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GSO Test

Photography: Lens-based and light based media

Useful web pages                               


Students explore a range of lens-based and light-based media, techniques and processes, including both traditional and new technologies. The course is split up into two units.

Unit 1: students explore relevant images and resources relating to lens-based and light-based media from the past and from recent times. On the course, students are encouraged to be creative and show their own thought processes as they tackle each brief.

Areas of study

Students work in one or more areas of lens-based and light-based media such as those listed below. They may explore overlapping and combinations of areas:

  • Portraiture
  • Landscape photography (working from the built or natural environment).
  • Still Life photography, (working from natural or manufactured objects).
  • Documentary photography, photo journalism, narrative photography, reportage
  • Fine Art photography, photographic installation
  • Photography involving a moving image, (television, film and animation).
  • New media practice such as computer manipulated photography and photographic projections.

    Unit 2:
    This is an externally set task. Students will have to produce a personal response to one of seven different starting points set by AQA. Previous titles have included: movement, close-up, journeys, fusion, transform, portraits and shadows. Students can produce anything that has involved a lens in any part of its creation, meaning that the students are given a huge range of creative possibilities.

    Students are assessed on four Assessment Objectives (AO1-4).

    Assessment Objective 1 is about developing ideas from a starting point to a final piece. This is done through mind-mapping, sketches and studies related to the work of other artists, designers and craftspeople. You need to analyse and understand these contextual sources, and develop your ideas in a personal way.

    Assessment Objective 2 is about refining your ideas through selecting and experimenting with appropriate resources, media, materials, techniques and processes. There are various ways of using these to develop ideas and create a personal response.

    Assessment Objective 3 is about recording your ideas, observations and insights, which can be in visual, written and other forms. You should work from a range of experiences and stimulus materials, as each of these could lead you to different ways of developing your ideas. You should reflect upon your work, and consider what you have achieved at each stage and what you will do next.

    Assessment Objective 4 is about presenting a personal, informed and meaningful response, from your initial research through to the final piece. You need to demonstrate analytical and critical understanding as you respond to your theme.

    Candidates may use sketchbooks/workbooks/ journals to support their work where appropriate.

Slideshow detailing the GCSE Photography course structure.




Some examples of good quality past photography resource board work

Example of students use of Framing in photography





Useful Web Links

 BBC Bitesize GCSE Photography page

100+ Creative Photography Ideas A student art guide to creative photography