My name is Stephen Shaw I was raised on Grange Park with my Nan and Granddad, a council estate in Blackpool, nicknamed strange, where one has to mind ones fookin’ back.
I am a published social documentary, photographic artist and experimental writer who has just recently graduated with a first class honors degree in photography at Blackpool and the Fylde College.
The eye of the beholder rarely only sees beauty. If really looking, it will instead see despair, frailty, fear, loss, and a tremendous amount of imperfection. These are the things that I direct my lens towards: the human, the “raw and real” of life and society. I don’t seek to glamorize my subjects or their environment; I observe, assess, calculate and look, with declared empathy, from a distance, which is not only necessary to this photographic genre, but has the value of preserving dignity while maintaining the viewers curiosity for more.
Being passionate in documentary, it is always the little known subcultures on the edges of our society I am drawn to, these excite me, creating a beautiful document from danger is a great attraction. I am a deep constant thinker who always works to a deeply focused highly symbolic narrative within a street/documentary area alongside an ethnographic approach.
My photographs always contain the unexpected, which I feel is a very important part of a good image and a factor that gives me great satisfaction.
I also always collect artefacts and record live audio with my sitters to increase my knowledge, build a rapport and grow a sense of personal creativity and subject aura that helps to drive me. My current practice researches the photographic representation of social justice and class, alongside social mobility and memorialism within my own environment. It is driven by intimate pain and so far contains four main projects consisting of Queens town. The Last 7.
This project was focused on the last 7 people living on a recently demolished Blackpool high-rise flats. The images and sound document the way of life of these local inhabitants with a strong narrative of drugs, violence and suicide.