Pentre Ifan Wood III

Long Service Award – from the British Institute of Professional Photography

I received a nice surprise this morning in the post, my Long Service Award certificate (20 years continuous membership) from the BIPP (British Institute of Professional Photography)! It doesn’t seem that long ago since I joined!! There are a couple of other milestones this year, my 50th birthday and I am also celebrating my 30th year as a professional photographer! Quite a momentous year all in all.

When I look back at how my career started, it was my positive attitude that helped me get started. I got my first job interview in the Selfridges Portrait Studio by just turning up and asking for a job, I thought that’s how it was done!. There weren’t any going at the time, but they interviewed me anyway as I was there, and three month later when they were short staffed I got a call offering me a job if I could start the same day. It seemed a bit mad sat at home one minute then helping out on a shoot photographing a Nigerian Prince and his extended family later that day!

After leaving Selfridges to start my own business, I was told a year later that the current studio (my old employers) was closing and so made an appointment to see one of the directors to try and get the contract for myself. They were not sure at first, given I was only 24, but I think our enthusiasm won them over and we were given a chance subject to some very strict targets to meet. If we met them we were in! We ended up exceeding all our targets by miles and securing a working relationship with Selfridges on our terms that lasted 12 years.

It just goes to show, ‘if you don’t ask you don’t get’, which is something that is as true today as it was then. If I hadn’t been brave enough to walk into Selfridges and ask for that job my career might have taken an entirely different path.