Stephen Shakeshaft started his career as a copy boy in 1962, running typed stories from the sub-editors' desk to the print room for the Liverpool Daily Post and Echo. Later he was accepted as an apprentice there, learning his trade and his art. He rose to become chief photographer and picture editor of both papers.
To say that he has seen it all is a cliché, but Stephen has seen most of it during his career. He has photographed the rise and break-up of The Beatles, the rivalry between Catterick's Everton and Shankly's Liverpool, the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster and so much more.
One of Stephen's earliest assignments at the Liverpool Daily Post and Echo was to photograph 'Doddy'. A friendship blossomed between the pair, and a bond of mutual respect and trust has allowed him to become an intimate observer of Ken Dodd’s career.
"Stephen has been taking photographs of local icons throughout his career, but having seen the honesty and warmth captured in his shots of Ken, it’s quite clear they have developed a particularly special relationship, that has enabled Stephen to portray a rarely-seen side of Ken Dodd.
His personal archive of images showing Ken as both the entertainer and the man is absolutely fantastic. As a curator, it’s been a gift to have so many images to work with. The only difficult part has been choosing which photographs could make it into the exhibition, as sadly we don’t have space to display the hundreds that Stephen has of Ken."
Paul Gallagher, exhibition curator
"This exhibition is not just about how people see Ken Dodd as a comedian but what Ken Dodd is like when he’s preparing for a show and what he’s like on stage - to stand in the wings and watch."