On Friday 20th November 2015, a bedazzled array of year 9 pupils from Longbenton Community College entered into mentor Katie Lee’s innovative and exhilarating world of professional photography. The pupils arrived in the classroom eyes and mouths wide in awe and anticipation of what the day ahead would bring. The Bronze Stage of TICE ensued; beginning with a creative investigation into what the biosphere of photography could offer in terms of education, jobs and art.

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As the students busily wrote down as many genres of photography they could think of, a vast range of opportunities had already become visible to them that they had previously never thought about; photojournalism, forensic photography and aerial photography to name a few; it was becoming clear to the year 9 class that photography wasn’t all about weddings and that there was a diversity when it came to the future and what options they would have if they studied the all-encapsulating subject of photography.

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The pupils then carried on to perform research based tasks where they had to look into A – Level/ Level 3 equivalent and BA Hons courses and find out the different specifications; the eager students hurriedly took to their iPads and swiped their fingers industriously to obtain their information, keenly expressing a desire and want to learn about the commerce and how to progress. A discussion was held with Katie where all manner of questions were asked to her about her lifestyle, how much money her photographs make and how she creates such amazing photographs! Following this, Katie showed them examples of her work and her kit which was a downsized version of what she usually carries (despite this, it was still a suitcase full of equipment!); an exciting inside view into a professional photographer’s life was an opportunity this class was not going to miss!

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After a short break, Katie Lee began to teach the students compositional techniques, such as the rule of thirds, leading lines and framing; these skills were meticulously practiced throughout the course of the day as the 30 pupils took their own photographs particularly with these in mind; creating their own series of triptychs where their artistic flair was encouraged and promoted to be of centre focus; one student became so involved with the mini-project that she took it upon herself to paint the ‘Pride’ flag onto a fellow student’s face and have her triptych represent equality for all. These images were then presented back to the rest of the class individually at the end of the school day. Katie showed multiple examples of her own and other artists work and the message that was instilled into the students on that day was to ‘make the ordinary extraordinary’ – a motivational and empowering message calling out to all budding photographers.
Upon asking some of the students what they thought about the day, the replies I received were as follows:
‘The day has been an incredible experience; I’ve learned a lot of things!’
‘Working with TICE has already given me loads of ideas of what I want to do in the future.’
‘I’ve learned how to achieve so many different effects and photography is something I hope to continue with in the future.’

Bethany Irwin (Work Experience).