Photographer Luke Stephenson has quietly been amassing a nice body of work documenting slightly eccentric and daft subjects over the last five years, from participants in moustache-growing contests to disgruntled chefs, spectacle wearers to exotic pet birds, and...painted eggs. Hailing from the north of England, Stephenson has a dry sense of humour which comes across in his choice of subjects, but there is a gentleness about his photos; he never seems to be mocking his subjects, and a real empathy comes across in the work.
His subject matter is often very much a part of 'everyman' English culture, almost mundane, yet filled with charm (and importance and ritual for those involved), and has a real knack for capturing character. Even the individual personalities of the show birds comes through in their portraits. There's nothing flash or showy about Stephenson's work, but he has found a really nice balance between formal portraiture (even of inanimate objects!), social documentary, and an artistic sensibility.
From the 'World Beard & Moustache Championships' series
From the 'Spectacle Wearing Folk' series
From the 'Clown Egg Register' series
From the 'Incomplete Dictionary Of Show Birds' series
All images © Luke Stephenson