Interview with Steve May




Speed Demon - Steve May

Speed Demon – Steve May

Date: Tuesday 4th April 2006
Location: Steve’s Place
Written by Tony Myers FRPS

Steve is one of our busiest photographers in the club and one of the clubs true professionals. When I asked Steve if he was available to do chat lines he was in the middle of preparing for a weekend shoot in London photographing for BMX magazines a typical weekend for a very busy pro.

Ruff Rider - Steve May

Ruff Rider – Steve May

Steve joined the South Liverpool Photographic Society ten years ago after talking with Anne Gilmore, following an enquiry about entering the Mersey River Festival competition.

He learnt his basic photojournalistic skills at the Liverpool College way back in 1980, and has pursued that area of photography ever since, but is always ready to have a try at any type of project that may come his way, other than wedding photography!

When he joined the club he got a good buzz talking photography with many like minded members, this always kept him in touch with the latest technology. Steve soon made many friends including the late Wally Free. He made name for himself with his special type of photojournalistic type of photography and over the years has won many of the clubs competitions; as well as being very successful in the Mersey River Festival, which sadly will not be available this year. His favourite photographers are Don McCullen, no surprise, Cartier Bresson, Terence Donovan and Bob Carlos Clarke, (recently deceased).

Geese at Dusk - Steve May

Geese at Dusk – Steve May

The other main passion Steve has is music, growing up Steve (self taught) played the guitar, became involved in the 70’s band scene and toured the States. He found inspiration from his personal experiences and applied that to writing lyrics…which he still plays around with today. He still has a great passion for live music and uses his stage experience when photographing Rock musicians around the country, including musicians in recording sessions. He recently had to buy a new zoom lens when a fan had jumped onto the the stage and jumped off onto his 300-mm zoom lens causing severe damage, fortunately the camera survived but the lens didn’t. Steve has always been a Nikon user and uses the D 2 X camera body.

Portrait subjects interest him most with confidence and respect he always asks permission before taking any portrait and would not impose himself on any suitable subjects. Steve quotes:

“When I look through my camera into the eyes of a portrait subject I’m looking into their soul, their life I feel I’m invading their privacy and their past and future and is a very powerful thing.”


Eva – Steve May

Philomeina - Steve May

Philomeina – Steve May

He has a lot of admiration for many of the clubs fellow members including Ted Baker FRPS and some of the many up and coming photographers including Frank Rooney and Patricia Prentice ARPS.

His main Photographic ambition, is to have to work less hours, this would then give him the time to start up his photo library. He would also like to get into the sale of famous signatures, images and memorabilia of famous people he has taken pictures of over the years. He has built up a fantastic collection ranging from Paul McCartney, Neil Young and Clint Eastwood to name but a few.

He certainly enjoys the challenge of difficult and sometimes dangerous photography including action in Northern Ireland over the past years, and working with all classes of people in many difficult and dangerous locations, risking all for the shot.
Steve says that many of the competition judges are out of date fail to miss the point of his images, however there are still a few he has a great deal of respect for including Margaret Salisbury. He feels new digital technology is fine, but he says: “Its easy to become a technophobe snapper, if people don’t learn all the basic skills of photography, they are really missing out on the great art of photography.”

Shapes in the Rain - Steve May

Shapes in the Rain – Steve May

Please send any comments to Tony