"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 latest exhibition 'COMEDIANS: BACK TO FRONT' is at the prestigious Observatory Photography Gallery in central London.
This was chosen by the critic, Jonathan Jones as one of Five Best Exhibitions to see in The Guardian
The exhibition is an ever changing selection of Steve's fine art photographs of comedians.
“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."
Comedians: Back to Front 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.
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. Everything that goes from back to front.
QUENTIN - owner of The Observatory Photography Gallery
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Steve has had exhibitions at
Quarry Theatre, Bedford July 2016 & July 2017
Stills Gallery, Edinburgh, August 2017
Light House, Wolverhampton, September 2017
South Hill Park Arts Centre, October 2017
The Pleasance, Edinburgh, August 2018
The Observatory Photography Gallery, London, October 2019 -