How Shiralee turned Covid lockdown time into gold

By Neil Speight

22nd Mar 2021 | Local News

A THURROCK-based photo-journalist well-known for her media work across the borough and wider South Essex has just received an ultimate accolade from her peers in the world of photography.

Shiralee Swan, who lives on Bells Hill Road in the east of the borough close to the Five Bells Roundabout at Fobbing worked for many years for the Enquirer group of newspapers.

Following its demise she became a freelance commercial and wedding photographer and also launched a specialised animal photography service particularly of horses, a lifelong passion for her.

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been huge on Shiralee's commercial work, but she has turned that negative into a positive.

Shiralee says: "After being made redundant from my press photography job at the end of 2019 I took the jump to start my own photography business specialising in horse portraits.

"Being a horse owner and breeding and raising horses from a young age horses are a subject I know well.

"I launched my photography business specialising in horse portraits at the start of 2020 and bookings were slowly coming in. Then the first Covid lockdown hit and as a non-essential business I was grounded.

"Not being downhearted I continued to work on my website and building my presence on social media.

"As we entered 2021 and being in another lockdown I thought I would start to enter some competitions.

"Being a member of The Societies of Photographers and The Guild of Photographers, I entered the monthly photographic competitions and entered The National Photographic Society's competition as a non-member.

"I was overwhelmed that the panels of judges like my work."

In January Shiralee picked up bronze awards and commendations with the Guild of Photographers and Societies of Photographers and she has done even better in February, collecting a coveted Societies of Photographers' gold award and a similar honour with the National Photographic Society – plus several other silver and bronze awards and commendations.

You can see Shiralee's work on her website and Instagram @shiraleeswan.


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