Iconic Photos

Famous, Infamous and Iconic Photos

Thurston Hopkins

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Jamaican immigrant Kwessi Blankson gives a light to workmate Jack White in 1955

During the mid-20th century, street photography is a term normally strongly associated with Paris; but interesting street photography work was being done in other countries and cities too.

One such work was that of Thurston Hopkins who documented everyday life of post-war Britain. Hopkins worked for Picture Post, now largely-forgotten British equivalent of Life magazine. Hopkins’ obscurity is more total than that of Picture Post. As of February 2014, Hopkins does not even have a wikipedia page.

But to forget someone like  Hopkins is too forget important work he did in post-war Britain; in 1950, Hopkins joined Picture Post after a stint with the RAF photographic unit during the Second World War (allegedly creating a dummy issue of Post using only his photographs and words). For the magazine, he contributed such important photoessays such as Children of the Streets in 1954, A British Colour Conflict in 1955 and Liverpool Slums in 1956. These were portraits of a bygone Britain, a traumatized post-war nation slowly coming to terms with immigration, loss of empire, and shoots of prosperity that the prime minister would dub ‘never-had-it-so-good’ in 1957.

TH spread

[Most of the information here is through an article from Guardian when Hopkins turned 100 in 2013. This is the only article on Hopkins online. A slideshow of many Hopkins photos can be found here. The whole Picture Post archive is online, but not searchable behind a paywall at Cengage Learning. 😦 ]


Written by Alex Selwyn-Holmes

February 24, 2014 at 3:35 am

Posted in Society

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2 Responses

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  1. I would like to know more about him. He had very good photos of children playing, the bride and indian photos are great. He had too strong photos documenting about the slums and again the situation of children’s. All the photos with a very human touch. Very interesting, thanks for share.


    February 25, 2014 at 11:02 am

  2. Peace
    Sam Robert Graves & Elizabeth Haughton
    Rosbercon Castle
    Annefield Lane
    Co. Wexford

    John P Wall

    September 26, 2014 at 6:05 pm

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