Growing up in the north of England, Steve's passion for photography grew after his father had banned him from experimenting with his Chemistry set. After a successful attempt to blow up a local schoolgirl with some home made gunpowder and a battery charger as she was walking by the home, Steve's father wasn't to keen on him doing his chemistry experiments at home anymore. His father encouraged him to take up photography, he thought Steve's creative use of chemicals may be put too less dangerous use in the darkroom and hopefully it would develop into something a little less destructive. Although Steve wasn't one to rock the family boat, he never thought he would be a photographer; it sort of crept up on him. Plus, his family didn't have a boat. At age 13 he just held the conviction he would have an interesting life, maybe that's why he picked up the camera? Then again, if he hadn't, he would have tripped over it.
The day after leaving school Steve got a job as an assistant at a large Photography studio in Manchester, he was up at 5 am every morning to take two trains and a bus to the studio and earned pittance of £25 a week. He couldn't wait to get to work, watching and learning from the photographers, Steve perfected his skills of making tea, loading film, sweeping the studio floors and keeping his mouth shut, while trying to figure out which model he could possibly sleep with to get him his first photographic assignment.
Nearly 3 years and 22,000 cups of tea later, Steve decided to leave and try to make it on his own as a freelance photographer. His first assignment was to take Ariel photographs of local property, hanging out the window of a two-seater airplane with his camera, trying to keep his breakfast down as the pilot broke up the monotony by showing his acrobatic flying skills.
Obviously the Ariel photography career didn't last too long, Steve went on to shoot cars, bedding, industrial machinery, Christmas hampers and the odd bikini clad model. One morning while reading "the British journal of photography" Steve came across an ad. "Cruise ship photographers wanted, sailing in the Caribbean". His application was accepted and one month later he was packed and off to Miami, to set sail on the SS Norway to photograph crimperline wearing tourists as they cruised the beautiful oceans of the Caribbean. Love boat this was not. Eventually, sailing on the ship and hanging out of stunt aircraft had taken its toll on Steve's equilibrium & after 6 months cruising the waters of the Caribbean he felt he had to be on solid land for a change so he handed his notice to the Captain. Two of Steve's best friends flew out from Manchester and they decided to do the long drive from Miami to California. Stopping only at MacDonald's for refreshments, they finally arrived in Newport Beach 5 days later.
After being in California for a few weeks, Steve got a job as a photographer at "Glamour Shots" in Santa Ann Mall. This was his calling he thought, especially after a bloke called Brian came in waving a photograph of Barbara Streisand & said, "make me look like that" Steve was not one to disappoint, After 4 hours in hair & makeup, Brian got his wish, he presented Brian with a beautiful, soft focus 8X10 & 6 wallet size photos.
That moment, as Brian walked out of Glamour Shots a happy man, Steve was convinced he had found his calling in fashion photography, he knew he had the god given talent to make men, women & strange transvestites look amazing in a photograph.
How did Steve get from there to here?
Only Steve Shaw's hairdresser knows for certain and either he isn't talking... or Steve cuts his own hair.