Thursday, 8 October 2009

National Conservation Centre: "Liverpool People" by Stephen Shakeshaft

"Fantastic Fans From Rome To Runcorn"

"Much of my work involved sports and news stories but there were often quieter periods when I might see an everyday scene making a great picture."

Recently I took some time out to go to liverpool and while I was there I saw this exhibition. The exhibition held photographs of the city's characters - famous and unknown taken by Stephen, a former photographer and picture editor for the liverpool daily post and echo newspaper.

Capturing the news and events from the 1960's through to his retirement in 2005, Stephen captures a mixture of published, alternative takes, unseen images and stories that shape the city's evolving social, political and cultural landscape. Stephen Shakeshaft is particularly successful with the everyday photography, and manages to create almost a comforting nostalgic feel to his pieces.

Minister for Merseyside Michael Heseltine visits Liverpool, escorted by young lads.

Amongst the images of unknown everyday people there was only a small number of images that included famous people such as Cilla Black,The Princess of Wales, and Paul McCartney, Showing us where his priorities maybe stand, within the heart of the community. It's clear that everyday life and watching and documenting people in their own habitat and environment is important to Stephen.

"Candlelight portrait"

"Liverpool was changing. Edge Hill was disappearing, the houses of Everton were on the builders' skips. Left with only gaslight or candlelight, electricity was long gone.."

This was one of the pieces that caught my eye. Although it's a sad image as Liverpool was having a difficult time, I find it to be quite a lovely photograph. The feeling is totally expressed through the face of the old lady, and I think maybe with her looking so frail this helps play on our emotions and makes us feel for her. As I have a strong family background from Liverpool and spent a large percentage of my childhood there, I found it very interesting seeing Stephen's photographs, as I'm always being shown childhood photos by my mum.

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