Enquire Actress Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993) on the set of the Paramount musical 'Funny Face'. Costumes by Givenchy. Original Publication: Picture Post - 8540 - Audrey Dances With Astaire - pub. 1956 (Photo by Bert Hardy/Getty Images)
Getty Images Gallery is delighted to announce the return and introduction of more than sixty works from the Picture Post archive. Published between 1938 and 1957, Picture Post was the premier British news magazine of the day and is widely considered a high-water mark for British photojournalism. Launched under the editorship of Hungarian émigré Stefan Lorant—who left Germany after being imprisoned by Hitler—the magazine was staunchly antifascist and sympathetic to social causes. The staff photographers were a mix of Brits and Europeans schooled in the classic style of 35mm Continental photojournalism. The resulting editorial formula combined politics with popular culture from the halls of power to back alleys. At its peak, the magazine was read by one out of every three island residents.
The third and final collection of Picture Post photography is decidedly glamorous. The selection is drawn from the 1950s, a time when the Post began to feature more stories focused on stars of the stage and screen as well as the recovery and growth of the fashion industry. The magazine’s post-war editorial shift was a natural progression as the public looked for lighter stories following years of conflict and suffering.
Though considered to be lighter news, the photographers’ in-depth approach to covering these stories remained unchanged. Photographers such as Bert Hardy, Kurt Hutton and John Chillingworth spent days (or weeks) with their subjects until they (and their editors) were satisfied the story had been covered from all angles. The resulting images – which are intimate and uncontrived – reveal the unique fruits of their approach and depth of their skills. Now available as museum quality resin and fibre prints, alongside modern Perspex face‑mounts and ChromaLuxe.
The Picture Post archives are a cornerstone of the Getty Images Archive and the source for many Getty Images Gallery bestselling works. Staff photographers such as Bert Hardy, Kurt Hutton, Bill Brandt, Grace Robertson, Thurston Hopkins, John Chillingworth, and Haywood Magee worked with editors Lorant and Tom Hopkinson to produce groundbreaking images of everyday life in the pre- and postwar years along with intimate and exclusive portraits of celebrities at home and abroad. These pictures, which pre-date television, were critical in showing realistic views of social conditions to the masses. Their unobtrusive and objective style influenced later generations of photojournalists such as Don McCullin, who recalled reading Picture Post in his local barbershop as a boy.
If you would like to learn more about Picture Post, filmmaker Rob West’s Picture Stories is the first feature-length documentary to tell the story of the magazine’s history and enduring legacy. Released in 2021, it is streaming online.
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