The Harrogate College column with Debra Forsythe-Conroy

The photography department forms part of the expanded Art and Design School at Harrogate College.
The photography department forms part of the expanded Art and Design School at Harrogate College.

The college has often been described as a hidden gem with a rich history in some key specialisms. The photographic department is a great example of this!

The superb staff team are celebrating the end of their first year in the new facilities.

A massive £480k investment has been made providing 1000sqm of purpose built studios fitted with new professional ‘hi-glide’ lighting rigs and all accessories needed to produce stunning imagery.

The photography department forms part of the newly expanded Art and Design School at Harrogate College.

Here you can undertake courses in fine art, ceramics, textiles and pattern cutting, black and white printing and beginners digital photography.

Further investment has been made in equipment boasting high end digital cameras and professional level lenses, linked to apple macs loaded with professional editing software such as Photoshop, Lightroom and Capture One.

Bricks, mortar and equipment do not make a great college or training provider though, and the best resources found in the department are the staff.

For example Matthew Dalby is the full time technician who has a first-class honours degree in photography. He keeps the department equipment shipshape and is always at hand to help students achieve their best work.

The professional/academic staff include Naomi Bolser who is completing her doctorate in moving image, Fraser Wright and Edward Webster who are practicing professionals and exhibiting artists.

Naomi Bolser, course leader BA (Hons) Photography and MA Creative Practice said: “The photography tutors are absolutely dedicated to our students and enjoy sharing their expertise, they bring a wealth of professional knowledge to the department.

“We teach students from total beginner up to masters level.”

Edward Webster the college’s traditional film processes and darkroom expert said: “What has been important in the planning of the new facilities was not to lose any of the traditional film process rooms whilst still providing industry standard digital equipment.”

This is reflected in the variety of work produced by this year’s graduating students and recently seen on display in the end of year art and design show.

The work encompasses studio portrait and still life, digital location work and the production of beautiful hand coloured traditional silver based prints.

Another specialist taught discipline is photo art for exhibition; here quality of image and imaginative presentation is integral to the work produced.

Now that everyone has a camera phone, well produced professional photography is becoming more relevant than ever.

The updated studios and specialised resources allows students to reach their highest potential and the team offer expertise across all areas of photography, particularly studio and editorial photography as well as content for web and moving image.

Harrogate College is now designing a range of new photographic courses.

These will appeal to absolute beginners through to aspiring professionals at all ages and stages in their life.

If you would like to learn more about the new photographic facilities or would like to have a look around then make an enquiry on 01423879466 or go to our website