Friday, 24 September 2021

Student photographs are worth a thousand words

Student photographs are worth a thousand words

A STUDENT at The Henley College who spent four months photographing residents of Thamesfield Nursing Home in Wargrave Road has seen her work go on display at the Old Fire Station Gallery.

Bronwen Summerwill, from Peppard Common, is one of 70
A-level photography students who are showcasing their coursework as part of a five-day exhibition that opened yesterday (Thursday) at the gallery behind the town hall.

The aspiring photojournalist has also documented her time at the nursing home in the form of a book that she had printed.

Bronwen, 18, said: “My stepmum works at Thamesfield and I wanted to show the lives of the people and the happier side of their community.

“At first it was harder establishing relationships than I expected it to be. I was just this unfamiliar face asking people to pose for me, so I had to learn how to build up relationships with people to get the images.

“The more I got to know people the easier it became. I have given the residents a copy of the book and I think they like it.

“The project has really improved my confidence as a photographer and has helped me be more professional in my approach.

“I loved photography at The Henley College and I don’t want to leave. The teachers are amazing and have really helped me develop my confidence and personality.

“I have developed such a passion for the subject that I want to go on to study for a degree in photography at the University of the West of England and eventually make it my career.”

Photography teacher George Bull said: “We are very proud of the work our students have produced for the show. They have used a very wide range of photographic techniques and explored some complex and challenging ideas. I’m sure anyone with an interest in contemporary photography will enjoy seeing the work. We expect more than 10 of our students to go on to study photography at degree level this year.

The photography exhibition, which runs until Tuesday (June 19), features a wide range of projects that students have used to capture their experiences and observations through digital and traditional
film-based photography.

The work on display encompasses traditional genres such as documentary, landscape and portraiture, as well as imagery exploring social and emotional issues.

The show, which is open daily from 9am to 4pm at the gallery in Upper Market Place, will be followed next Thursday (June 21) by a second exhibition of students’ work.

This will showcase music videos, adverts, short films, radio dramas and documentaries produced by 45 students on the college’s extended diploma creative media production course.

Students will be at the gallery throughout the exhibition — which runs until Tuesday, June 26, also from 9am to 4pm daily — to talk to visitors about their work.

Those showing their work at the two exhibitions have gained places at some of England’s top arts universities — including Leeds, Goldsmiths, Nottingham Trent and Bournemouth — to study a wide range of subjects such as photography, film, media and TV.

Creative media production student Umar Hussain, from Maidenhead, said: “The course was excellent. If you compare the first production I made and the last one I did, it speaks for itself. The facilities here are really good and my skills have improved a lot.”

For his final major project, the
19-year-old produced his own music video for Gus Dapperton’s song Moodna, Once with Grace.

Umar said: “Gus is quite a unique character within the music industry. I wanted to stay true to the meaning of the song — if you get into a relationship it doesn’t mean it’s always going to work out the way you wanted it to and that something you have to face. The video is definitely the best thing I’ve produced during my time at The Henley College.

“In September I’m going to Leeds Arts University to study visual communication. I want to create visual media using a creative and artistic approach.”

Course leader Sarah Wilson said: “We are very proud of our students’ achievements this year. They have produced some amazing work and we would like Henley residents to come to the exhibition and see for themselves what a hard-working and creative bunch they are.

“The creative sector is an increasingly important part of the country’s economic success and these young people have a bright future ahead of them. It is also a great opportunity for year 11 students to come and see what they could be doing at The Henley College.”

Umar’s video can be viewed online at

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