The Photography and Digital Imaging Department at Nescot is led by three working photographers, each with their own distinct specialism and experience in the field. Course leader Kim Williams’ career path has led from being a jobbing industrial photographer to architectural photographer for the National Trust and English Heritage.
‘I do love the teaching,’ he says, ‘Everyone has their strengths and we keep class sizes small so students develop as a team. I’m very aware that, while some are here for pleasure, many have given up well-paid work for the course, with high expectations’.
Lecturer Adrian Davies’ international reputation as a wildlife photographer is matched only by his professional standing as a leading authority on digital imaging.
He teaches students to broaden their creative and commercial options with the latest image manipulation software.
‘It’s more important than ever for professional photographers to perfect their basic skills before going near a computer,’ he says. ‘It’s about first getting it right in the camera, getting the best light quality and perfecting your composition skills. There’s no substitute for a professional level of visual awareness.’
Realising his own career ambitions drives Yon Marsh to give his students the tools to use their creativity commercially. Taking a scientific route before following his heart to photography, Yon built an excellent freelance reputation receiving the Society of Wedding Photographer’s Portrait Photographer of the Year award. He has subsequently gone on to win BIPP awards in Fine Art and Journalism.
He has published a breakthrough article on liquid crystal shutters and has seen his images on the cover of the British Institute of Professional Photography’s journal.
This commercial awareness and professional standing has seen the department achieve coveted Nikon Academy status, while Nikon, Calumet and Apple also offer the department workshops and equipment.
‘We’re lucky to have all these specialisms within one team,’ says Adrian. ‘We are not just theoreticists but working photographers who understand the demands of family and work and the skills students need to get the most from photography when the course is over.
- Patrick Kilian
- Foundation Degree Photo Imaging
Why did you decide to return to education?
It may sound like a clichÃ© but I began to re-evaluate my life when I hit 40. I had been working as an actor and running my own gardening business. While I loved the acting, it was never going to be that lucrative. The gardening was regular and profitable but my heart was never in it. I knew I wanted something creative but hadn’t a clue what. I don’t mind admitting it was a very low time for me. A friend I’d confided in was admiring some holiday snaps I’d taken. He told me I should take the photography further and the pieces just fell into place.
What made you choose Nescot?
Although I was excited to feel this enthusiastic about something again, it was also very serious for me. If I was going to take the leap, I couldn’t afford for this to just be an expensive hobby. I really did my research into which courses had solid industry focus as well as developing technical skills and creativity. Nescot was the obvious choice.
Has the experience lived up to your expectations?
It’s been brilliant! The course content encompasses all aspects of the craft and the industry but there is the flexibility to pursue certain subjects in more depth. The three main lecturers here are all very strong commercially with very different strengths so there is a wealth of knowledge and experience to tap in to. The tutors are also very accessible and available to help.
How has your time here changed you?
Well, I hadn’t sat and written something since school so when it came to essays and dissertations I didn’t know where to start. Now though, I really enjoy a good write! I was fairly computer literate but I never dreamt I would be able to achieve the imaging, presentation and web techniques I use now. It was daunting at first but I can create interactive CD Roms and use software like Flash multimedia tools and Photoshop. Last year I was also invited to submit work for the Nikon Discovery Awards. All the other candidates were in their second year so I didn’t expect to be chosen. I was, and still am, thrilled and it’s made a real difference to how I view my work.
Any advice for those thinking of starting your course?
There’s nothing worse than being stuck in the wrong job. I wish I had done this years ago and would encourage anyone else to take the plunge. The change has rubbed off on my friends and family too. My sons see me studying and talking positively about learning and I’ve seen changes in their attitudes to their own schoolwork. My eldest is taking photography at VI Form so maybe we’ll be a family firm, who knows!
What are your plans for the future?
I’m more excited about life than I ever remember feeling. I’m going to Thames Valley University next year to complete my degree. I used to feel pessimistic about my future but I now have a long term business plan to work in action portraiture, using all the opportunities opened up by digital formats.