About David Stewart:
David Stewart began his career by photographing punk bands including The Clash and The Ramones. He also took to photographing the passing parade of colourful characters on Morecambe Promenade with squirrel monkey’s Joey and Queenie. This early work directly influenced his now recognisable style.
After graduating at Blackpool and The Fylde College, Stewart moved to London in 1981 where he persued a career in photography, rapidly establishing himself as one of the UK’s most highly accomplished photographers. In 1995 he directed and produced a short film “Cabbage” which was nominated for a BAFTA. Accompanying the film is a series of surrealist photographic images in tribute to the much-maligned vegetable.
In 2001 he published a body of work titled “Fogeys” comprising of kitsch, cartoon-like photographs of people growing old disgracefully. Exhibited at the Institute of Contemporary Art London “Fogeys” won a Silver Award at the Art Directors Club of New York. The book “Thrice Removed” was published in 2009; while still singular and mischievous, the book includes works that are more muted in colour and personal in tone.
His more recent projects “Indecision” and “Intension” return once again to the surreal providing an intriguing study of young women.
The book “Teenage Pre-occupation” which takes a look at teenagers and the changes they go through was published in May 2013. The same year, Stewart shot his latest short film “Stray”, which was recently screened at the London Short Film festival.
Stewart won The Taylor Wessing portrait prize in 2015, having been previously shortlisted for the Photographic Portrait Prize 2007 and accepted a further fifteen times between 1995 and 2015 – each time exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery, London. His work features regularly at the Royal Academy Summer Show.
David Stewart on his practice:
“I shoot on a large format camera (8 x 10 or 4 x 5 film) and this can bring a heightened sense of reality to the images. This becomes even more apparent when printed large scale for exhibition. The details are clearer and become more important.
Shooting on Large Format is the way I have always worked. It involves thinking more about what you are about to shoot and then trusting your instinct. With no Polaroid or instant digital image to work with, the pre planning and thought leading up to the shoot is transmitted to the first shot. Although these shooting methods normally produce a more staged result in “Teenage Pre-occupation”, it is subject matter that gives the resulting images a more naturalistic style that from the outside can feel like social documentary.”