First-year BA(Hons) Press Photography students from University College Falmouth – who are already achieving national acclaim as The Pressgang – have recently returned from a professional practice visit to legendary photographic agency, Magnum, where they learned from enthusiastic professionals about photographic archiving, book publishing, commercial image-making, how editorial photography is commissioned in Britain and what goes on at the negotiating table.
Students were also invited to view rare vintage photographs in the Print Room built by Magnum to showcase their collectors’ prints, which is now an important part of the agency, as print sales rise in reaction to the commercial dominance of digital photography.
“It was great to have the process demystified and see the level of quality to aim for with our own presentation,” said Pressgang member, Oliver Rudkin. “We met a lot of enthusiastic people and I came away feeling motivated and happy about photography and the future.”
This visit came about because Magnum, the photographic agency established in 1947 by legendary names in photojournalism such as Robert Capa and Henri Cartier-Bresson, has chosen University College Falmouth's new BA(Hons) Press Photography course as a partner in its new educational programme.
To mark its 60th anniversary, the agency has launched a year-long initiative to encourage new talent into the photographic industry, and has created partnerships with a select handful of the UK's most creative universities, including University College Falmouth and its new Press Photography degree course, under the leadership of award-winning press photographer, Mal Stone. The programme will see the selected institutions working with Magnum on a series of educational events throughout the academic year.
Magnum Photos was created just after the Second World War by a group of pioneering photographers who became iconic names in the world of photojournalism. They saw themselves as an idiosyncratic mix of reporter and artist, a vision that has continued to define the work of Magnum photographers ever since. Today, images by Magnum photographers continue to be regarded as some of the most powerful and important in the modern world.
The new education programme aims to introduce the work of the agency to students aspiring to work in photography and to share the wealth of knowledge and experience of Magnum’s photographers and staff. A range of key events will be on offer that will benefit and enhance existing teaching by providing opportunities for Magnum photographers to deliver lectures, for Magnum staff and industry experts to provide professional practise workshops and for group visits to the Magnum offices and Print Room. Partner organisations will also be given priority on all available internship vacancies at Magnum Photos London.
Magnum photographer David Alan Harvey, the agency's vice-president responsible for Education and Community, said: “This is a major step forward for Magnum Photos in our mission to encourage and nurture new talent in the photography industry. We want students to come into contact with Magnum and its photographers so they can experience the very best in terms of resources and knowledge.”
“We are thrilled and excited to have Magnum as our educational partners,” adds Course Leader for Falmouth’s BA(Hons) Press Photography course, Mal Stone. “Our aim with the new specialist Press Photography course is to give students the very best opportunities to work on real-life assignments in real-world environments. We see this as paramount in order to prepare students for the competitive world of editorial photography. Having Magnum on board really strengthens our passionate belief and philosophy in the course, with its commitment to editorial, documentary and photojournalism, and will provide our students with the all-important competitive edge they’ll need to succeed. Magnum really is the holy grail as far as editorial photographers are concerned and this opportunity for our students to interact with such a prestigious organisation so early in their studies is absolutely invaluable.”
University College Falmouth’s new BA(Hons) Press Photography course is located in a brand new two-storey Photography Centre that has been designed following consultation with the industry. It includes hugely expanded digital and photographic facilities as well as specialist resources such as an electronic picture desk, all of which cements the College’s position as one of the top providers of photographic education in the UK.
In April 2008, University College Falmouth merged with Dartington College of Arts to create a new institution focusing on the expansion of Falmouth’s expertise in Art, Design and Media and Dartington’s expertise in Choreography, Music and Theatre.
The merger will pave the way for a new specialist Arts University in Cornwall in 2012, creating a Higher Education institution unique to the South West.
For further information about BA(Hons) Press Photography at University College Falmouth, please visit the college website here or telephone (01326) 213854.