Media Production student riding on a high

One of Sword's many images taken of the UK mountain bike scene

SECOND YEAR Media Production student, Adam Swords is currently on a 4 week professional work placement in Seattle with one of America’s most renowned commercial photographers – Chase Jarvis.

20-year-old Swords who is from Kenilworth, Warwickshire, has made quite a name for himself behind the lens as an up and coming photographer.  Clients to date include Land Rover, Classic Ford Magazine, and Mountain Biking UK.

Organising the work placement has been an on-going process between Swords and Jarvis who met one another during a week long ‘Prep, Shoot, Wrap!’ photography workshop held in the United Arab Emirates city of Dubai.

The 12 months that ensued saw a steady stream of emails being exchanged between the two before an agreement was reached that would see Swords working at Jarvis’s Seattle based studio.

It won’t come cheap, however, but Swords considers working with Jarvis as too great an opportunity to pass up: “The internship isn’t paid, but I look at it as an investment that will pay for itself in years to come,” he said.

As is the case with many placements, the reality that the working world isn’t as glamorous as many perceive it to be soon hit home – as Swords can testify, but that said, no one day is ever likely to be the same.

Tasks vary from the mundane, such as the scanning of receipts and archiving of model releases to more creative hands-on work such as filming behind the scenes footage for Jarvis’s videos and organising portfolio images and layouts for clients.

“The main character traits that Jarvis requires his employees to have are enthusiasm and motivation,” Swords revealed.  “Having come from a different country with different influences and inspirations, I hope this will allow me to offer a perspective that is perhaps not found within their current staff line-up.”

Though perhaps the underlying reason why Swords has travelled across the Atlantic to work with Jarvis and his team is to secure a clearer understanding of how to run a photography business both proficiently and profitably.

Being a good photographer and being a successful photographer are entirely different things

Swords is currently in the process of starting up his own photography business, and upon completion of his undergraduate studies next June is looking to build on his already capable skills set.

He added: “Being a good photographer and being a successful photographer are entirely different things. Being able to take a good photograph is such a small part of running a successful photography business.

“Throughout my time here in Seattle I hope to learn what it takes to operate a photography business at the highest level.  The landscape of the photography industry is changing rapidly and it is essential to evolve with it to stay ahead of the curve.

“Once I finish at Coventry University, I can then focus entirely on my photography which I intend to push hard in order to create work that influences and inspires others.”

Swords has established and maintained an active presence in the UK’s mountain bike scene and he estimates that over half of his image collection depicts the sport.  And despite its popularity increasing year-on-year, Swords is aware of the need to be diverse and innovative.

“As the popularity of the mountain biking sport is photographed extensively, I am working hard to be innovative and showcase the sport, riders and lifestyle in a way that hasn’t been seen before – stay tuned!”

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