I own a signed copy of photographer Steve Best's portraits. (And in turn he owns an unsigned Thermal Military Parka!) This one:
Harry Hill, backstage at a gig
Steve specialises in comedians. They know and trust him to take intimate portraits.
I first saw Hill doing stand up when I was a teenager at uni in Liverpool, alongside Al Murray doing impressions of guns, pre - Pub Landlord.
Emmalou and I are a bit in love with him really. He's a constant feature of our 3 decades relationship. We love him because he's so silly, innocent, random, sweet. We need this sort of thing. I'm a sucker for badgers, stalagmites, stalactites and Stuffer The Cat. If you know, you'll know.
Stewart Lee, whom we once saw do a two hour joke about vomiting into the willing rectum of.... I can't. I'm weak. Unlike Stewart
Anyway, why have Best's work on the FRAHM site? People. We love people. The tough. The beautiful. The ups and downs of reality. Including a comedian's reality. It's not all Prime Time BBC and million dollar movie contracts.
Barry Cryer, who died recently, star of I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue, my all time favourite comedy show & source of constant joy
I miss comedy, especially live. My mum was a black and white photographer, of theatre and dance. There's a lot in these portraits that push my buttons.
I find the thought of doing live standup absolutely horrifying. I think it's tantamount to self-torture. But like all the best stuff, investing in the things that scare you, can be transcendent, life affirming, exciting, exhausting, etc.
As I try to avoid the "tears of a clown" cliche, I do think that comedy is therapy. For the performer, and the audience.
Sex. Cuddles. Laughing. The three best feelings in the world? For some of us, comedy is the easiest to access of these. The most intense natural drug we can pop down the High St for.
For me, comedians are geniuses of emotional intelligence. They expose their depths for us. Find places we can't find. Access our best hormones. That takes brains and guts. I like to think these portraits show some of that.
Thank you Steve.
You can pre-order Steve Best's book of portraits "Comedians" here. It's proper lush.