Course: BA (Hons) Digital Photography
Year of Graduation: 2016
The first thing that attracted me to Ravensbourne was the location itself. I’m a south-east London boy and didn’t really want to leave, so the location was perfect. Not to mention the impressive modern design of the building.
I attended an open day, and the forward-facing nature of the course and the connections it had to the ‘real’ world really appealed to me. It didn’t seem like a typical photography course, and I had faith that it would give me the skills I needed to make a career for myself and survive out there in the big-wide-world.
The course was important in preparing me for life in the photographic industry. Our briefs were designed with the real world in mind and I believe were actually based on real-life briefs that our lecturers and peers had received themselves.
The projects that we were set throughout the course motivated me to search for paid work whilst I was working through my degree. This meant I ended up earning more through photography work than what I would have done if I’d taken a job in a coffee shop or bar.
I am now working at ‘Phase One’ in technical support — one day can be very different from the next. In my first week, I came in after getting my Danish residency permit and was expecting to continue answering technical support cases. However, my boss pulled me aside and asked if I would like to fly out to Austria to represent Phase One at Red Bull’s Photography Academy! So that’s just an example of how a ‘typical’ day can turn around rather quickly.
The event was pretty cool. I had to pinch myself and wondered how I was getting paid to work with cameras I’d always dreamed of using, in beautiful surroundings with some of the best photographers out there.
I’ve also been teaching POCP (Phase One Certified Professional) courses all over the world. I’d like to do more of these and get more students using Phase One hardware and the Capture One software. Ravensbourne is already using this kit which is a good example of the forward-thinking nature of the course — other courses should follow suit.
My advice to future students would be to not expect opportunities to come to you - no matter how hard you work at university or what grade you achieve. There are hundreds of graduates out there who have produced work they are proud of, but it won’t get you anywhere if you are not emailing people every day looking for internships (hopefully, and rightfully paid!), full-time positions, freelance roles etc.
I spent the final six months of my degree doing this and scouring job pages using a number of keywords such as ‘trainee’, ‘junior’, ‘assistant’ etc. I ended up finding a job as a ‘junior equipment booker’ at one of the most respected photographic equipment companies in the UK. I started working there while I was still at university meaning I had no unemployment gap between finishing my degree and graduating.
So, in short - work hard, back yourself and be brave.