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Photography: Visual Conversations


Entrance requirements

To apply for Photography: Viual Conversations, please register in Osiris (see link below). Participance in the entrance exam of this course consists of writing a motivation letter, completing an assingment, and preparing an artistic portfolio. If these are of sufficient quality, you will be invited for the second round, in which you will be interviewed online by the teacher about your motivation.
In June 2022, you will be informed whether you are invited for the admission interview.
The application deadline is 1 June, 2023 at 23:59.
The online admission interview for Photography: Visual Conversations will take place on 14 June, 2023.

Specific information about the entry requirements for this course:

Complete the following assignment:
Choose a person special to you and make a series of photos as seen through the eyes of this person. This can be a public figure but also someone from your family or circle of friends. Try to put yourself in this person’s shoes and imagine what they would find interesting to capture in a series of photos. Use your imagination and try to take into account the background and interests of the chosen person and visualise this in your photos. Take at least 8 photos for this assignment (digital or analog).
In addition to this you need to create a portfolio with your own work of at least 10, maximum 15 photos and write a motivation letter of maximum 500 words in which you describe your assignment and explain why you want to follow Photography: Visual Conversations.

** Portfolio requirements: **

  • Make sure that the photos you choose for your portfolio reflect your interest as a maker

  • Since you are applying for a photography course you may add maximum two non-photography works (drawings, painting etc)

  • You can add series of photos or singles, or both
    You can upload the assignment, your portfolio and your motivation letter as a PDF file (max. 20 mb) during the registration process in Osiris.


Practicum Artium electives are a one-year programme organised by the Academy of Creative and Performing Arts (ACPA), a collaboration between Leiden University, the Royal Academy of Art and the Royal Conservatoire.

This elective course is an introduction to the medium of photography which centers on research into the expression and possibilities of photography. We see photos all day, in the news, as commercials, presented as works of art. We might think that we immediately understand what we see, that the image is easy to understand. But is that really the case? Do we know how imagery actually works and how we experience reality through visual representations? In this course, students will discover and learn to control the power, complexity and working mechanisms of photography through assignments and theoretical lectures.

The title Photography: Visual Conversations refers to the story you want to tell as a maker and want to share with your audience. But it also refers to the conversation between the photographer and the subject in front of their camera. We will examine the position of power of the photographer in relation to the subject/community you work with and the responsibility you have as a photographer. In this elective we will dive deeper into how you as a maker can collaborate with the people in front of the camera and how you can collectively make decisions. We discuss concepts such as representation, co-authorship, (cultural) appropriation, remixing and pop culture, and working with archival image/found footage is discussed.

Practical assignments are supported by theory about the history of photography as well as contemporary photography. During the lessons, we make use of the fact that students approach photography from different perspectives and from their own background as students from different departments and studies. Collaboration is encouraged, as the contemporary photographer is not a solitary maker but part of a network, a community, and building a network already starts during your studies.

Learning objectives

Basic photography techniques are discussed and we will work a couple of times in the photo studios, however this course is not a technical photography course. The aim is to discover how photography plays a role in society, how the perception of images works and how people interpret images. Students develop a criticality towards interpreting and creating images, and learn how to use this knowledge to communicate their own ideas to the viewer through the use of photography.
Through experimentation and research into different photography genres and techniques, a student gains awareness on the endless possibilities of photography. At the end of this program, the student has developed their artistic abilities and the student is able to work independently.

(NB. Students are allowed to work analog at times but the course does not specifically focus on analog photography).

If you are intersted in viewing the works of this year's students, please visit the online exhibition Reef of Art here.


Application deadline: 1 June 2023
Interview date: 14 June, 2023 (the date of the interview is not negotiable)
Lessons: Wednesday from 18:30 – 21.30 hrs.
Period: This course takes place during the full academic year; 14 lessons in Semester 1, and 14 lessons in Semester 2.
Start date: first week of September
Location: all classes take place at KABK, Prinsessegracht 4, Den Haag, unless the COVID19 situation demands otherwise
Room: t.b.a.

Mode of instruction

In-class discussions, working in the photo studio*, studio visits* and exhibition visits*.

  • this depends on the corona measures in place.

Mode of assessment/evaluation

Attendance requirement of 80%. Individual assessment of assignments. Participation in the final exhibition.


Will be anounced in the first class.


Liza Swaving


NB: This course is NOT available in Usis. Registration period: 15 April - 1 June 2023 To register, visit.


This course is part of Practicum Artium. These courses are exclusively intented for students of Leiden University.

For other courses in the domains of fine arts and music, please visit: Elective courses music and fine arts