Metaphor 2021

The 2021 version of Metaphor was completed in June. Metaphor is a magazine of photography by the Year 1 students on the BA Photography course in the Technological University Dublin.

Cover image by Tom Scales.

The project helps the students understand how photography works in different contexts. This year has been particularly interesting because all their classes were conducted online. They didn’t get to work in the studios, in the darkroom, or make high quality prints of their work. Looking at images on screen is fine, but *only* looking at images on screen is terrible. So the magazine project took on added significance this year.

The students select the work they want to show in the magazine. Each student has two double-page spreads and they create layouts using Adobe Indesign software. I guide them through the technical requirements of print production as well as the curatorial decisions of their image choices. I supply them with a standard grid template but encourage them to try different approaches in their layouts. This helps them consider how an audience engages with their work. However, this isn’t a magazine about graphic design. As I frequently say, we want the viewer to look at the *photographs*, not the design. The images should dominate the experience.

The concept that guides our BA programme is to develop ability of each student to create their own projects. Whether they become commercial photographers, artists, social media experts or any of a zillion other professions we expect them to be able to do more than just follow orders. They should be able to develop their own ideas, conduct appropriate research, and execute their projects to an excellent standard. They should know how their creative choices fit into contemporary culture. They should know how to connect with and audience for both their own work and to meet their clients’ needs. This little magazine project is one element in the process of developing those abilities.