Since it was established by Magnum photographer David Hurn in 1973, BA (Hons) Documentary Photography has established itself internationally as one of the premier courses at which to study documentary photography. USW has a history of 100 years of photography, and over 40 years of teaching Documentary Photography behind us.
Our definition of 'documentary' is broad. It blends the traditions of documentary storytelling with the most exciting innovations in contemporary photography. On this Documentary Photography degree, you'll learn how to think critically and independently, and you'll gain the technical skills to communicate your ideas in the most effective way.
Our Documentary Photography students regularly win the industry's most prestigious awards. This year these included Lua Ribeira and Sam Laughlin, who were joint winners in the 2017 Jerwood/Photoworks Award. Lua Ribeira was also runner up in the prestigious 2016 Bar Tur Photobook Award. Daragh Soden made the Irish Times '50 People To Watch In 2017' list. Last year, winners included Sam Ivin, (Student Work Category of PDN's Photo Annual 2015); Yasmin Balai, (2nd in IAFOR Documentary Photography Award) 2015 and Mira Andres (winner of the ESPY Award 2015).
See more of our students' recent work here. You can also follow Documentary Photography on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
What you will study
This world renowned Documentary Photography course blends the traditions of documentary and photojournalism with the most exciting innovations in contemporary photography.
In your first year you will learn to photograph confidently around subjects that really interest you and develop the research skills to complete picture essays on a wide range of contemporary subjects. There is also an opportunity to engage with emerging technologies in digital moving image.
As you progress into the second year you will initiate projects developed from your own interests and research, while reappraising documentary practice in all its contemporary contexts. Practical workshops continue throughout the year and explore printing for exhibition, large format photography, digital output for print, and book publication. Live projects include collaboration with renowned photo-book designers and internationally active visiting photographers.
The final year is seen as a professional year in which you will produce a sustained and ambitious body of work. You are also asked to respond to a live professional brief. Your projects are drawn from your own inspirations and ambitions and you will be encouraged to make work that will prepare you for engagement with the photographic industry.
- What is Documentary?
- Photographer as Observer
- Photography Subject 1
- The Narrative
- Multi-Vocal Documentaries
- Photography Subject 2
- Research for Practice and Dissertation
- Documentary Strategies
- Photography Subject 3
- Documentary and the Publication
- Negotiated Practices
- Preparation for Industry
- Project Portfolio Development
- Critical Paper
Throughout the Documentary Photography course you will be assessed on practice-based modules, supplemented by self-reflective and context-based analysis. You will receive clear and detailed feedback that will help you reflect on, and develop your strengths.
This is supported by individual tutorials, seminars and workshops around business practice and professional skills.
The comprehensive photographic facilities include:
- Professional standard analogue black and white and colour darkrooms
- Colour negative film processing service
- Dedicated digital photography suites equipped with Apple Mac workstations and impressive high end film scanning facilities
- Large format digital printing facilities (up to 60