David Stewart - Fogeys

There was a time when a young man could earn much needed cash in ways, if seen through today’s eyes, would seem very curious indeed. In these unlikely circumstances David Stewart began his journey to become one of this country’s most respected photographers.

Back in the 1970’s, Morecambe, thronged with masses of hard-working holidaymakers determined to have a good time before returning to the relentless grind of the working week.  Armed with Pentax in one hand and a spider monkey in the other, Stewart hustled the sea front of Morecambe and began to learn his craft.

Bang on the cultural fault line of 1976 Stewart began to train his lens on a decidedly different subject matter – the assorted rock and roll bands doing the concert circuit of the time. The beached whale of glam prog rock, burst asunder by the incendiary iconoclasm of punk.  The ensuing confusion and excitement was not lost on Stewart, injecting his shutter-clicking with a new urgency.  A defining moment for many; Punk’s rebellious traces can still be seen in Stewart’s work.  His recent show at The Wren Gallery London, Paid Content, was an acerbic critique of the advertising industry – a world Stewart knows intimately from the inside – witnessing its gradual slide into the over-bloated corporate la la land it is today.

Fogeys by comparison is a far more sympathetic affair. We enter an alternate universe where old folk defy expectations.  Broken free from the conventional roles society normally prescribes – free to run amok  in these gloriously large format prints; non-digital, full-colour and beautiful.

Only in our culture do the old become a source of pity and disinterest.  Fogeys is a better prescription.  There’s a lot of fun going on here.  And perhaps it gets us to think that it’s all too easy to write off our older folk, expecting them to go gently and quietly into that good night.  Maybe instead we can all go a little crazy, a little wild before it’s too late?  Because if we’re lucky we all become fogeys one day.  Forgeydom is a land that awaits us all.  Fogeys reminds us we are in a culture terrified by decline and death, whose flip side is the glamorised fetishisation of youth.  Here the twilight years become a source of inspiration and joy.  A last hoorah before the final retreat into the shadows to quietly fade away.  The new punks are the old fogeys.

Oulan Nagardo

April 2019