On the 29th of November we went to Manchester for the UCAS Fair there. This fair featured universities from across the country showcasing only their arts-related courses.
My intentions, on my way to the fair, were to find courses in photography. I like design, but I feel my skills lie in the photography area, and I enjoy photography much more. I was open to new ideas, but I had a fair idea of what I was really looking for.
I looked at a lot of Photography courses. These days, almost every university runs a course in Photography, but every course I found seemed to be totally commercial - photographs for advertising, leaflets, magazines. I don't dislike these photographs, but they certainly don't grab my enthusiasm immediately. I like photography with a story and a meaning.
I then found Northumbria University. There were lots of interesting photographs up around their stall, and once I was drawn in, I asked about their course. The lady I spoke to described it as "Fine Art Photography", though the course is actually called "Contemporary Photographic Practice".
I asked what the course entailed, what was I going to be doing during my time, and the answer I recieved sounded perfect.
"You take your time to discover the subject matter that interests you, and then you can base all your briefs around the subjects that interest you the most. If you like portraiture, we won't try and force you into landscapes."
I was never happier. The idea of taking my own brand of personal, emotionally charged, inspiring portrait photos was a prospect that had me giddy. I continued to ask and everything I discovered just seemed to click very perfectly.
I remember walking out of the stall with glee saying "Thats the one, that's the one!" over and over to myself.
After my joyous encounter with Northumbria University, I'd discovered that my chosen artform had a name, Fine Art Photography, and I no longer had to trawl through commercial courses to find another decent one.
I found another, very similar course at Nottingham Trent University. This course was just 'Photography' by name, but the subject matter was very similar, allowing personal growth and study within an area that genuinely interests me, as opposed to trying to enjoy a subject I greatly dislike.
Out of the two courses, I would prefer Northumbria University based purely on how perfectly the course seemed to fit with me. Both universities are close to home, but far away enough to allow me my own independance, which is another important point for me.
Upon leaving the fair, I was filled with much more determination to succeed at my current course, knowing I now have a realistic goal for my future to work towards.