Photography 1: Expressing your Vision

Course Level: 1 (HE4) | HE Credits: 40 | Approx. Duration: 12 months at 8hrs/week


This unit aim 1 and reading lists will be updated from 1 May 2019.

Expressing your Vision is the main starting point for students wanting to study for an degree in photography with the OCA. The Open course assumes a reasonable standard of technical knowledge. That is, it assumes you already know how to take photographs of things, and the course is the starting point in your journey to taking photographs about things.

We named the course Expressing your Vision because photography at degree level is about understanding how other photographers have used photography to express their opinions and views and developing your skills to do the same.

You can study this as the first course in our degree programme or as a one-off standalone course to improve your image making. If you are not sure whether it is the right course for you, please look at the sample and compare the content to that of our Open Foundations in Photography course. If you are still unsure, please ring us on 0800 731 2116 and we will be happy to advise you.

Gareth Dent on Expressing your Vision:


The course aims to:

  • A1 Begin exploring the technical possibilities of the camera.
  • A2 Enable you to produce practical work which demonstrates personal engagement, enquiry and experimentation.
  • A3 Develop an understanding of contemporary, historical and experimental approaches to photography.
  • A4 Introduce critical analysis and self-appraisal of ideas, processes and outcomes.


On successful completion of the course you will:

  • LO1 Create images that demonstrate a practical and conceptual understanding of applying techniques.
  • LO2 Show initial ability in translating ideas into personal imagery.
  • LO3 Conduct a procedure of research, development and production in relation to the themes considered in the module.
  • LO4 Begin to reflect on the various levels of meaning in your own and others photography.

Course content

  1. From that moment onwards (The instrument, Visual Skills, Surface and depth).
  2. Imaginitive spaces (The distorting lens, Lens work)
  3. Traces of time (The frozen moment, Leaving traces of time, ‘What matters is to look’, The decisive moment).
  4. The language of light (Exposure, ‘Layered, complex and mysterious…’, The beauty of artificial light, Ex nihilo, Languahes of light).
  5. Viewpoint (The distance between us, Photography as information, Photography is simple).

Unit Leader

Robert Bloomfield

Unit Leader for Photography 1: Expressing your Vision

“I’m passionate about progressive approaches to education. I have a PGCE (post compulsory) from Canterbury and Christchurch University and am a member of the Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain. My activities in creative learning cover a wide spectrum of settings from photography residencies in primary schools to Course Leader in A Level Art at a sixth form college in London…”

Read the rest of Robert’s profile here

Additional information

Degree Info

Mandatory First Unit