What type of work do students create on the MA in Photography? Read about the Final Major Project produced by graduate Tim Stubbs Hughes.
This post is by Tim Stubbs Hughes, a graduate of Falmouth Flexible's online MA in Photography. Here, he talks about his experience on the course as well as his Final Major Project (FMP), a body of work produced as the culmination of his studies.
My journey through the MA in Photography has been an immersive and personal experience.
As I enrolled in September 2019, my father-in-law, and partner to my mother for the last 30-years, passed away. Throughout 2019, I had been travelling back to my hometown in Fleet, Hampshire, where my mother still lived in the house that I, and my sister and brother, grew up in as I supported my mother in her care for her husband.
Looking back on this now, I was already being surrounded and taken on the journey that I would begin to explore over the course in the next two years and realised in my FMP.
My background before starting the MA is as a theatre director and producer, and someone who had been working in that practice since in 1997. I trained as an actor at Manchester School of Theatre in late 1980s. I had had a camera in my late teenage years that I bought one summer but then sold in the early 1990s. I had not used a camera until around 2010.
Through a photography group, led by photographer Grace Gelder, I exhibited work at Conway Hall in London between 2017-2019. It was while working on these individual personal projects and group exhibitions I decided to embark on a MA in Photography. After looking at several courses in London where I am based, I opted for the course at Falmouth University.
Several factors influenced me in choosing Falmouth: the depth of experience of the tutors and course leader; the fact that it was online (this was pre-Covid) and meant that I could work in my job while studying (am not a professional photographer); and that it was over two years, thus allowing theory and practice to drop down inside. Time to reflect and consider is important in my practice and thinking.
Of course, in reality part-time is actually full-time (or every spare moment you can muster), but also what you put in you get back.
Each module is well designed, and there are some definite highlights that I remember: working on an Ed Ruscha inspired book; a collaborative project to produce a zine called “Ginger’; immersing myself in critical theory and at times writing up the critical research journey (online blog) that was part of our process on the MA; establishing The Long Exposure collective.
For myself, the Final Module Project, which is the last six months of the MA, was a return in part to the initial project that I began in the first module in November 2019. At the time, as I mentioned, I was visiting my hometown and childhood home, and the place and spaces were beginning to re-communicate and nudge against my consciousness.
At this time, I re-read “The Poetics of Space” by Gaston Bachelard which would become the inciting theory to my work and future project. Covid-19 prevented me from visiting my mother’s home in 2020, but with restrictions lifting in 2021 I was able to re-connect with the project and continue my exploration of the idea that the person I had become was still being influenced and inspired by the person who had grown up in that house.
The memory, the day-dreams, the fantasies of the child growing up from six to 18 years-old within a single space and the surround area’s was being recalled and invoked.
What I feel without doubt, and which I am still processing a few months after the MA has completed, is that over the two-years, you are immersed within critical theory and practice of photography.
Through the tutor lead sessions, the various exercises and mini-projects, the numerous guest lectures (and its archive) and the support of your fellow peers, I have developed a sense of my own photography and its direction.
“Remembrance of day-dreams” was the culmination of my FMP on the MA in Photography at Falmouth University and is an autobiographical exploration aiming to explore this liminal space and enquire how the memories of the past and their phenomenological interrogation can illuminate the connections between the identity you have today and the remembrances of a past self.
It brought together elements of photographic material past and present, archival material from his childhood and the use of snapshots of sound, music and spoken word, and aimed to take the viewer on a journey and place them within this world to reminisce and remember their own childhood.
I would recommend the MA in Photography at Falmouth University to anyone who wants to explore not only the scope of what photography has been and is today but who also wants to examine their own place within the landscape of photographic practice.
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All photos: Credit Tim Stubbs Hughes