Shooting Stars: famous faces by Stephen Shakeshaft
21 May to 28 September 2003
Please note that this exhibition has now closed
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.
Stephen Shakeshaft and Ken Dodd
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.
"This was taken through the mirror as Margie made her face up in the dressing room at the Liverpool Empire. She was playing the Fairy Queen in panto - fairies were never like this in my day! This shows my fascination with dressing rooms - I love to see what goes on behind the scenes. You see relatively ordinary people preparing for a role, the curtains go back, the lights go up and everything's transformed - it's like magic!"
"I spent a weekend with the Beatles when they travelled to attend a course with the Maharishi at Bangor University. It ended in tragedy with the news that their manager Brian Epstein had been found dead. I never got to know John - the great touring days of the Beatles were over before my career took off. "
"It was in the Roy Castle Centre car park and Ken was about to launch a campaign. He had rolled up his trousers before getting into his costume so I took a quick picture as he walked away. To me, this shows how a clown is always a clown even when he is not performing."
"Every inch the star, Miss Collins arrived at the Albert Dock to appear on the Richard and Judy programme. I needed a picture to show that Joan was in Liverpool so I asked her to go to the bottom of these steps. Her minders didn't want her to go but she compromised by going half way down. It still made a great shot! Joan was then whisked away to face the TV cameras."
"This is quite a historic picture which epitomises Liverpool during the late 1970s when The Boys from the Black Stuff was made. It was taken at the top of Islington in the city centre where the TV people created a building site. The series written by Alan Bleasdale made a huge impact with Bernard Hill playing the main character Yosser Hughes. "
"I went prepared for this one! Red Rum had just won the Grand National for a record third time. I wanted a picture of him celebrating at his stable in Birkdale with trainer Ginger McCain. There was one sure way to make Rummy laugh and that was to give him a polo mint. So I took some and it worked. I like this picture because it shows the bond between horse and trainer. Ginger really loved Red Rum - he was like a son to him."
"Diana was paying a visit to Ford's. There were few other photographers and I followed her upstairs to the upholstery department. Diana just leaned over the counter and joined in as if she was one of the girls, laughing and joking with them. This won the Kodak Royal Picture of the Year Award. It really shows her humanity."
"The rain was pouring down when Princess Margaret arrived at a youth club in Kirkby. It was quite hard to get nice pictures of her smiling but on this occasion she lit up the whole of Kirkby!"
Paul and Linda McCartney
"Another picture showing my fascination with dressing rooms and behind the scenes. This was Paul's first time back in Liverpool with his group Wings after the Beatles broke up. Linda had just joined the band. This was in their dressing room at the Empire but it was just like walking into their lounge. The children were rushing up and down the corridor, playing hide and seek. It was a very orchestrated and professional performance but backstage Paul was just a dad with his wife. They are both very relaxed in the picture."
Shooting Stars was sponsored by Hitchcock Wright & Partners
Photographs by Stephen Shakeshaft © Liverpool Daily Post & Echo. Images may not be reproduced without prior permission.
Find out about Stephen Shakeshaft's previous exhibition Soccer Shots.