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Shooting Stars: famous faces by Stephen Shakeshaft

21 May to 28 September 2003

Please note that this exhibition has now closed

Portrait photo of a young Paul McCartney

More than 120 photographs featuring famous faces from the world of show business were displayed in Shooting Stars, an exhibition celebrating the work of Liverpool Daily Post and Echo photographer, Stephen Shakeshaft.

Since the 1960s Stephen has captured hundreds of celebrities on camera. This exhibition brought together some of his most memorable portraits, from devastating divas Marlene Dietrich and Joan Collins, to Liverpool legends like comedian Ken Dodd and The Beatles' Lennon and McCartney.

Stephen's great achievements are reflected in the diversity of his work. The deliberate public poses created for the media are complimented by behind-the-scenes, off-guard shots, often revealing a more relaxed or private side of a performer or personality. It is credit to Stephen that he was often granted private access to the stars, making such a fascinating portfolio possible.

An award-winning shot of Princess Diana chatting with the 'girls' in the upholstery department at Ford's Halewood car plant, captures her famed aptitude for relating to people from all walks of life. Other pictures expose stars in the act of transforming from the ordinary person to extraordinary performer. Margi Clarke is caught putting on her stage make-up for panto, while elsewhere Ken Dodd transports his tickling sticks across a city centre car park, complete with stripy stockings and rolled-up trousers.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the exhibition is the changing fortunes of personalities he has encountered. Some have since been catapulted to super-stardom, like pop-princess Kylie Minogue, who was photographed on stage shortly after she left Australia soap opera, Neighbours.

Portrait photo of two men holding tickling sticks

Stephen Shakeshaft and Ken Dodd

'Local lad' Bernard Hill is pictured in one of his most famous and lasting roles as anti-hero Yosser Hughes, from Alan Bleasdale's hard-hitting drama, 'Boys from the Blackstuff'. The photograph epitomises an unhappier time for the city of Liverpool and is a lasting reminder of the huge impression that Alan Bleasdale's TV series made. Luckily both the city and Bernard Hill have enjoyed better fortunes since. The actor's portrayal of Theoden, King of Rohan in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers was a world away from this shot on a building site and introduced him to a new audience.

In other instances, Shakeshaft captured history in the making, although quite by chance. He was assigned to shoot the Maharishi's course at Bangor University on the very the weekend that The Beatles went to study with him. This turned out to be a pivotal moment in Beatle history, as they learned of the death of manger Brain Epstein. Stephen was with Paul McCartney when he received the tragic news by telephone.

The exhibition was accompanied by quotes from Stephen explaining the background to each of the pictures, giving a wonderful insight into his techniques, the various personalities and how they came to be photographed.


Shooting Stars was sponsored by Hitchcock Wright & Partners

Hitchcock Wright & Partners logo

Photographs by Stephen Shakeshaft © Liverpool Daily Post & Echo. Images may not be reproduced without prior permission.

Liverpool Daily Post & Echo

Find out about Stephen Shakeshaft's previous exhibition Soccer Shots.