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Sports, arts and activities

Top marks for portfolio exploring beauty in death

Year 13 student Aislyn Stevens received 95% for her Cambridge A Level Photography coursework folio last year. This year she’s applying her talent to a Bachelor of Visual Arts majoring in Photography at AUT.

What was the theme of your coursework in 2017?

The decay of natural beauty over time through people and flowers. I was trying to convey the idea that there is still beauty in death.

What was the most challenging part of the coursework?

Thinking of the initial idea can be difficult, but once you have one small idea you can develop it. The other challenging part was learning how to stitch. I had no idea how to do it, but once I learnt it became easy.

What was the most rewarding aspect of the course?

The most rewarding aspect is definitely when you lay out your portfolio and see your idea has developed into how you pictured it in your head. All the hard work is worth it when you see it come to life.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learnt that if I have an idea that I want to portray through photographs it can absolutely be done. I went through the whole of my first year of photography thinking I would never be able to photograph people, but when I decided I wanted to photograph people for my coursework, I stuck to it. When I looked at the photos after the shoot they looked better than I could ever have imagined.

What were you most proud of in your folio?

I was proud of everything in my portfolio because I had put in 100% effort. But, if I had to pick, it would be my second-to-last board. I had stayed up late every night working on it and stitching two big flowers, which took up half the board. When it was finally done I was so happy with how it had turned out.

What is some advice you would give other photography students?

Experiment! Use different techniques to play around with your photos, don’t just rely on a computer to edit. Explore different ideas and don’t shut down an idea without seeing how it looks – you might be surprised at how much like it.

What are you doing this year?

This year I am studying at AUT doing a Bachelor of Visual Arts majoring in Photography. At some point I would like to transfer to a university in Europe and finish my degree over there.