A burlesque photographer from Chester’s Garden Quarter has won a national award for his work.
Neil Kendall, a graduate of the University of Chester, was named Photographer of The Year award at the National Vintage Awards at the Pump House in Cheltenham.
The glittering ceremony was attended by some of the country’s top designers and businesses and Neil chose a custom made suit by Chester’s Sam Jones for the occasion.
Neil, whose work has appeared in Vogue, The Guardian and The Observer, attended with Scotland’s Missy Malone who is one of his favourite subjects to photograph. Bexi Owen also a Chester resident was there as a host.
The awards were established four years ago to acknowledge vintage inspired businesses and artists in one of the country’s fastest growing scenes.
Neil said: ‘’Vintage is huge right now, the vintage clothing industry individually is worth millions of pounds in the UK alone and its that financial effect which is seeing more and more new businesses be created. Its’ an exciting time to be in the scene.’’
Winning the award was a self confessed ‘thrill’ for the photographer who has lived and worked in the city for 11 years.
He added: “Yes, it was nerve wracking because it’s at a national level and competition was tough with other photographers who have incredible portfolios, so I was a little phased on hearing my name and my work simultaneously flashing up on a big cinema screen.”
Neil was awarded the prize by a judging panel of five industry specialists after getting into the final by winning more than 20,000 public votes.
Awards director Laura Jackson Woods said his prize was due to his ‘distinctive and truly authentic fashion, pin up and studio portraits’.
Neil is also working on a film of Chester, based in 1914, which is due out in August and his studio sees diverse clients such as burlesque performers, cabaret artistes and musicians travel from far and wide for shoots.
Burlesque performer Dita Von Teese in Los Angles has booked him for his distinctive camera work.
Neil said: “I have a great career and I do travel but I love living here in Chester because the city is so compact. It’s great to work with other business, festivals and events here and there is no shortage of amazing characters to work with, I gave up working in London years ago and wouldn’t change a thing.”
Next stop for Neil is a book of his Burlesque images and a trip to Las Vegas where he sits on the Burlesque Hall of Fame Board.
He added: “I don’t get a lot of down time and it’s a surreal job, but now I can I am incredibly proud to be recognised by the industry for my work it’s a job I have done more or less since I graduated. So I feel I have earned my stripes now!”