Exhibition by award winning photographer from Lancaster to launch new gallery in Morecambe

Going Up, one of David Stewart's photographs on display in the Paid Content exhibition at the White Elephant Gallery in Morecambe.
Going Up, one of David Stewart's photographs on display in the Paid Content exhibition at the White Elephant Gallery in Morecambe.

An award winning photographer is to open Morecambe’s newest gallery with his surreal focus on the advertising world.

David Stewart’s Paid Content exhibition launches the White Elephant Gallery in its new Euston Road location on February 8.

Neil Wilson and Paul Kondras.

Neil Wilson and Paul Kondras.

Lancaster-born David, a winner of the prestigious Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize, has chosen the setting of an advertising agency as the subject for Paid Content.

It’s an environment he knows well, having worked in it for almost 40 years.

His wry, documentary photographs explore the changing face of workplace culture and the growth of large, faceless corporations and globalisation.

Much like Hogarth did centuries ago, David’s images hold up a mirror to a slice of modern life.

Photographer David Stewart whose Paid Content exhibition will launch the new White Elephant Gallery in February.

Photographer David Stewart whose Paid Content exhibition will launch the new White Elephant Gallery in February.

“It is the people and culture I see around me every day that influence my work,” said David. “There is nothing stranger than what I see in real life which is why my photographs appear slightly surreal.”

David’s association with the White Elephant contemporary art gallery began last year when his Fogeys exhibition attracted almost a thousand people at its previous Arndale Centre location.

His career began photographing punk bands and also colourful characters on Morecambe Promenade, work which directly influenced his now recognisable style.

After graduating from Blackpool and The Fylde College, David moved to London in 1981 where he rapidly established himself as one of the UK’s most highly accomplished photographers.

Full Body Approval by David Stewart, which features in his Paid Content exhibition at the White Elephant Gallery in Morecambe.

Full Body Approval by David Stewart, which features in his Paid Content exhibition at the White Elephant Gallery in Morecambe.

In 1995 he directed and produced the BAFTA nominated short film Cabbage and in 2015, he won The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize at the National Portrait Gallery.

A year later, he received The Royal Photographic Society award for outstanding achievement and excellence in the fields of editorial, advertising and fashion photography and his work features regularly at the Royal Academy Summer Show.

Paid Content, which is also available as a book, runs until March 21 at the White Elephant Gallery from Thursday-Saturday, 10am-4pm. Admission is free.

Paul Kondras and Neil Wilson are the creative force behind the White Elephant Gallery, which first opened its doors in the Arndale Centre in April 2018.

Paul, who lives in Hest Bank, is an artist and production designer and Morecambe-based Neil is an artist and therapist.

The contemporary art gallery, now at 40 Euston Road, was founded as a cultural experiment and in less than two years has built a regular following.