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Getty Images Gallery presents Thurston Hopkins...

Preview: Jack Foley

CELEBRATING a lifetime of achievement, Getty Images, in association with Harpers & Queen Magazine, is holding a special exhibition at its Chelsea gallery, from November to January (2004), exclusively featuring the work of distinguished British photographer, Thurston Hopkins.

In a career spanning four decades, Hopkins became known for his uncanny ability to depict the human condition through photographs that demonstrate a great sensitivity to the subject, while taking a creative approach to his sometimes widely varied material.

Hopkins' photographic career peaked when he achieved his ambition to join the staff of Picture Post. During his eight years working exclusively for this renowned magazine he travelled on assignments around the world and was honoured with two British Press Pictures of the Year awards for photojournalism.

"Hopkins' work in terms of quality, consistency and sheer brilliance of composition rivals that of any of Picture Post's celebrated photographers," says Getty Images Gallery Director, Louise Garzcewska. "This is a very important exhibition offering a unique historical perspective of society and culture and is a very timely celebration for Hopkins who turned 90 this year."

Hopkins strongly believed in the importance of the professional and personal bond between the writer and the photographer which largely contributed to the Picture Post style and the magazine's great success with a pre-television public.

"I took the rather unpopular view, certainly among purist photographers, that words and pictures needed one another," says Hopkins, although he admits this was partly because he came from a literary background.

While still at school he produced drawings for his father's topographical books, and after studying at Brighton School of Art, he embarked on a career as a graphic artist. This, however, was interrupted by the outbreak of the Second World War.

It was during his service in the RAF Photographic Unit that he developed a powerful interest in reportage, although he never lost his instinct for using the camera as a tool to imaginatively illustrate, when the occasion demanded.

After the war he hitch-hiked around Europe carrying out assignments for Agencies like Camera Press until he thought he was ready to attract the attention of Picture Post, which he eventually did by submitting a dummy edition of the magazine in which he supplied both text and pictures.

Following the closure of the publication, Hopkins set up his own studio in Chiswick and for the next decade became one of London's most in demand advertising photographers.

Finally, when he felt it was time for another change he took up an appointment at the Guildford School of Photography, where he passed on his professional expertise to a rising generation of young photographers. Today Thurston Hopkins is a full-time painter.

Thurston Hopkins' photography is discussed in many publications including A History of World Photography (Rosenblum, 1997), Photography In The 20th Century (Tausk, 1980) and The Photography Book (Phaidon Press, 1997). Examples of his work are in many public collections including Getty Images' Hulton|Archive, The Museum of Photographic Art in San Diego, The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

This special one man show is drawn from a collection of Hopkins' work, which is now part of the Hulton|Archive, a division of Getty Images. The exhibit demonstrates his empathic flair across a variety of subjects and features both signed and unsigned work.

Thurston Hopkins opens at Getty Images Gallery: Thursday, November 13, to Friday, January 2, 2004.
Address: Getty Images Gallery, Jubilee Place, SW3 (020-7376 4525). Opening times: Mon-Fri: 10am-6pm; Sat: 12pm-6pm

NB Our picture shows the manager of the Arthur Murray School of Dance, London, and his wife demonstrating the cha-cha-cha. Original Publication: Picture Post - 8983 - Cha-Cha - unpub. (Photo by Thurston Hopkins/Getty Images)

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