Shy Burhan is a professional photographer, based in Shipley, and her social-documentary work has featured in solo exhibitions in Saltaire during 2015/2016. She was born and has lived in the Bradford district for most of her life.
Shy graduated with a degree in Interdisciplinary Human Studies (IHS) from the University of Bradford in 1999 and following graduation travelled around Europe, living for a time in Italy. She became interested in photography when in Italy in an attempt to capture the scenes around her.
On her return to the UK she entered employment in the financial sector, but was continually drawn back to her interest in photography. She applied, was accepted as a mature student, and eventually graduated with a Higher National Diploma in Photography from Bradford College in 2005.
Shy then worked in Yorkshire for 10 years as a professional commercial photographer, and from 2012-15 managed her own commercial portrait studio in Shipley town centre.
In 2014, building on her own business experience, Shy was appointed as an Enterprise Officer part-time for a local voluntary sector organisation, helping to support local women interested in self-employment. She combined this employment with her own freelance work as a photographer, working from her home in Shipley.
During this period she became interested in The Real Junk Food Project (RJFP), with its aim of reducing food waste by preparing, cooking and serving unsold food in the 120 RJFP cafes in Britain and overseas at prices customers can afford to pay. She volunteered at the RJFP Saltaire Canteen, and soon saw the social and historical potential for documenting the activity there and in other project cafes around Britain.
In 2015 Shy embarked on a three month circuit of over RJFP 20 cafes, culminating in an exhibition of 300 photographs at the Saltaire Canteen during 2015/16. Her exhibition was chosen as the starting point, and was the only solo artist show featured, at the 2016 Saltaire Arts Trail.
Shy also worked with artist, Jill Boyd, and women group members of The Creative Butterfly Project, established by freelance artist/photographer, Jill Boyd, to support survivors of domestic abuse through the therapeutic use of art. Shy photographed members of the group in the workshops, and her collection of photographs, ‘Butterfly’, was exhibited at the Kala Sangam Arts Centre in Bradford in 2016.
In 2018, Shy launched the ’40’ Project, with the aim to photograph people in their fortieth year, including representational imagery reflecting important life events. This project is on-going into 2019, but an exhibition of the first 20 portraits was held in the Holding Space café, Shipley, with other exhibitions scheduled for 2019 on completion of the project.
Artist’s website: http://shybphotography.com/
See also: ‘Shy Burhan: My Art’ at http://www.notjusthockney.info/burhan-shy-my-art/
(With thanks to Shy Burhan for permission to use her exhibition images here)