Ania Dabrowska and Mick Williamson

Studio Photo 01: The Subjective Eye

Photo credit: From the Photo-Diaries of Mick Williamson

Studio brief

"Part of what excites me about photography is its very uncertainty, the fact that it is not just the photographer, but the vagaries of the world that results in the photograph." Alex Webb.

Focusing on the fine art photography professional context, this studio will support development of students’ personal projects through a programme of talks, critiques, individual tutorials, exhibition visits, critical seminars and practical production workshops.

The studio’s theme points to a critical questioning of the production of meaning; in particular of how the construction of images by artists is driven by cultural, political and social forces and how their artworks, in turn, can affect these frameworks. The medium of photography in particular, creates meaning beyond the latent subject matter presented within the frame. We keep believing in the veracity of the photograph, whilst all the evidence points to the contrary as the content is doctored, adapted and constructed. This is linked to the methodologies, processes, time scales and production values used by the photographers – from the aesthetic choices, through to the way the photographs are printed, scaled and presented.

The nature of the practice that constructs a photograph rather than the object that exists within the frame is central to decoding and to encoding of the work’s meaning. Once we embrace the fact that all photographs are constructed, rather than taken, we must question what it is that we are seeing, what we are making, what we are communicating and why. This triangular relationship that exists between the subject, the author and the audience becomes the key to understanding the meaning of photographic works; a meaning that is relative and dependant on our negotiation of the relationship of these three elements. The studio will stimulate discussions of these issues and ideas raised by students’ work in relation to broader contemporary fine art practice.

The studio will teach students how to position their practice within fine art frameworks and how to produce works to the highest professional standard. We will work from concept development to completion of the projects’ outputs, including artworks, exhibitions, publications and digital platforms, whilst also developing skills for launching into professional practice after graduation. This will include establishing professional networks, marketing, branding, portfolio development and work opportunities within photography and the visual arts.

There will be an opportunity to be involved in live projects with the local arts community such as Four Corners, Uncertain States, Printspace, Alternative Arts' Women’s’ History Month, London Independent Photography and an opportunity to win mentorship and ambassadorship programmes from Metro Imaging.

Last year visiting speakers included Maureen Paley (Maureen Paley Gallery), Zelda Cheatle (Curator), Christiane Monarchi (Photomonitor), Hannah Watson (TJ Boulting), Chris Cooke (Colour Printer), Lucy Souter (Writer), Clare Bryan (Book Maker), Renee Mussai (Autograph) and Steve McLeod (Metro Imaging). And we intend to repeat the same this year, too.


Course Photography BA (Hons)
Tutors Mick Williamson
Ania Dabrowska
Where Calcutta Small Annex, Ground floor, CSG-05
When Monday and Thursday

Fine Art

Studio Photo 01: The Subjective Eye

Ania Dabrowska and Mick Williamson

This photography studio concentrates on developing your professional practice within a fine art context, preparing you for your career within photography and the visual arts. Understanding the meaning of photographs beyond its immediate subject matter will help you to access the full power of the medium, where subject, author and audience come together.

Studio Photo 02: Beyond the Surface

Paola Leonardi and Heather McDonough

Beyond the Surface is a photography studio that shows you how to mix art with work and use your own contemporary imagery towards a career in photography. Get your aesthetic identity right - join this studio!

Studio Art 03: The Hole in the Screen

Patrick Ward and Jonathan Whitehall

The Hole and the Screen is a lively contemporary art studio focused on how negative space works in moving image in art theory and in art practice. Video, film, sound and photography all play their part. All-comers welcome!

Studio Art 04: Open Field

Ben Cain and Janette Parris

Open Field is a very special art studio dedicated to providing art students with hands-on work-related learning alongside artists as they undertake art residencies at the Cass. All Year 2 art students will pass through this studio for one of the residencies.

Studio Art 05: I Love Painting Things

Bob and Roberta Smith, Andrea Medjesi-Jones

This art studio is aimed at art students who want to paint! That’s any aspect of paint, not just formal work on canvas, but also painting sculptures, ceramics and using paint in performance. This is the one for you!

Studio Art 06: Making the Stone Stony

Rosemarie McGoldrick and Peter Fillingham

We love art, talking about art and making it! If your work is about “the life of stuff”, how artists relate to ‘things’ differently from objects and non-objects, then Making the Stone Stony is the studio for you.

Cass studios archive by year