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Print ranges: Singles | Colour | Monochrome | Deconstructions | Negatives

Locations: Durham | Landscapes & Seascapes | Castles & Cathedrals | Angel of the North | Newcastle Gateshead | Bridges | Northumberland | Teesside

Steve Mayes

Newcastle photographer - Steve Mayes

I've been a professional photographer since 2002. My interest is places - cities, architecture, landscapes, coasts. I don't do any other sort of photography. This allows me to concentrate on what I love to photograph the most. 

My interest in photography goes back to my childhood, but only as a viewer. I grew up in the Midlands town of Nuneaton. My walls had posters of the Manhattan Skyline and icebergs in the Antarctic. Having a camera on family holidays became a must. But it was only after University (I studied Psychology at Manchester) that it became something I'd even describe as a hobby, with the completion of a short dark room development course. This fledgling interest was put on hold as I took a job that led me to Newcastle, as an economic consultant at a small firm. 

I'd never been to Newcastle before, and spent no more than a day or two in the North East. I lived in Jesmond for a year, and then on the quayside, right next to the Tyne Bridge. It was a time of great change for the quayside. The BALTIC had recently opened, the iconic Gateshead Millennium Bridge was installed, and the Sage Gateshead was rising out of the ground. Without planning it, I'd landed in an area that was going through a great cultural change, and the architecture that I found myself interacting with on a daily basis was an inspiration to me.

I worked with black and white film back then, and managed to persuade my boss to allow me to convert the loft at work into a darkroom. There I developed my early shoots on the Newcastle Gateshead quayside, and along the Northumberland coast. Black and white seemed under-explored at the time in the area, and so I began looking for outlets for my work. That led me to the market at Tynemouth metro station, and the beginnings of my range of greetings cards that are still in production today.

In 2004 I turned to digital, and by 2006 I’d left my job to pursue photography full-time, though by then my business had been going for a number of years. It was a big step, one that led me to expand from the purely ‘artistic’ side of print sales to the undertaking of architectural photography commissions, an important part of the business now, and in 2009 I was awarded an Associateship of the British Institute of Professional Photography for my architectural work.

The development of my portfolio of images for sale as prints remains incredibly important to me, and nothing beats seeing those pieces capture someone’s eye to the extent that they spend hard-earned money on my work. My black and white photography remains popular, as do the (usually) colour shots from the Northumberland coast and countryside. More recently I’ve been looking to develop ranges that are of a more unique and personal style – tending more perhaps towards artwork. These are my Singles, Negatives and Deconstructions. And with the rebrand and relaunch of the print side of my business as North East Exposure, I’ve taken the decision to focus those efforts on the region that nurtured my interest and ultimately gave me my career.

“Thank you for the beautiful picture of Embleton Bay which I received today. It brings back wonderful childhood memories of summer holidays spent there!”

(Brenda Waugh, Private buyer)