Denise Maxwell

Professional photographer who has photographed people such as Barack Obama, Usain Bolt, Tom Hanks, Oprah Winfrey

From being pregnant at 15, being made redundancy in your 30s through austerity cuts, to a professional career with a portfolio that includes Barak Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Tom Hanks and Will Smith. The tenacity of women.

Denise has been a full time professional photographer for nearly 10 years. She is often questioned about who took the photos on her website, because whatever people assume a professional photographer looks like, it mustn't be her. She came from an average working class family, on a council estate, living with her mom and two brothers. She went to the local comprehensive, went onto A levels, a degree and various jobs working around Domestic Abuse and Racisms. This wasn't expected of her because she also ended up having a son at 16.

Her last employed job was at senior level in the statutory sector. After being made redundant from a successful career in NHS through austerity cuts she decided to start her own business because the lack of other viable opportunities on the market.

She started in event and portrait photography.  She naively did not think this male dominated industry would present such a challenge. As well as the business challenges of setting up and maintaining a business from a background of being employed rather than self employed, navigating marketing as well as perfecting your craft, to the 'normal' being talked down to, undermined and overlooked, to being threatened with physical assault from a male paparazzi.

Years later she is still a successful photographer with an impressive portfolio. Her portfolio has expanded to cover many genres including sports (The Diamond League Athletics), fashion (London Fashion Week), weddings, red carpet, portraits, music, food and events.  She said "I have always had jobs that have had variety and also been good for my social and mental health, so when I moved into photography I wanted to continue this. The different genres allow me to continually test my skills and keep everything exciting, it is important for me to love and be challenged by what I do. Owning my own business also allows me to balance my social life which has always been important in my career".  

To date this varied career has led Denise to have photographed some of the most well known people and events in the world including people such as Barack Obama, Usain Bolt, Tom Hanks and Oprah Winfrey.  She has covered events such as London Fashion Week, The Brits and the BAFTA's and has a client list that includes The BBC, Gumtree, Wates Construction and Armani.  Her work has been published in Vogue, The Independent and The Guardian to name a few publications.  Denise also teaches her own workshops / lessons and also visit lectures at Sandwell College and The University of Birmingham.

Denise can speak on:
• Turning your struggles into strengths
• Operating outside your comfort zones
• Working in male dominated environments
• Unhelpful imposter syndrome thoughts
• Her experiences
• Her career to date and her path to success
• Resilience and tenacity
• Being a full time creative
• Experiences linked to being a black female in the industry

This is not an exhaustive list, please contact if in doubt.

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