Shari Denson


Credit: Stuart Hadfield

“Limitations are veiled gifts”

Shari Denson is a Manchester-based photographer. She has been contributing to the world of music photography since 2002, whilst she was working towards her degree in Film and Photography, just after having her first child.  Her early work was primarily shot on black and white film which allowed her to process the negatives at home and print her own images in the darkroom – a process she loved. “There’s something very special about being shut off from the rest of society, in darkness, for relatively short lengths of time” she says. “The sound of running water, the lack of visual stimuli except your images appearing in the developer tray, the methodical way of working…it gives you the chance to focus everything in your life down to this one image, and have a flow experience which is intense yet calming. I haven’t found that anywhere else.”

Shari has worked with many bands over the years, both up and coming and better known artists. Ian Brown handpicked one of her images for use on the artwork for his 2007 album “The World is Yours”. Elbow requested her personally to do the promo shots for their 2008 album “The Seldom Seen Kid” – and she gave them one of their best known and loved images to date. The same image that has now been recreated as a mosaic, adorning the outside wall of the iconic Affleck’s in Manchester city centre, on Tib Street.

Over the years, Shari has contributed to several magazines such as the late great Fly Magazine, where, thanks to live editors Andy Inglis and Joe Shooman, she was able to gain access to some of her favourite bands/solo artists at the time such as I am Kloot, Badly Drawn Boy, The White Stripes, and Interpol.  Her work has also been picked up by NME, Comes with a Smile, Loose Lips Sink Ships, Louder than War, Unsigned and Independent, and Flick of the Finger, as well as being used on several television programmes such as The Mercury Prize and Later with Joolz Holland not to mention countless online platforms.

In 2007 Shari had her first solo exhibition -“I don’t want to belong to any club that would have me as a member” a typically self-deprecating title…the exhibition was hosted by Warrington Museum and Art Gallery, and curated by Natasha Lolljee. The exhibition received great reviews, and marked the arrival of Shari as an established band photographer.

In April 2018, Shari was featured in the Suffragette City exhibition, which featured portraits of 25 of the most influential and inspirational women in Manchester music. This acknowledgement was not wasted on Shari who said “It was quite hard to comprehend, after all these years of  photographing others and helping to highlight their creations and achievements, that people saw fit to do exactly that for me. As a photographer you get used to being invisible…so what Alison Surtees and her team at MDM Archive did was a really beautiful thing, and it meant a great deal to me, and to my daughters.”

Shari has made the switch, albeit somewhat reluctantly, to digital, but still somehow she manages to recreate the feel of film in many of her images. ” I think maybe the fact that my lenses are old and not at all expensive, and I don’t use auto focus helps in that department. I love capturing a bit of movement in my images due to not being able to get a fast enough shutter speed…..I suppose sometimes your limitations are, in fact, veiled gifts”.

Shari is available for promo and live shoots. Please email for availability.