Picture Post. Volumes 1-29

£1,250

Picture Post. Volumes 1-29 (bound in 18), 1938-45. bound in uniform later blue cloth retaining original printed covers. Large 8vo (35 x 22 cm)

RRB Photobooks are pleased to say we have acquired the complete run of the key first seven years of this extraordinary photojournalistic magazine, published from 1938 to 1957.

It is considered a pioneering example of photojournalism and was an immediate success, selling 1,700,000 copies a week after only two months. It has been called the UK's equivalent of LIFE magazine.

The magazine’s editorial stance was liberal, anti-fascist and populist and from its inception, Picture Post campaigned against the persecution of Jews in Germany.” (Wikipedia)

“Picture Post was very much a pioneering publication and all but introduced the small format camera to Britain with photographers such as Bert Hardy, Kurt Hutton, Humphrey Spender and Bill Brandt converts to the revolutionary 35mm camera. The marriage between words and pictures contributed hugely to the success of the magazine and effectively defined the term photojournalism.

The instinctive use of natural light together with a genius for composition marked out Pictures Post’s ‘staffers’ from the run-of-the-mill press photographers of the day. However, it was also their uncanny ability to get close to their subjects that allowed them to consistently capture the raw emotion of the moment. The legacy left behind by these pioneering spirits is truly extraordinary and, without question, defined an era often referred to as ‘the golden age of photojournalism’. Picture Post magazine serves as a timely reminder that there once was a kind of journalism read by 5 million people a week (it was estimated that 1 person in 3 read the magazine in the UK at its peak) that could be both entertaining and responsible.

A veritable social documentary of Britain, issues such as racism, unemployment, housing and health made regular features, Picture Post also had a social conscience that brought a weekly bundle of hope into millions of homes between 1938 and 1957” (Getty Images)

The first seven years present in this run are key for not only the development and pioneering impact as a photo journal but it is also a significant document for the study of the history of emigration since many of its contributors had fled from Europe: 

 “...many historians in Exile Studies have noted the significance of émigré activity by refugees from Europe during this period, particularly in Britain, where most of the émigrés arrived in 1938 after the 29 Degenerate Art Exhibition and the pogroms of the Reichskristallnacht. 62 This seven year period also provides the study with a clear focus: the war years are vital to a shift of power in the Western world, and signify a change in the cultural identity of Britain. Furthermore, the war with its travel restrictions put a heightened emphasis on reporting, as first-hand information was restricted. In focusing on Britain, as a site for refugee activity during the 1930s and 1940s, this thesis emphasises the significance of Britain in understanding the nation as a site for cultural exchange, which during the war years when nations fought against each other, also provides for an intriguing insight into the relevance of national identity. It will be recognised as vital in the construction of émigré artistic development during the Second World War, in view of the forced journeys of refugees to Britain from mainland Europe.” 

From:  “PICTURE POST AND THE PHOTOGRAPHIC ESSAY: ÉMIGRÉ PHOTOGRAPHERS AND VISUAL NARRATIVES, 1938-1945” by Amy Alice Shulman. Unpublished Thesis see https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/161935852.pdf

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