I got into the photography of landscapes and architecture whilst travelling. I did Art at GCSE and continued Geography and Business at A-level along with Photography. I have definitely seen how these subjects have influenced my work over the years.
I’ve always been very much into sport, particularly football, so I often document that too.
I looked at universities further away than ARU, but felt my knowledge of the Cambridge area and insight into it was a benefit and I’d already started to grow a network, especially in sport. It is good to spend time getting to know people when developing projects and to have a way in. My confidence has grown from there. I also really liked the fact that the course at ARU offered both digital and film photography which allowed me to develop and experiment further with my work.
I’ve had really good advice from my course team, not only focusing on the commercial aspects of photography, but how to put across my personal interests and strengths, like my documentary projects and projects on urbanisation - things that I hope will help me stand out. They also encouraged me to take part in competitions and calls for exhibitions. . I was really happy to take part in Shutter Hub’s exhibitions in London and Amsterdam which was an amazing experience. I also took part in ARU’s Sustainability Art Prize. To be part of the exhibition, coming runner up which was great.
The course team have encouraged us to take lots of different approaches, including exploring the potential of social media platforms such as Instagram. It was through sharing my images on Instagram that my second-year photography project about Grassroots football led to the BBC contacting me. They wanted to interview me and find out more about my project documenting youth football in the UK.
There are lots of events, and other people including photographers, graphics designers and film makers in Cambridge. We all cross over which is great. Then there’s freelance jobs, and other ways to build your contacts.
During my final major project, I photographed at Highways England’s A14 sites in the county and the Global Sustainability Institute at ARU wanted to collaborate with me as well.
The Degree Show taught me how important it is to have your own website and business card to get a professional look and give a good impression, because you never know who will be viewing your work.
In order to find a work placement, I worked with the employability team at ARU where I found one at Immerse Education for the Working in the Creative Industries module I was completing. This was a paid internship over the summer, for a month, taking photos of international students at events and dinners. I also photographed architecture in Cambridge, Oxford and London, as well as sports and leisure activities. The company have asked me to come back. It’s great when a client can see the value in your work. It’s also really rewarding to see how the young people and clients react to your work. You can see how you’ve made an impact.
I’m potentially looking at doing a master’s degree, maybe in photojournalism, creative advertising or marketing, to link together my key areas of interest. However, at the moment I’m looking to gain some further experience and try to carry out an internship or job within the photography industry.
The best advice I can give to other students is to be persistent, stay in contact with people and keep on sharing your work.
Tom Alfuth BA (Hons) Photography
Images on this page are details from Tom's work. See more here: tomalfuthphotography.com
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