8th September 2020

Technology A-levels: Lockdown photography ‘set me up for life’

Technology A-levels: Lockdown photography ‘set me up for life’

Technology

Technology Owl landing on a gate postImage copyright
James Manning

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James Manning said this owl had become used to him over the months and was quite happy flying close by

A student who spent lockdown taking photos in the countryside said it helped him feel happier about his future, irrespective of his grades.

James Manning, 18, from Somerset, wants to become a photojournalist and wildlife cameraman, so used the time to improve his photography portfolio.

James said his schoolwork had been going well but the pandemic had left him feeling “nervous and insecure”.

He said photography was a back-up if his grades were not what he wanted.

On Thursday, James got two A*s in music technology and photography and will now be studying music production at the Institute of Music Performance in London.

“[The results] were not what I was expecting, I had to double check the letter,” he said.

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Alamy

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James opened his results at home with his parents

“It means I can go forward now and concentrate on the music – but there will be a lot of things to photograph in London,” the former Wells Cathedral chorister added.

“There’s a lot of misinformation going around about how [the] results will be calculated,” he said.

“I’ve been putting all the work in… but now the grades don’t seem to matter really whatsoever.”

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James Manning

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James spent up to 10 hours a day in his quest for the perfect picture

James said he had used lockdown to build on his passion for photography as an alternative future, working six 10-hour days a week out in the countryside near his home in Glastonbury after schools and colleges closed earlier this year because of coronavirus.

James visited nature reserves near his home and explored the Somerset Levels, capturing images.

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James Manning

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The Somerset Levels is one of James’s favourite spots for photography

“I’ve almost doubled my portfolio and that’s really set me up for life,” he said.

“I’ve certainly become more self-reliant and I want to do everything myself knowing universities and things might get cancelled.

“I’d really like to get the photography and videography under my grasp so I’ll have that to back me up if I need it.”

Image copyright
James Manning

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The 18-year-old said the wildlife around his Glastonbury home has flourished during lockdown

He said many of his peers were now not sure about going to university.

“A lot of my friends are international students and they’re unsure whether they’re going to come back at all.

James opened his results envelope at home with his parents rather than going into school to meet with his friends.

“We’ll probably talk a lot on social media, but yeah, strange times,” he added.

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