Artist Testimonials

MVS Master Class Participant

The workshop was such an amazing experience, I can’t begin to tell you. It was intense in a good way. I felt it was an immersion in the world of photography and photographers, much like one learns a new language. Living, eating, breathing it for those 4-5 days has meant it is staying with me. I can’t stop thinking about it and am so excited to implement as much as I can from what I have learned from you and the other speakers. Inspiring. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart. You are a treasure, such a resource and such a good teacher.  – Linda K.

—MVS Master Class Participant

Brenda Biondo


There is nobody who knows the photography industry better than Mary Virginia Swanson. Within minutes of meeting her at a portfolio review, I realized how invaluable her insight is. She subsequently helped me put together a compelling book proposal, which eventually led to my book being published last year. Each time I speak with her she offers spot-on advice that helps move my career forward. She is a pleasure to work with and a wonderful person to know.

—Brenda Biondo (website)

MVS Master Class Participant

The Advanced Marketing Workshop was very useful and focused. I can’t imagine how many years it would take to acquire the knowledge and insight that were made available to us here! The workshop was a marvel!  – Charlotte T.

—MVS Master Class Participant

John Lewis


Mary Virginia Swanson was instrumental in helping me to develop an important proposal to create photographs for a major Cultural Center. Her advice was spot on and it played a key role in my success. My project ended up blossoming into a coffee-table anniversary book followed by a permanent display of my prints to showcase the spirit of their space. Mary is my foremost source and authority and I cannot recommend her highly enough.

—John Lewis (website)

Jeanine Michna-Bales

On the Way to the Hicklin House Station
I met with Mary at my first review in December of 2013. Serendipitously, she was the first review I had on the first day. She quickly got me better organized and helped me figure out what I needed to focus on for the rest of the weekend. Since then, her advice and insight have been extremely helpful. I have a newly designed website, received a Scholarship to Review Santa Fe and have been chosen as a CENTER 2014 Choice Awards Winner. I look forward to many more tangible benefits from my working relationship with Mary and truly appreciate all of her help.


—Jeanine Michna-Bales (website)

Joseph O. Holmes


Mary Virginia seems to have some kind of X-ray vision into my work. In just a couple sessions, she helped me map out a whole new direction for exhibiting my work which, to my amazement, paid off immediately. A year later and I’m still successfully following the path we laid out. I expect to work with her at every important juncture in my career.

—Joseph O. Holmes (website)

MVS Master Class Participant

Attending Mary Virginia Swanson’s Advanced Marketing Workshop was invaluable for me.  Her deep knowledge of the fine art photography market is exceptional with few peers.  Every element and topic is a wealth of knowledge providing a detailed road map of what and how to advance one’s artistic career.  Mary’s insight is focused, clear and results oriented.  Attending the workshop was an eye-opener for me on the practicalities of marketing my own artwork.  Mary’s workshop is a must-have for anyone serious about advancing their career.  – Ken H.

—MVS Master Class Participant

Olivia Parker

The Peach-OliviaParker

In the seventies I photographed and everything fell into place.  After seeing my first show David Godine published a book that someone sent to Ansel Adams.  Ansel invited me to teach at his workshops (where I first met MVS) and I was off and running.  I worked hard but I was spoiled rotten.  At that point neither MVS or I could have imagined the changes to come.

Attending one of Mary Virginia’s lectures last year was my wake up call indicating that I had to do more than produce good work.  After a 1995 accident put me on crutches for a year, view cameras, studio, and darkroom did not work.  During that year learning digital kept me sane.  I had to cancel and refuse lectures and teaching engagements.  Galleries did not know what to do with me.  As a result opportunities began to dry up.  From 1998 until 2008 I had the good fortune to travel extensively in Asia.  Although I kept on photographing I lost contact with many of the people I knew in photography.  Now that I have a lot of new studio work I don’t know what I would do without Swanee to help me navigate.   In addition she is a true and valued friend.

—Olivia Parker (website)

Deon Reynolds


Thanks to Mary Virginia’s advice, I have had my very first major museum show!  I can’t say enough about what she has done to help, prod, inspire us “moody artists.”  I guess it was four years ago I took her “Fall Marketing Workshop” in Tucson, from that point forward has been a lot of work, but her knowledge and expertise was spot on.  Now I’m showing my photographs in one of the biggest museums in Nevada.  Thank You!!!


—Deon Reynolds (website)

Howie Garber


I consulted with Mary Virginia Swanson for some help with my Fine Art photography business.  I needed advice on limited editions and gaining a wider audience in galleries.  MVS convinced me to do a book on the Wasatch Mountains.  The Wasatch has lately been the site of conflict between developers who wish to expand and interconnect ski resorts and the majority who wish to protect natural areas and wildlife.

My initial idea was to involve other photographers to make the strongest visual statement possible; MVS convinced me that I should use only my photography.  Because of her advice, “Utah’s Wasatch Range: Four Season Refuge” has been a great success.  MVS helped me strike a balance between over 20 essays and 160 of my photographs. She provided help with front and back cover design and gave me the additional courage to market the book on my own without a distributor. This proved to be valuable advice and certainly improved my profit. Because my book was a collaboration with over 20 people,

I got some wonderful advice.  Anyone considering doing a photography book would be wise to have Mary Virginia Swanson on their team.

—Howie Garber (website)

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