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Stephen Shakeshaft in prison

14 August 2009 by Sam

a nun standing by the balcony in a prison

Sister Marina, Walton Prison. Copyright Liverpool Daily Post and Echo.

There’s just over a month to go now until the exhibition ‘Liverpool people by Stephen Shakeshaft’ opens at the National Conservation Centre. The exhibition will be packed full photographs spanning Stephen’s career as photographer and picture editor at the Liverpool Daily Post and Echo.

There are lots of great photos that didn’t quite make it into the exhibition itself, like this one, which prompted Stephen to reminisce about the time he spent behind bars – just visiting to take photographs of course.


“I photographed Sister Marina visiting Walton Prison. Her smile and compassion were for all – she was there to comfort those who needed her faith, solace, prayers and hope.

A hand stretched through the bars of a locked cell and a finger tapped me on the shoulder – looking round all I could see were dark penetrating staring eyes and a finger that seemed to be 6 inches long – the other hand came through the bars and I was offered a tin cup full of tea. I hesitated, smiled and took a sip – the warden teased me with a suggestion that there was something else in the cup that I would not want to drink!

One of the most uncomfortable situations I found myself in was covering life in a women’s prison. Entering the recreation room I was confronted by more than 20 women prisoners, their jokes and repartee was X certificate – all to the amusement of the Governor, who wore a long white mac with epilettes and black knee length boots!”

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