A very limited first edition beautiful fine art photographic documentation of the UK comedy circuit.
Pages: 240 pages
Size: 230mm x 300mm portrait
Pages: 170 gsm silk stock
All copies SIGNED by Steve Best
Price: £49.50 + £5.00 P&P
Double page spread in the Sunday Times
Preview in the Independent
Preview in the Pictorial List
Preview in the British Comedy Guide
Preview in Chortle
Preview in Beyond The Joke
Blog by John Fleming
Blog by Dominic Holland
Blog by Fixation UK
Price: £49.50 + £10.00 P&P
Price: £49.50 + £20.00 P&P
Rest of the world
COMEDIANS the book, gives us an exclusive and revealing peek behind the curtain of the British Comedy scene. Steve Best’s own years on the comedy circuit have not only taken him to the four corners of the planet but helped him to gain the trust of some of the funniest people on it – and with it an open door to the four corners of their dressing rooms.
Being in the exact right place is only one thing, however. Being there at the right time is another matter entirely; and none more so than when it can be measured by the split-seconds of the camera’s shutter. We are very fortunate, therefore, that Best’s mastery of photographic timing is faultless because with it we get such a complete picture.
The look exchanged between Julian Clary and the compere Paul Thorne, at the Ealing Comedy Festival, was as fleeting as can be, but its depth does not escape Best’s eye. There is such camaraderie and affection between the two comedians. There is admiration. Well-wishing and gratefulness. And we sense the shared adrenalin rush.
We know that it is Joe Rowntree who must be about to go on because we can hardly breathe for him whilst Michael Fabbri must just have triumphed because Best captures his immortal smile for all eternity.
In Best’s image of Barry Cryer we have a whole career in the mirror, and we can’t tell whether the name-call is about to happen or is as long gone as any of the nerves that used to go with it.
Barry Cryer 1935 - 2022
And who knew that Jack Whitehall might ever take anything seriously enough to show any nerves, or to feel the need to actually plan any of his material for that matter? But of course he does, and of course he has to – as Best reveals so perfectly to us.
And so it is with Harry Hill. Everything is there in the moments of stillness that Best portrays – the meticulous and hard-working people behind the comic personas we know and love.
Owner of The Observatory Photography Gallery, London
"The fact is no one takes photos of comedians like Steve. Why? Because he knows us, because he’s one of us. No one captures the atmosphere backstage like him because no one has the access - to us he’s just Steve, and he’s got his camera with him again, we stop trying to impress or be funny - no mean feat for a comic - and CLICK! he’s got us.
When I look at these photos I’m right back there in the clubs, in the theatres, that happy vibrant scene, the camaraderie, the thrill and the fight - because it doesn’t matter how big or successful you are or how many people have bought tickets to see you, we are all, at the end of the day exactly the same thing - stand up comics and on any night any one of the people in this book can die or be the best in the world. Only we know this and only Steve is able to nail it."
"His pictures document the ever changing world of comedy and comedians. With this collection of photographs he has not only given us so much visual pleasure but also a superlative historical pictorial documentation of the best live comedy scene in the world."
Founder, Executive Producer & CEO of the Comedy Store
“It takes a comedian to know a comedian and Steve just instinctively knows how to 'get the shot'.
The pictures that capture the joy, laughter and camaraderie of those off stage moments and what it is to be part of the gang of clowns. Equally he has got such a brilliant eye for getting those pictures that seem to get the very essence of the comic. The thing that defines them on stage. I'm usually caught in an exaggerated cartoon like pose...and this is me in a nut shell."
“Back in 1995, in the Tufnell Park Tavern, Steve Best made me fall off my chair, laughing at his act. Now, he makes me sit up straight, looking at some of the best stage and backstage photography I've ever seen.
I wish I knew what it was, the magical ingredient, the knack of capturing character in a likeness, in a frozen moment, on film. Whatever it is, Steve has it."
“You’re used to posing for photographs in this line of work, so a lot of photos we have of ourselves have a self awareness about them. Steve always captures us in the most natural positions. This photo of me for example, this is the first and last time I will ever strike this pose. I imagine it’ll be the photo they use at my service when I actually die on stage in my 70’s (a psychic told me once, that’s how it’s going to happen.)"
“Now live art is a memory there has never been a better time to revisit Steve Best's unflinching portraits of comedians at work, in spaces that will one day soon ring with laughter again"
Stewart Lee (February 2021)
“Being a performer himself gives Steve Best a unique access to and understanding of comics. He knows where to find us, lurking and laughing in corridors or getting ‘into the zone’ backstage. I love his photographs because they show the timeless beauty of the theatre or comedy club. He captures the huge variety of emotions that comics will whirl through in one show. You can tell from the photos that he’s one of us and he ‘gets’ us."
"I just went to the Dome and saw your exhibition. It is brilliant. I kept going back and looking at some of them over and over again. You should be immensely proud of it, you've created something really special."
“Steve’s an amazing photographer, especially of comedians. Being a comedian himself, he always knows how to get to the identity behind the face - whether it be straight, deadpan or funny one."