Clarification on camera obscura

6th June 1997 at 01:00
As a professional photographer and qualified teacher, I fail to see why Brendan O'Malley has a problem with photography ceasing to be available as a separate GCSE and A-level subject (TES Music and the Arts Extra, May 16).

Graphic design and ceramics, for example, are not taught separately. It makes far more economic and administrative sense to do away with a separate course for photography, and I do not see that it will be taught any worse, as in most cases the same people will teach it.

The argument that photography should maintain separate courses because it is a special case ("we live in the age of the photographic image") does not stand up to scrutiny. Most of the images we see are only reproductions of photographs (a subtle but distinct difference) and the majority of these have been electronically manipulated in some way - we live in the age of the digital image. Professionals are learning to live with this, but it has yet to be accepted in education, which views photography as a craft, not an occupation.

Rather than arguing for photographic independence, anyone who claims to have an interest in the future of photography should be more concerned about what is taught and by whom, and of changing the attitude of educational establishments towards the involvement of professionals. I was not allowed to do to a PGCE in art and design as my art college degree in photography was considered "too technical". I had to study design and technology instead, only to find in the first school I went to that photography was part of the art department and as a "technologist" I wasn't considered "arty" enough to teach it.

There is more to being a photographer than just owning a camera, and more to teaching it than having its own A-level.

GRAHAM DUNN

Home Farm 3 Water Lane Ashwell, Rutland

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now