Alma Leaper MA
Qualified Teacher of Photography/Fine Art
Cardiff College of Art: Foundation/Graphic Design
SOAS/London Uni:BA First Class hons: Asian/African Art & Archaeology
SOAS/London Uni: MA Distinction: Chinese Art & Archaeology
Canterbury Uni: PGCE-Fine Art/Photography (Secondary)
Alma studied Graphic Design at Cardiff College of Art, following a Foundation and introduction to Photography. She has worked as a Graphic Designer & Account Manager in Advertising and has been involved in the design of corporate identities; book layout; finished artwork and brochure design. She worked on the annual product-launches for Nikon UK, specialising in Photography, Alma has worked as Creative Director on photo-shoots of all genres, including Food Photography and Location work.
Alma developed her interest in other cultures, by returning to study - Asian/African Art & Archaeology at the School of Oriental & African Studies, London University and achieved a First Class BA hons, followed by an MA with Distinction. Her PhD research proposal on the relationship between Image & Text in Art/Photography (with Chinese Character/Mandarin reference) was curtailed, following her experience of working at two schools in Harbin, North China, for, on her return, she found she missed teaching and working with young people. She changed track and completed a PGCE at Canterbury University.
As a qualified Art/Photography Teacher since 2007, Alma has taught GCSE and AS/A2 level Fine Art/Photography at schools in Kent and was Head of Photography from 2007 - 2015 at Homewood School & Sixth Form Centre. She was also an OCR Moderator on A Level Art & Photography.
Working in different genres of photography, providing imagery and examples to help students’ individual needs, her personal passion for photography has always been centred on Wildlife.
In August 2014, I was offered a chance to combine my passion for animals, education and photography by leading workshops at The Big Cat Sanctuary, Smarden, Kent. I am now Lead Photographer and Head of Photography Workshops. I organise bookings, throughout the year, every day of the week. I work closely with our amazing Keepers and I have built up a great team of photographers with Chris Spurr and Sarah Medway. We are always incredibly busy.
From my research of Asian & African cultures and the more recent attempts to refocus objectives towards the conservation of species, I find working at BCS - where the mission is to “be recognised and respected as one of the best breeding centres in the world” – immensely rewarding. The Photography workshops; donations and experiences help considerably towards funding, enabling BCS to operate as a 'Centre of Excellence, dedicated to the captive breeding of critically endangered Big Cats within the EEP'
In my photography, as in my Art, I have explored the difference between looking and seeing. The camera is a useful tool, helping you see the world in more detail. On a photography workshop, you will be shown the individual characteristics of our amazing big & small cats at a close, yet safe, distance. I have great respect for them all and, over time, I have built up a great rapport with each and every one of them. I will encourage you to look, see and not just photograph the cats. You will soon recognise the privilege of being up close. I am always asked which of the cats is my favourite. My answer "the one I'm with" - I couldn't choose between them.
My aim is to help you achieve, at whatever level of experience or equipment, the best possible image of each cat you see on the day. I will offer advice on camera settings at each of the stand-off areas and advise on composition. We will discuss how to develop your own style of photography, by experimenting with exposure. I will endeavor to encourage each cat to respond to you, within the most natural areas of their enclosure and help you consider the best camera settings to avoid any background distractions and to help avoid the mesh. In the stand-off areas, I will show you how to position yourself for, in the words of Ansel Adams:
“ A good photograph is knowing where to stand"
Ultimately, I am sure you will leave with many super images and I just know you will enjoy your day at The Big Cat Sanctuary and leave with lots of happy memories.
Alma Leaper Photography
Head of In-House
The Big Cat Sanctuary
Individual & Group Tuition
All cameras & levels of experience welcome.
Age Limit: 16yrs
To book a 1-1
For a 4 or 6 GROUP
(donations to BCS)