CHRIS SHAW books
Born in 1961 in Wallasey, near Liverpool, Chris Shaw studied photography at Liverpool Metropolitan College and at the West Surrey College of Art and Design at Farnham, graduating in 1989. He was taught by the likes of Paul Graham, Martin Parr, and Tom Wood, amongst others. Strongly influenced by Japanese photographers, from Eikoh Hosoe and Shomei Tomatsu in the 1960s, to Masahisa Fukase and Daido Moriyama later, Shaw developed a singular aesthetic, working predominantly in black and white when many of his contemporaries had turned to colour. Shaw’s rough and raw aesthetic is produced both by the manner in which the pictures are taken, and by editing and printing processes: using darkroom techniques to magnifies the effects of light, both intentionally and accidentally; and by writing directly on the prints with thick black pens.
His work is held in international collections including Tate, London and J.P Getty Museum, Los Angeles. Recent exhibitions include Chris Shaw and Daido Moriyama: Before and After Night Porter (Tate Britain, London, 2013), Life as a Night Porter and Weeds of Wallasey (Moscow House of Photography, Multimedia Museum, Moscow, 2014). - photo book corner review.
Chris Shaw began taking photographs on the Sandy Hill housing estate near Aldershot in 1987 just after, as he puts it: “I got in a bit of trouble at college for my attitude …
Now a long time sober, he recalls his younger self in a clear-eyed, if unrepentant, way. “I had moved from Toxteth to Farnham to study photography, but I didn’t really get on with the people at college. There was just one northerner and one black person in the year. It was like I was suddenly confronted with the class system head-on. I felt alienated and I was drinking heavily. It was all a bit of a mess, really.”
Out of the mess, though, came the images that make up Retrospecting Sandy Hill, a photobook that shows the beginning of a style that would find its full expression in Shaw’s most celebrated series, Life as a Night Porter (2006).
I met up with Shaw for lunch during Paris Photo. He has lived in Paris since 2009, though his Wirral accent remains undimmed. “I initially started going to Sandy Hill because I was feeling ostracised by these rich kids at college,” he tells me. “Maybe it was just all in my head, but I felt like I was going there every day as a reaction and using the camera to speak to normal people.”
The Sandy Hill images merge fly-on-the-wall documentary with the kind of raw intimacy that is his signature. Portraits and snapshot-style glimpses of everyday life on the estate are rendered in high contrast monochrome tones. He was drawn to 80s “soul boys” with their casual style and cars, perhaps because they represented his younger self, but also curious children and ordinary people going about their daily routine.
Were they not suspicious of a stranger with a camera? “No, not at all. It wasn’t a dangerous place. I’d already done some documentary work on Toxteth so this was a bit of a breeze. We’d chat and I’d take photos. A lot of the time, they’d check my accent and start taking the piss, talking about Brookside.”
Often, he would give local people the prints he made, and soon the word went around. “People would turn up wanting their picture done,” he says, smiling. “For me, Sandy Hill was a breath of fresh air, a home from home.”
While he befriended and photographed the residents, Shaw also recorded his thoughts – and theirs – in his notebook. Back in his studio, he began writing these fragments in marker pen on the prints…etc
WEEDS OF WALLASEY published by SUPERLABO..2013 with slipcase
TWIN PALMS BOOK LIFE AS A NIGHT PORTER (2006) A3 size
His images are populated with “chance meetings.” “I just took photographs to keep me awake. It became artless. The people I photographed, these episodes in the social fantastic would heighten and illuminate my whole night. The sum of the book is really a hotel of my own imagination. In my experience heaven and hell are places right here on earth, and you can stay in either one.” — Chris Shaw
12 x 16 inches
64 duotone plates
published books and prototypes made with photocopies also a lot of book dummies made with the blurb bookmaking process just to SEE..or to sell signed with a print in small editions..(6,10,etc)
Type dummys and published books..