Graduate feature on Fashion and Portrait Photographer David Vail

David Vail graduated from the Editorial and Advertising Photography Degree in 2012. In this graduate feature, David talks about his time on the Ed and Ad course, what the course taught him about the ‘real world’ of work and what he has been working on since leaving.

When did you graduate?

Why did you decide to come onto the course?
To be honest, I did want to go on a London based course to begin with, but after asking around I heard that alot of them where badly run and majority of people had dropped out after a short period, and as it took me a while to decide that I wanted to go to university, I didn’t want to muck about and wanted to go on a course that I knew I would learn on.

Were you able to draw on the transferable skills learnt on the course when you left and started working?
Yes absolutely, the areas of the course that focus on preparing you for life afterwards are invaluable, having real and realistic conversations about what your first steps can/will be are a huge benefit, and the leagues of graduates from the course who have gone on to have successful careers are always happy to offer advise on the best steps to take. 

Has the course prepared you for working within the creative industries?
I have gone on to work in the fashion industry, and during my time on the course we had some mock interviews and meetings where I thought it was a bit of comical theatre that the lecturer was being very dry and harsh with me, but in the real world – meetings can be that brutal. During the course, I used to hate receiving critical feedback on my work as I always took it a bit personally, but in the real world, you won’t even get that, if the client doesn’t like you work you won’t receive any feedback at all, you just won’t hear from them again, so I look back on that critical feedback and realise that I should have cherished the fact that I could receive feedback from my peers and lecturers.

What have you been working on since you left University?
I spent the first 4/5 years assisting, but have now been shooting for 2/3 years, shooting editorially in fashion and portraiture, and trying to break more into moving image, and of course chasing those elusive commercial clients.

Would you recommend the Editorial and Advertising Photography course and if so why?
Absolutely, I was unsure for years before whether or not university was the right track for me, but was so happy I went and chose this course, it gave me the room to experiment, use the facilities as much as possible and take as much encouragement, advise and wisdom from lecturers who genuinely cared and took a real interest in not only my work but me as a person, from people I have spoken to post-university, things I have heard and in my opinion, this photography course would easily rank as one of the top 3 photography courses in the country.



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