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Maryam Wahid

Photography BA (Hons)

Maryam never thought her passion in photography could turn into a successful career. But just weeks before starting, she pulled out of the Religion and Theology course that she was due to study at a different university and instead, she threw herself into BCU’s Photography course. After thriving at BCU, Maryam has had incredible success, from awards, TV shows and even working alongside royalty.

“I always thought my passion for photography would be a hobby, never a career. I originally applied to study Religion and Theology at a different university. But a few weeks before I was due to start, I felt gutted that I wasn’t going to study something that I loved doing. I just knew that I wanted to do photography, so I attended a BCU open day during the clearing process and I loved the campus, the resources and the incredible access to facilities. I really enjoyed my course and the Parkside Building was such a great, cool and edgy place to study.

During my time at BCU, I took on a few work experience opportunities, including a fashion photographer role in London. That really built my courage, and inspired me to set up my wedding photography business in my second year of university.

Since graduation, I’ve been really active in networking, social media and connecting with people from my industry, and I’ve participated in anything that has come my way. On my graduation day, it was announced that I had been awarded the British Journal of Photography’s Portrait of Britain 2018, and soon after, I was awarded the Grain Photography Mentoring Award.

My career so far has been really interesting, I’m constantly climbing the ladder and I’m always finding ways to improve myself and my work. In 2020, I was a judge on ‘Hold Still’, a photography competition which was spearheaded by the Duchess of Cambridge and led by the National Portrait Gallery and most recently, I was an expert in BBC Four series the ‘Great British Photography Challenge’.

I have always felt like my camera is such a powerful tool and it has inspired me to tell stories and capture moments. Now that I’m learning more about photography, it is all about making a change and telling the stories that need to be told. I’m very big on representation and all my work is about identity. I don’t feel like there are enough women’s stories captured, so I want to represent myself and those around me in history.

I have two exhibitions coming up this year (2021) and one next year (2022). I am currently working towards them and trying out new ideas. One will be a group show at the ‘Side Gallery’ in Newcastle upon Tyne, taking place in July and I have another one taking place later in the year at ‘Photo Gallery’ in Cardiff. But my first major solo exhibition will be at the Midlands Art Centre in 2022.

Going forward, I want to continue my education around photography and to learn more about image making and storytelling within photographs. I also want to expand into video making, sculpture and textiles too.

My advice to current Photography students is to go to the library and use the resources, read more about the course, the industry and what inspires you. Also, ask your tutors how you can improve, they have been in your position before and you can learn a lot from them.

There is a sense of pride around BCU for me. There is so much potential and there is a real sense of community. I went to university to be one step closer to being who I want to be, and BCU gave me the access to be able to do that.”