Stephen Shakeshaft: Liverpool People

September 15, 2009 | Zoltan Arva-Toth | Photographers | Comment |

Stephen Shakeshaft: Liverpool People at the National Conservation Centre 18 September 2009 – 24 January 2010 features about 70 photographs including unpublished gems alongside award-winning images amassed since the 1960s over decades of great social change.In this new exhibition, Stephen also reveals some of the secrets of his personal archive, displaying his talent for immortalising ordinary fleeting moments and reflecting the personalities of his subjects. Stephen says: “Much of my work involved sport and news stories but there were often quieter periods when I might see an everyday scene making a great picture. The passing years have added to the atmosphere of these images.” The exhibition is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day, and admission is free.

Press Release

STEPHEN SHAKESHAFT
Liverpool People

Evocative images captured by top photographer Stephen Shakeshaft show a variety of Liverpool people from local personalities to major stars in everyday surroundings.

Stephen Shakeshaft: Liverpool People at the National Conservation Centre 18 September 2009 – 24 January 2010 features about 70 photographs including unpublished gems alongside award-winning images amassed since the 1960s over decades of great social change.

Stephen, former picture editor of the Liverpool Daily Post & Echo, is renowned for his remarkable and varied studies of people including rich and poor, unknown and famous.

In this new exhibition he also reveals some of the secrets of his personal archive, displaying his talent for immortalising ordinary fleeting moments and reflecting the personalities of his subjects. Some may be friends and acquaintances but others he only met once.

Often these images were taken on the spur of the moment, between diary assignments which took Stephen throughout the length and breadth of Merseyside.

Stephen says: “Much of my work involved sport and news stories but there were often quieter periods when I might see an everyday scene making a great picture. The passing years have added to the atmosphere of these images.”

We see a street of terraced houses without vehicles where a flat-capped street cleaner uses his brush to keep things tidy. Stephen brilliantly captures the moment the man exchanges glances with two smiling children.

There is an eye-opening story woven into another everyday scene. A happy merchant seaman links arms with two women at Paddy’s Market. He’s just picked up a bargain on the clothes stall to take home.

Cilla Black is seen with her husband and manager Bobby Willis cuddling on Lime Street. Others caught informally are Liverpool manager Bill Shankly, jazz singer George Melly lighting a cigarette and legendary MP Bessie Braddock in cricket pads.

The rich mix of Liverpool characters includes barrow girl Lizzie Christian known to generations of shoppers not only for her fruit and vegetables but also her happy smile. 

People are seen going about their daily lives, working and playing or just passing time. They inhabit a world similar but different from our own – a city going through great change.

Streets are being swept away and communities uprooted as Stephen records these changes through his studies of Liverpool’s remarkable people.

There is uncertainty – a woman cradles her dog as a fire rages in the background, old people sit in their condemned homes awaiting their fates.

Happy children find fun anywhere. A little girl frolics in foam floating from a city centre fountain, excited boys follow Minister for Merseyside Michael Heseltine around a housing estate and five kids enjoy lolly pops in a corner shop.

Political moments reflect the changing times – Prime Minister and local MP Harold Wilson speaks in a smoke-filled room, protesters stage an early anti-racism demonstration and workers occupy the doomed Meccano factory.

Betty enjoys her self-styled Paradise on a demolition site in the shadow of the Anglican Cathedral while an elegantly-dressed lady tends her tidy allotment.

Stompers gather outside the original Cavern club while a band is filmed on the famous stage.

Meanwhile a lost way of life quietly slips into history – women gossip in a public wash house and carters corral their magnificent horses on a major road.

National Conservation Centre Whitechapel, Liverpool            
Admission FREE
Open10am-5pm every day                                            
Information 0151 478 4999 Website www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk

Photo credit: Stephen Shakeshaft



Your Comments