Why I chose to study a Photography degree online
18 January 2024
This article was written by first-year Photography BA(Hons) (Online) student Lucy.
Photography has always had a place in my life. I was first introduced to the photography industry by my mum; she was studying media, makeup and performance at university whilst homeschooling and teaching me (this is due to my deafness and health problems – but more on that later!). From this time together – in the studios as my GSCE classroom – I was able to witness her working with fashion designers, models and, most importantly, photographers. This initial contact with the industry left an impact and impression on me that stayed with me well into early adulthood.
My educational background is quite unusual for a photographer; I studied ecology in college and began to explore potential careers in that area, but due to my health problems I decided it wasn’t the right career path for me. That realisation made me reflect on what I was good at and having practiced wildlife photography as a hobby throughout my teens, I decided to seriously consider photography as a potential career and began the search for the right university course.
At the same time as my degree search, my mum and I started a magazine business and running that with her was something I wanted to continue alongside studying. After discussions with family and advisors, I applied for Falmouth’s Marine & Natural History Photography course – and I got in! It felt right for me being a natural history course, and I couldn’t wait to start my journey at Falmouth.
Timing was not on my side, however, as it was in 2020 and COVID-19 had just hit the UK. As a young person with health problems, it became clear after consulting medical professionals that moving away from home to study wasn’t a good idea. After much deliberation, it was decided that I would withdraw my application; a decision that wasn’t taken lightly, but it was for the best.
After I withdrew my application, I felt stuck. Luckily, I was able to continue working in the magazine business whilst I took a year out to weigh up my options, but they felt bleak at best; my local universities were not at the standard I was looking for and just didn’t inspire me.
So, I returned to researching what Falmouth could offer and one day, as if my prayers were answered, I saw an advert for Falmouth’s Photography BA online course – a newly launched course where I would be one of the first students to enrol. The course offered everything I was looking for and had researched for two years: the ability to study whilst being at home, the flexibility to work and study and, best of all, it covered multiple facets of the photography industry.
I couldn’t have asked for anything better. But, I’ll admit, I was incredibly nervous – I didn’t know the first thing about photography professionally and coming from a scientific background I wasn’t sure I’d fit in on a course at a university renowned for its artistry.
Despite my original hesitations I applied and was invited to an online interview with the course leader. It was during that interview that I knew that it was the right course for me; I gained so much confidence and began thinking about photography in a whole new light.
I’m now five months into my first year and my experience has been incredible. The course team are so passionate about photography and the support they’ve provided for someone who is deaf and requires an Individual Learning Plan is more than I could’ve hoped for, and far more than I’ve experienced in the past.
My cohort are fantastic individuals and considering we haven’t met in-person yet (we are due to meet in July!) we are very close to each other already. It’s so nice to have a creative community to bounce ideas off and to work together to improve each other’s practices.
The content we work on is fun, exciting and extremely flexible, with regular themes given to help us develop our practice in this early period. We are all working from our homes, so have made temporary studio spaces in sheds or using the outdoors as our studio space – there is no requirements for where you shoot and that is perhaps one of the most exciting parts. We share our work in an online studio space and the weekly webinars are a fun mix of sharing ideas with peers and learning from the staff. The more that you engage with the course, the more you learn to develop your professional practice.
Thanks to the course, my passion for photography is deeper than ever and I’m constantly looking for new ways to showcase my creativity. I’m so glad I chose to study a Photography degree online with Falmouth University, and hope this inspires anyone that might need extra support, flexibility, a change in career, or even someone that just loves photography as much as I do, to consider the course.