We report the demonstration of an optically activated shutter based upon a short-pitch chiral nematic liquid crystal (LC) device sandwiched between crossed polarizers. This LC is comprised of photo-active chiral dopants. In the trans-state, the LC appears dark between crossed polarizers due to the very short pitch. As the pitch is extended through exposure to ultraviolet light, the device becomes transmissive reaching a maximum for a particular value of the pitch. As a result, it is possible to switch between the light and dark states by subjecting the device to visible light so as to cause a cis-trans photo-isomerisation.