with a highly regarded research culture, and the course has close ties with the Photography and the Archive Research Centre and the Kubrick Archive, both based at LCC. Located close to central London, the course has excellent links with galleries, museums and archives.

MA Photography attracts a broad range of practitioners, from backgrounds in fine art photography, documentary photography, commercial photography and other areas of media practice. They are united by a desire to develop a distinctive personal practice with a high level of conceptual resolution. Graduates of the course go on to be successful fine artists as well as documentary and commercial photographers, gallerists, curators and writers, academics and teachers, and arts organisers of various kinds. Many prefer to find ways of supporting their art practice through combining it with teaching, commercial photography or other related activities. Students who may wish to progress to practice-led PhD are encouraged to develop their practice as research.

There are both analogue and digital photography facilities at LCC, including colour and black-and-white darkrooms, photographic studios and a Mac-based digital suite including Imacon scanners, as well as medium and large format analogue cameras, digital cameras, HD video cameras and lighting equipment. Students also have access to other technical facilities such as a 3D workshop or screenprinting.

The course runs for 45 weeks from September to December (15 months full time, across a four-term model) and attendance is 2 days per week, plus access to the facilities. The course is demanding of time and commitment in addition to attendance, and you will need considerable capacity for self-directed study to fulfill the aims of the programme.

NB The course assumes that you are technically proficient and able to research and develop any further skills you require. Technical tuition is restricted to the tutorial support of individual projects. If you need to acquire a significant skill base, then you are advised to do so before you apply for the course.

Staff, current students and alumni frequently post updates on the LCC MA Photography Facebook group.

The Sproxton Photography Award

The Sproxton Photography Award is given each year to one student in the MA Photography Final Show, as judged by a panel consisting of an industry professional and MA Photography Alumni. The winner receives £1000 to help them kickstart their photography career.

The prize was set up in memory of Andrew Sproxton, who together with Professor Val Williams, curator, historian and writer, and now Director of the Photography and the Archive Research Centre here at LCC, founded the Impressions Gallery in York in 1972. 

Structure

Each course is divided into units, which are credit-rated. The minimum unit size is 20 credits. The MA course structure involves six units, totalling 180 credits.

Autumn, Term One

Unit summary:

  • Unit 1: Exploring the Possibilities (60 credits)

Following an Induction week, you will begin to develop a body of work with tutorial support. This is the practice that defines your assessment submissions and encompasses technical, theoretical and professional considerations. You will also receive a series of critical context seminars to help you start developing your critical context paper synopsis.

Spring, Term Two

Unit summary:

  • Unit 2: Taking an Idea Forward (40 credits)
  • Unit 3: Collaborative Unit (20 credits)

Unit 2 builds on the experience of Unit 1 allowing you to consolidate and develop your knowledge and experience. In it you will focus on and further develop one of your ideas for the body of work explored in Unit 1. You'll also continue to develop a critical framework for your work through critical context seminars and the submission of the critical context paper. Increasingly, students take responsibility for leading seminars and group tutorials with staff acting as facilitators.

In the Collaborative Unit you will develop an interim show of your work together with your peers and other input.

Summer, Term Three

Unit summary:

  • Unit 2: Taking an Idea Forward (continued)
  • Unit 4: Resolving Outcomes (60 credits)

Autumn, Term Four

Unit summary:

  • Unit 4: Resolving Outcomes (continued)

In Unit 4 you'll undertake the resolution, finalisation and presentation of the body of work in an exhibition or any other outcomes you decide on, individually or as a group. Through both practice and your written submission of critical rationale you will demonstrate a reflective understanding of the medium, the critical and professional context, and the position of your practice within it.

You will need a high level of commitment and self-management to achieve the course outcomes. In addition to formal teaching sessions, seminar work, presentations, and tutorial work you'll also be expected to engage in independent research, writing, course work, and the origination, development and completion of the body of work, for which both tutor and peer support is provided through individual tutorials, group discussions and peer review.

If you are unable to continue or decide to exit the course, there are two possible exit awards. A Postgraduate Certificate will be awarded on successful completion of the first 60 credits and a Postgraduate Diploma will be awarded on successful completion of the first 120 credits.

Staff

Teaching Staff: Dr Wiebke LeisterPaul Tebbs, Edward Dimsdale

Lecturers: Sophy Rickett, Nicky Coutts, Andy Marsh

There is also an extensive programme of visiting speakers and research events.

 

Careers

MA Photography prepares graduates to research, develop and produce an individual fine art project to a high exhibition standard. They will also have developed the practical, critical and conceptual skills needed to work at a high level in related areas of photography and media practice. The course also provides graduates with a critical and professional understanding of the contemporary photography and fine art sectors which will prepare them for a number of career directions within the arts and media. 

Graduate destinations include; exhibiting fine artists, commissions, bursaries and residencies, documentary and commercial (editorial/fashion/advertising) photographers, community artists and arts organisers, organisational roles in independent and publicly funded photography bodies, curators, archivists and gallerists, art buyers, journal editors, teachers at secondary, FE and university level, and PhD studies. 

Students are also encouraged to join the MA Photography Alumni Group to share the future development of their practice.

Alumni achievements include:

  • Winners of awards and competitions such as the Sony World Photography Awards, Deutsche Bank Photography Awards, Jerwood Photography Prize, Nikon Endframe Awards, Magenta Foundation Emerging Photographer Awards, Pavilion Commissions and the Arts Council & Rhubarb-Rhubarb Bursaries. 
  • Peter Ainsworth, alumnus from MA Photography 2008 won the Dazed/Converse Emerging Artist of the Year Award 2010. Renhui Zhao of MAP 10 won the Sony World Photography Award for Constructed and Conceptual Photography 2010.
  • Alumna Alicja Dobrucka and Renhui Zhao won the Deutsche Bank Photography Award, in 2010 and 2011.
  • MA Photography alumni have been selected for major exhibitions such as Bloomberg New Contemporaries, Fresh Faced & Wild Eyed, Kay Saatchi’s Anticipation, the Prix Pictet and ReGeneration2 at the Musee de l’Elysee at Lausanne.
  • Our graduates have exhibited in galleries such as Yossi Milo Gallery (New York), Impressions Gallery (Bradford), National Media Museum (Bradford) and Tate Britain. 
  • Alumni have had books accepted by major photographic publishers such as Dewi Lewis.
  • Alumni have been included in leading photography collections such as the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts Houston.
  • Graduates have gained posts as freelance curators and in-curatorial posts at places including Autograph ABP and the Whitechapel Gallery.
  • We have produced alumni who have become co-founders and editors of academic journals Philosophy of Photography and the Journal for Artistic Research.
  • Graduates have been taken on as assistants to the painter Anselm Kiefer in the production of a new body of work for a major exhibition in 2012.
  • Some of our graduates have gone on to study academic and practice-led PhDs at the RCA, Goldsmiths and UAL.
  • A significant number of our graduates teach on HE photography and fine art courses.

The course has an active relationship with the art and photography world. Curators and critics regularly take part in tutorials, crits and workshops. In addition, we have strong links with photographers' agents, photographic agencies and art buyers in areas of the commercial sector which are interested in fine art photography. 

Student Jobs and Careers at UAL

We know what it takes to be successful in your chosen field. Your tutors are professionals in their own right and understand what you need to help you establish your career. 

Careers and Employability is dedicated to helping students build up work-relevant skills, knowledge, experience and networks throughout your time here. 

Creative Opportunities is the UAL job and work placement website for students and graduates, advertising hundreds of creative opportunities each month. This includes ArtsTemps in-house recruitment agency, placing students and graduates in paid temping roles within the University.

UAL houses a number of organisations which promote aspects of career development in the arts and media, and which hold regular workshops and careers fairs. These include:

  • Own-It (intellectual property issues)
  • ArtQuest (career development resource for artists and designers)

Entry Requirements

Recruitment and admissions

Applicants are expected to demonstrate sufficient prior knowledge of and / or potential in, photography to be able to successfully complete the programme of study and/ or have an academic or professional background in a relevant subject.

MA Photography does not include technical teaching (although it does include technical advice and support) and if there are specific programmes or techniques that you need to acquire in order to realise your creative ideas on MA Photography then we suggest that you acquire these before joining the course.

Language requirements (International/EU)

  • IELTS 6.5 (or equivalent) is required for this course.
  • 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.

Portfolio and project proposal

All applicants will be expected to submit a portfolio and study proposal with their application.

Portfolio: 10-20 images, either print or digital, with prints no larger than A4 in size. Your portfolio should indicate an understanding of project-based visual inquiry. It is preferable to show projects rather than individual images.

Applicants from a commercial background are encouraged to develop personal projects before they apply. Your portfolio may be accompanied by an explanatory statement about the projects of no more than 300 words. Your portfolio should indicate that you have an understanding of project-based visual inquiry.

Project proposal: Your project proposal should be no more than 300 words indicating your intended practice project. You should include accompanying research for a specific project that you plan to be developed on the course and how the MA is going to further your understanding of conceptual photographic practice.

Your proposal should be a feasible, researched outline of a specific project that you are going to photograph and reasons why. Try to elaborate on your ideas for the project to give us a sense of subject, style, approach, concept, research, and how much you know about contemporary fine art photography.

Portfolio surgeries

For help and advice about what to include in your portfolio or project proposal we offer MA Photography portfolio surgeries. Dates are available to book when available on the course page under the Open Days aside.

Funding

Home / EU and International students

Funding opportunities available for this course:

Any questions? Please email funding@arts.ac.uk or visit Postgraduate Funding page.

How to Apply

You can apply for this course using our online application form – the link to this is below. Before you apply, we recommend you take some time to read the following details about the application process, including guidance on the extra information we will ask you to provide.

Required information for all postgraduate course applications

You will need to enter the following information in the online application form:

  • Personal details (including full name; date of birth; nationality; permanent address and English language level)
  • Current and/or previous education and qualification details
  • Employment history
  • Referee details (this course requires two references).

Before you can submit the form, you’ll also need to agree to the terms and conditions for how we process your data – these are explained in the form.

Please note, if you’re an international applicant we will need to contact you separately to ask for copies of certain documents (for example, English language qualification/certificate and copies of any previous UK study visas).

Extra information required for applications to this course

Once you have submitted the form, you will receive a confirmation email that includes links to where you should submit the extra information we require for the selection process:

Personal statement

Please say why you are applying for this course.

Project proposal

Your project proposal should be no more than 300 words indicating your intended practice project. You should include accompanying research for a specific project that you plan to be developed on the course and how the MA is going to further your understanding of conceptual photographic practice.

Your proposal should be a feasible, researched outline of a specific project that you are going to photograph and reasons why. Try to elaborate on your ideas for the project to give us a sense of subject, style, approach, concept, research, and how much you know about contemporary fine art photography.

Portfolio

You are required to submit between 10-20 images. Your portfolio should indicate an understanding of project-based visual inquiry. It is preferable to show projects rather than individual images. Applicants from a commercial background are encouraged to develop personal projects before they apply.

Your portfolio may be accompanied by an explanatory statement about the projects of no more than 300 words. Your portfolio should indicate that you have an understanding of project-based visual inquiry

Please note, you can submit text and as many website links as you need to, but the portfolio form does not allow you to upload files.

Start your application now

Applications are accepted, and offers made, throughout the year. Early application is advised.

Apply now for the full-time study mode of this course

The application form can be saved as you fill it out, so you don’t need to complete it all at once. You will also have the chance to review all the information and make any necessary amendments before you submit the application form.

We will send you emails as you progress through the application process, so do check your inbox (and junk folder, just in case). These emails will contain important information about your application, and links to the online forms you should use to submit the extra information required.

Final Exhibition Catalogues

MA Photography at LCC has been running since 1997 with its first graduating cohort exhibiting in autumn 1998, MAP15 being the seventeenth MA Photography final show. The exhibition catalogues are produced by the graduating students, who also put together a final show website to showcase their work.

MAP15 Catalogue (PDF - 6.4MB)

MAP14 catalogue (PDF - 929MB)

MAP13 catalogue (PDF - 2.7MB)

MAP12 catalogue (PDF - 5.6MB)

MAP11 catalogue (PDF - 1.6MB)

MAP10 catalogue (PDF - 2.9MB)

MAP09 catalogue (PDF - 3.5MB)

MAP08 catalogue (PDF - 4.3MB)

MAP06 catalogue (PDF - 1.9MB)

Enquire about this course

If you haven’t found the information you’re looking for or want to ask us a question about this course, please fill out our enquiry form.

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