Former Picture Editor of the Liverpool Daily Post & Echo to Open Exhibition

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Former Picture Editor of the Liverpool Daily Post & Echo to Open Exhibition
Old Lady by Candlelight. ©Stephen Shakeshaft.

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People at the National Conservation Centre 18 September 2009 – 24 January 2010 features about 70 photographs including unpublished gems alongside award-winning images amassed since the 1960s over decades of great social change.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

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