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Balancing art with history of art studies

Michaela Efford Photography, Olivia and Alice
Michaela Efford used her art skills and creative connections to build an exciting freelance fashion photography career.

Michaela enjoyed art at school and decided to continue her studies with an art degree at Reading. During her first year, she had the opportunity to study modules from other courses, and she chose to learn more about the history of art.

She enjoyed expanding her knowledge in this area so much that she transferred to the BA Art and History of Art joint degree at the end of her first year.

“Studying a joint degree was a little challenging, but it comes with benefits as it teaches you time management. Studying art and history of art went hand in hand too, so I was able to use my history of art knowledge in my art practices.”

Showcasing her work

Michaela Efford Photography, Doina Ciobanu for Bulgari
Michaela undertook opportunities outside of her studies to expand her experiences, and showcased her work where possible. She visited art galleries, presented her own work in galleries with other students, and, like all our art students, displayed her work in the Final Year Degree Show.

“Final year was stressful and there is a lot of pressure, but it is very rewarding. After working so hard, it was definitely a big achievement to see my final work on display at the end of the year.”

Using creative connections to build a career

Michaela Efford Photography, Sports Campaign
Michaela had no idea what career she wanted when she first started at Reading. But through her course, she experimented with mediums and media, and found that she most enjoyed photography and videography. This inspired her to start her freelance fashion photography business.

“I’ve been working for myself for four years now. I have shot for brands like Ralph Lauren, Monsoon, Bulgari, New Look and many more.

“Before going full time as a photographer, I was doing styling for brands and I managed to style Daniel Radcliffe for GQ Brazil and L’officiel Hommes Netherlands – I got that connection from a fellow University of Reading student.

“Without the University, I wouldn’t have connected with other creatives and those connections have helped in my career today.”


Read about the BA Art and History of Art course

Image one: Michaela Efford Photography, Olivia and Alice.
Image two: Michaela Efford Photography, Doina Ciobanu for Bulgari.
Image three: Michaela Efford Photography, Sports Campaign.

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Laura Nicholson

Student, Laura Nicholson, working on her artwork
Laura combined their love for art with their interest in psychology and discovered that both aspects complimented one another.

Vervina Henry

Vervina explored her own identity, history and cultural heritage through fine art media such as film, installation and performance.

Marylyn Molisso

Marylyn Molisso, Backbreaker 2019
Marylyn studied BA Art at Reading due to the flexibility of the course and all the opportunities available to her. She studied abroad in Budapest and exhibited her work in the UK and in Europe.

Image: Marylyn Molisso's 'Backbreaker', 2019, Peer Gallery (photo credit: Stephen White).