Course Leader for BA (Hons) Photography
Joe Miles has extensive experience as a freelance photographer, specialising in commercial and editorial photography for national and international clients. He has worked with models, politicians, sportspeople and celebrities for clients including the BBC, British Telecom, The Condé Nast Publications, The Daily Telegraph, Fulham FC, HSBC, Hyundai, Liverpool FC, Marie Claire, Sotheby’s, the Sunday Times Magazine and Tesco.
In my time at BCU I have taught across three schools – Art, Fashion and Visual Communication, giving me a breadth of experience. I am now part of the new College of Digital Arts and excited about the opportunities that this brings. I work or have previously worked on a range of Faculty committees making positive change to the student experience looking at areas such as Equality, Diversity & Inclusion, Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality and have led numerous development sessions on improving the student experience.
Journey to BCU
After graduating, I started working at BCU – then called the University of Central England – as one of the few people in the area who knew about digital photography, as it was such a new technology at the time. I also taught a program that, when I started, few had heard of called ‘Adobe Photoshop’. It’s funny how ‘photoshopping’ has now become part of our everyday language. I then moved to London to go freelance and undertook various teaching roles in Further and Higher Education before returning to BCU.
My time in industry has furnished me with numerous industry connections who I have brought in to see the students, such as the photographers Perou and Harry Borden, the photographic director Cheryl Newman and Ruth Hogben, who used to be Lady Gaga’s Creative Director and has just designed Beyoncé’s world tour. The students love learning from their experiences.
One of the most rewarding parts of my job is the pride I take in seeing what my students go on to achieve. Some have had solo exhibitions, be judges on national television programmes about photography, photograph the England Football Team or follow bands on tour around the world. Their clients include names such as Adidas, Vanity Fair, Vogue, Nike, BMW, The Guardian, Universal Music, Virgin and many, many more! It’s lovely to think that I played some small part in their success.
I’ve photographed vanilla workers in remotest Uganda, where I was the first white person they had ever seen! That was an amazing experience and in the most stunning country I have ever visited. As a football fan, I have been privileged to photograph more premier league footballers than I can remember. I do know that at one point I had photographed the England Captain, Manager and Assistant Manager.
At the moment, I’m working on collaborative projects with the Head of the College of Jewellery, Fashion & Textiles, creating fashion films and looking at how new technology can be used to innovate and disrupt this medium.