With the GCSE external examination theme of ‘Reflection’ in mind, the year 11 Art and Design pupils all headed to London for inspiration. Everyone started at the National Portrait Gallery and viewed the Photographic Portrait Prize on display there. From there the Fine Art and Photography groups split in to their individual itineraries. Fine artists collected visual inspiration for their exam on the theme of ‘Reflection’. Portraiture is a genre that attracts many of our students, thus the National Portrait Gallery provided a visual smorgasboard. On entering the gallery we were faced with the inspirational Malala Yousafzai, photographed by Shirin Neshat, who overlaid words on top of Malala’s image using words as a weapon – to enhance, educate and enforce her message. The slick images of pop art appealed to many in the Portrait Gallery and the Tate Modern where we were confronted with Lichtenstein’s ‘Whaam’ exploded in its industrial setting. The galleries themselves provided good opportunities for photoshoots with the vast expanses of glass providing reflection upon reflection and the views to inspire. Saint Paul’s, the Shard, the Microphone and Cheese-grater (landmark buildings as well as inanimate objects!) were all accessible from the Tate Modern’s viewing platform on the 10th floor. A trip that caused ‘reflection’ from our young artists. We will look forward to seeing the fruition of their findings in their summer exhibition.
After the Portrait Prize the Photographers viewed the photography of creative women by Mayotte Magnus and a room of contemporary interpretations of analogue photographic techniques also on display in the NPG followed by their series Black on Black.

Whisked across London they were then in awe of the beautiful images on display in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year at the Natural History Museum where a mixture of dazzling colour, majesty of the wilderness and wildlife in an urban setting contrast with some of the photojournalism images that address issues of wildlife in trouble, usually at the hands of man.

The Victoria and Albert Museum was our last point of call for the new Photography Centre to see work ranging from original Daguerreotypes to contemporary fine art pieces. The last stop was the fantastic Videogames exhibition that illustrates so clearly how creative talents have been used to great effect in the birthing of an industry now worth millions. The most interesting aspect of this exhibition is seeing how even the most sophisticated of modern games start out as often a pencil or painted sketch on paper before becoming digitised and rendered by computer programming. A stunning display of an important aspect of the future of the creative arts.

These pupils now have seven weeks of hard work to prepare for their final examination timed test to be completed immediately after the Easter break. Good luck to them all.

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