It was a frantic 30 minutes when John Stoddart presented his own mini-retrospective in his hometown of Liverpool.
From Thatcher-hating socialist Liverpool to the excesses of celebrity in London, this Scouser in a suit was like a whirlwind in an otherwise plodding and overtly-serious National Photography Symposium.
Though still emitting Scouse tones, Stoddart’s eccentric poise is far from typical Merseyside. He’s more a slightly-camp head waiter than working-class scally.
These days, however, he serves the rich and famous. Photographing them for all the top publications. His ironic glitzy website
is as good as I’ve seen in a long time.
He was a teenager in his 70s, photographing bands like Echo and the Bunnymen. Stoddart opened a studio (it didn’t last long). He tried the same thing in London. This time it worked. Magazines, record companies all commissioned him. Five shoots a week, he said. Now it’s fewer magaine shoots – ‘they don’t commission anymore’ but plenty of eroticism and art-porn (my description).
Stoddart admits to being a notoriously fast photographer. I can well believe it. Twenty-five years of photography crammed into a 30-minute slideshow. I blinked and I almost missed it.