Introducing Doctor Denise Maxwell
International Photographer from Walsall Awarded Honorary Doctor of the Arts.
Scolded by her grandmother for leaving a steady NHS job, photographer Denise Maxwell has broken barriers in her industry and has been awarded Doctorate for services in Photography.
International Photographer Denise Maxwell of Lensi Photography was awarded an honorary Doctorate as an alumni of The University of Wolverhampton for her services to the Arts.
Honorary awards are presented by the University of Wolverhampton to people who have made a significant contribution to their field of expertise. 11 were awarded this year.
The Head of alumni and Development said “the team were especially delighted to have an alumna of the University recognised … the approval panel are unanimous that you were deserving of the award for everything you have achieved”.
Career by default
Denise started her career in photography by default not design. Turning to photography after being made redundant in the first wave of austerity cuts. Denise has gone on to become an industry leader as multi genre photographer, receiving recognition and accolades in each genre she shoots.
She has photographed some of the most well known people and biggest events in the world.
She was one of the photographers covering the Birmingham 2022 Commonwelath Games and Eurovision in Liverpool. She was the photographer behind the multi award winning “Make Money Equal Campaign” by Starling Bank and continues to pass her knowledge onto emerging photographers through her courses and delivering workshops for others such camera brand Canon and arts organisation such as The Mac and Southbank Centre.
Her art work has been exhibited at The Midlands Arts Centre, Harris Museum and Wolverhampton Art Gallery. She was the first photographer to be commissioned for the first ever arts exhibition held it City Law Firm Latham Watkins in October 2022.
Her documentary work during lockdown was highlighted by the BBC.
In addition to this Denise has been instrumental in developing emerging photographers and was the photographer behind the first exhibition for the UK Black Female Photographers group, them gaining funding and national recognition, which has been a stepping stone to the groups continued success once they were spotlighted in this way.
Denise continues to work with emerging photographers teaching them the business skills to be successful in the industry and creating shadowing experiences on her various commissions.
Denise said “it has always been important for me to lift as I rise, or as Stormzy said if you bear some fruit, share some fruit, I will continue to do this in various ways”
Denise said “I am chuffed beyond belief. If someone had told me all those years ago when I decided to “try and make a go” of this photography thing, that I would be doing some of the things I do now. Shooting events I used to watch on tv, speaking on stages of events I used to attend as a student, mixing with public figures who I used to look at in magazines and newspapers, and be honoured in such a way for doing something i love; I would have laughed them out of the room.
I am living dreams I did not even imagine”
“I am hugely thankful to The University for this honour on becoming a Doctor”
Maxwell used her speech to encourage students to dream big and to thank her Jamaican nan who scolded her in patois for leaving her “good good job” to just “take pictures” when she told her of her career change.
The University’s graduation ceremony took place at the Grand Theatre on 21st September. Veteran presenters Michaela Strachen and News presenter Bob Warman also graduated on with the same honour and became Doctors on the same day.