One of our alumni has been awarded the title of Portrait Photographer of the Year 2017 by the British Institute of Professional Photography (BIPP).
Stuart Mansfield, who graduated with a first class Photography degree in 1998, received the award for his collection of five portraits. He says: “Since leaving UCA, I decided to follow a career in portraiture and in the last three years I've been focused on developing my new studio as well as my portrait photography. It is a great feeling to be awarded photographer of the year and gain recognition from other professional photographers.”
Enjoying a successful career since graduating, Stuart now owns his own studio, Lovelight, in Pirbright, Surrey. His images were featured in the John Kobal Portrait Prize soon after graduation, and in 1999 he was named runner up in the Observer Hodge Award. From 2000 until 2013, Stuart worked with one of the UK’s leading portrait companies, Venture Portraits, until he opened his own studio later that year.
“I had to submit a panel of five images which worked as a portfolio,” he says of his winning work. “The images were selected from a larger set of portraits I've been working on. The judges found the images were very strong and they kept coming back to my set over other panels in the awards.”
Since his time at UCA, Stuart has noticed the photography industry undergo drastic change, with digital imaging largely replacing traditional film. However, he credits the strong foundation of knowledge he gained during his degree.
“I was lucky to leave UCA just before the digital revolution. I love shooting with digital and the work flow opportunities digital photography offers. However, I am glad that I learnt to shoot on film. Working with medium format cameras and printing my own images at UCA gave me a good discipline,” he explains.
“My course was definitely more theoretical than vocational. I value the time I had to develop a strong foundation in imagery and photography. The thought process behind creating images is the same whether shooting on film or digital.”
BIPP is the photography qualifying body in the UK and requires any photographer going for qualification to follow strict criteria and provide a substantial portfolio of commissioned work, together with supporting information about themselves as a professional.
The award was presented to Stuart at The Ivy Soho Brasserie in London.