Steve Hanson

Back when I was a designer in the eighties and early nineties, I worked closely with a handful of photographers that I trusted. Just as now, these photographers really made our lives easier and had a huge part to play in the identity of the design work that we created.

Steve Hanson was one of those photographers. I first started working with Steve on the iconic Opera North design work of the late eighties and he was already on board and working directly with the client and producing his signature brooding black and white imagery for a forward thinking client. From a design perspective, this was a marriage made in heaven and before long we were creating some of the most beautiful design to be seen in the region (in my humble opinion of course).

This work then formed a platform and I worked alongside Steve on a range of  projects ranging from Northern Ballet Theatre, Phoenix Dance, Leeds Film Festival and Rowan Yarns. Steve’s image ‘style’ was moody and intense and heavy on the post production processing – as there was no Photoshop in those days he relied heavily on traditional darkroom techniques.

Steve was always a pleasure to work with – challenging the brief, not always following it, which often resulted in a winning images. His intense personality combined with a passion to get the job  right and do great work meant that it wasn’t always plain sailing working with Steve. But the credit Photo: Hanson was a badge that meant a lot in the design and cultural community.

Over time I’d lost touch with Steve as our paths went different ways. I was increasingly less and less a hands on creative and I wasn’t responsible for commissioning photography and he was off pursuing other interests in London.

I was really sad to find out that Steve died recently – he’d been living on Holy Isle following his lifelong passion for landscape photography. I got a call out of the blue from a designer who also used to work with Steve who told me the news –  It was quite a shock. Have a look at his latest work here, it’s still beautiful.

So this weekend I dug out some of our old work we did together. It was stashed away in the garage in a box, so it wasn’t in the best shape. Nevertheless it stands the test of time I think and Steve’s images are as striking and evocative as ever. Steve once told me he loved how great his shots looked in my designs and it was one of my proudest moments as a designer.

The world has lost a wonderful image maker who cared immensely about everything he did from the mundane to the spectacular. You will be missed Steve.

7 thoughts on “Steve Hanson

  1. Thankyou for your kind comments, steve will very much be missed and always in our thoughts, his creativity and photographs will live on for a long time to come.
    paul hanson (brother)

    • Steve and I were not only the closest of friend’s and confident’s but business partners for many many years and I was very sadly by his side when he so tragically died of Renal Cell Cancer after a very courageous battle. Thank you Phil for displaying this wonderful blog displaying his talent as a photographer and Artist within our industry. His memory shall live on through his images and he will be a great loss to the creative industry as a whole.

      A great loss to me as a person as well, but I try to celebrate his life and the last thing he would of wanted was for me to be sad although I miss him every second of everyday. The last thing he said to me was he would be with me everyday protecting me at all costs, mine and my sons guardian angel and indeed he is. We couldn’t ask for anymore, our friendship was one that defied space and time and for that I am eternally greatful.

      Emma Rothera
      Landscape Photographer

      • Wonderful words Emma.

        Thanks so much for getting touch and filling in some of the gaps. I worked with Steve for many years as I mentioned in the blog and although we’d not worked together in more recent times I looked upon our collaborations as amongst the most creative design work I’ve ever done. Our partnership was fruitful and we both absorbed each other’s creative energy, making a bit of a name for ourselves in the process.

        I bumped into Steve a few years ago and he was doing work that he wasn’t particularly enjoying so I’m really pleased that in recent years he was clearly doing the work that he enjoyed the most – landscapes. Looking at his work on the site he was taking some insanely great photographs. The serenity of the imagery speaks volumes I think for his state of mind.

    • Hi Paul

      Thanks for the note – apologies it’s taken a litre time to reply. I was really shocked when I first heard Steve had passed away and it’s the least I could do to write the post. I’d known him for years and we’d not worked together for quite some time yet I felt the loss even more, oddly. He lives on through his work and the memories we have of him.


  2. Hi Phil
    Was sad to hear this news only recently.Through my friend Antony Langdon now living in LA.
    Dad loved Steve & I remember all the fabulous work you both did with him.
    I was fortunate to meet him & still have one of Steve’s works that I chose from one of his first exhibitions with Dean …of Brighton Pier.
    Lovely words from you like you say a true creative collaboration a moment in time also technically. Loved looking at it all!!
    Camille x

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