Mark Swallow

Grugeon Award smljpgAt the tender age of 23 with the BIPP Jubilee Award

Art had always been my strongest subject at school and my paintings were always displayed on the classroom and corridor walls. My Head Mistress even referred to me as "The Artist of the School", so I was definitely destined to have a career in something creative.

When I left school, I was lucky enough to get a job as a junior photographer at a large commercial studio in Southampton. I also attended a day release course for a City & Guilds at Salisbury University. I think you could say that I hit the ground running, becoming a fully fledged photographer at 19 years old, shooting room sets, product shots and industrial style shots down at the docks.

Being back in the day, I enjoyed using 5x4 and 10x8 monorail cameras and Hasselblads. In my early twenties, my speciality was creating special effects with multiple exposures and I'd often expose a single piece of film with 10 or more images comped together to create amazing effects and montages. I also mastered my own secret techniques using converted record turntables to create motion swooshes and projectors for lasers. The special effects I created then, are similar to what you'd achieve now using Photoshop, so when digital manipulation became available, I took it like a duck to water.

At the age of only 23, I won the British Institute of Professional Photography's "Jubilee Award" for the best Associateship panel entry. Later that year, I was awarded a Fellowship certificate and was the youngest to have ever received such an honour.

Many years have passed since then, and from time to time, I have been a "specialist" in many areas, such as wine photography, electronics, special effects and lifestyle catalogue work. I've created a huge amount of images over the years, but I still have the same enthusiasm for my craft and I eagerly look forward to new challenges... the more difficult the better!