Wedding photographer returns with children’s publishing business

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Chances are if you got married in Horsham during the early 1980s photographer Steve Bicknell did your wedding pictures.

Steve was at his studio in North Street, first above the Lonesome Pine Shop, opposite the original Sun Alliance building, from 1976 until 1984 when he moved to Billingshurst to pursue a career in industrial photography.

Steve says: “I loved having a shop in Horsham all those years ago, we had a bell above the door and I can still hear it ringing. It was so exciting being part of the Horsham community, it’s a fabulous town and I still have very happy memories.

“In our best year we photographed 200 couples with Registry Office ceremonies and masses of lovely church weddings. I had lots of help but once on one mad Saturday I actually managed three weddings on one day!”

Thirty years later Steve is back in Horsham opening a brand new design studio for his publishing business Maverick. The office is situated in the City Business Centre, Brighton Road, Horsham.

Much older and fatter, he jokes, but still with his relentless energy and enthusiasm, Steve explains his reasons for returning: “The Billingshurst days were a huge amount of fun; we had a drive in studio and worked for lots of local design studios and agencies.

“I managed to build up a reputation for creating a dramatic industrial picture.

“I am pleased to say the awards came and I ended up with a big reputation and worked all round the world for huge clients for their Reports and Accounts.

“But of course nothing lasts forever and it was obvious in early 2000 that commissioned photographers were going to be under pressure so I decided to retire as a photographer and in 2004 I launched our first calendar publishing company Icarus.

“I worked with other photographers to create a range of high class calendars for the high street. It was extremely tough to get going but in 2006 I came up with a revolutionary idea of putting a dog on skis and Waterski-ing Westies was born!

“It went into Calendar Club in the autumn of 2006 and was their fastest selling calendar, a huge hit and has sold nearly 300,000 copies since.

“All of the magic created in Photoshop for the calendar is created by my good friend photographer Paul Cocken.

“Today our publishing activity is still a strong range of calendars plus Maverick is creating a big name for itself in children’s publishing.

“We champion new, fresh, first time authors and publish innovative children’s picture books suitable for 3 to 7 years. Many of our books have won awards and have appeared on television.

“We supply all the big names in the high street including Waterstones, WH Smith, Paperchase, HMV, Calendar Club, supermarkets and independent bookshops.”

The new design studio will be the heart of Maverick’s activities and Steve is keen to talk to the creative community that Horsham has to offer for mutual benefits and to offer his vast experience in photography, illustration, PR and marketing.