The Set Construction Project

The set construction project started in 1995 when photography students from University of Plymouth entered FujiFilm’s UK student award scheme. They submitted an entry for the group work category on the theme ‘home’, and won first prize. Due to the success of the project, a module was created within the BA (Hons) Photography course at Plymouth and has become one of the most significant elements of the second year undergraduate experience. The ambitions for the sets has grown year on year, with students enjoying friendly competition with each other and against previous years. It’s a significant challenge and one that each year group rises to with enthusiasm and creativity.

The project runs over three weeks and starts with initial brainstorming and visualisation. The set is then developed in an almost ’60 minute makeover’ manner, re-using previous years’ materials. This stage of the construction requires the group to work as a team, with some involved with the building work and others heading into the city to find paint samples and source the all-important props needed once the main fabric is completed. The build is refined during this period. The final arrangements of objects become almost individual still-lifes in their own right; such is the attention to detail. As the set develops, so does the complexity of the space. Once the final set is lit it’s ready for the characters of the story to enter…

  • Develop key transferable skills including: negotiation and delegation; entrepreneurship; concept visualisation; construction and modelling; sourcing props and materials; styling; lighting; photographic translation; editing and printing
  • Learn to work effectively in a group with fellow students to develop a photographic set, and create unique images
  • Drive a project through from the initial planning phase to final realisation.