denise swansonDenise Swanson

BIPP Fellowship in Fine Art

I am very proud to have received a Fellowship of the British Institute of Professional Photography in the Fine Art category, in April 2010, just five years after gaining Licentiateship. After successfully completing the MA, it seemed to be the perfect time to try and do it as I was able to use much of the experience and knowledge I had gained. I actually feel that it helped me to produce the work that was needed at this level, both intellectually and practically so in a way, it evolved from doing the MA.

Having your work assessed by your peers is a daunting experience but makes the achievement even more valuable and the whole process more worthwhile. I have learned so much by going through the various stages of qualification with the BIPP and am proud to be a Fellow.

Masters in Fine Art

I completed an MA with Merit in Fine Art at the University of Central Lancashire 2007-2009, on the Site & Archive Intervention pathwayThis course provided an opportunity to extend my research and classification interests in a fine art context whilst producing a major project. I deliberately chose not to do a photography MA as I wanted to explore a more conceptual and research-led approach. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience - it taught me a great deal about myself and why I take images as well as why I take the type of images I do, I learned a lot from participating on the course and gained a lot of knowledge through the research.

I also saw how my image-making changed over the duration of the course - how the images became more personal and more conceptual and hopefully convey more of a message about how I feel about the subject and that they start to speak for themselves. Photography, in my view, is about so much more than what camera you have or capturing a moment in pin-sharp focus - it is about how you feel and about what you want to say. The MA helped me understand that approach and gave me the confidence to pursue it.

Associate of BIPP

I achieved an Associateship of the British Institute of Professional Photography in Spring 2007, in the Scientific Photography category. I was encouraged to apply in this category due to the background research I undertake on each of the subjects in my images regarding habitat, environment, scientific names and etymology as well as historical references. This was a massive project and one on which I spent a geat deal of time working, not just on taking and preparing the images but in writing the accompanying Working Profile and in the scientific research I did into the subjects.

This was a thoroughly worthwhile experience – I learned so much from having to really focus on my images and on my working practices as well as on the knowledge I gained that I wanted to take this even further. It became the impetus to go for an MA.

My Associate panel was nominated for the Peter Grudgeon Award for Best Associate Panel in 2007. I am indebted to Eric Jenkins FBIPP for acting as my mentor on this project, for his encouragement and for his faith in me. I was delighted to be able to work with him again in preparing for a Fellowship application after the MA was completed.

I am featured in a BIPP Case Study 

Licentiate of BIPP

I achieved the Licentiateship qualification with the BIPP in May 2005 in the Pictorial & Illustrative category. The panel of 20 images was one of only seven to receive a nomination for the coveted Peter Grudgeon Award for the Best Licentiate of 2005. What a valuable experience this was - I was so nervous that I was simply not good enough to even consider going for it. Having qualified at this level, I couldn't wait to try for the next.

Many, many thanks to Ray Lowe FBIPP for having faith in me and his invaluable mentoring, sometimes brutal honesty and helping me to focus my mind on where I want to go. Ray literally rushed me through this project, in just six weeks, so it is thanks to him that I passed “with flying colours”.