John Hinde A member of the wardens service fitting a gas mask 1944

John Hinde
A member of the wardens service fitting a gas mask 1944
© The Royal Photographic Society Collection at the National Media Museum, Bradford

Postwar Britain presented significant opportunities for photographers with publications such as Vogue, The Sunday Times and Observer magazines demanding a constant flow of images. Released from war-time constraints, book production grew significantly, fashion photography captured the spirit of the age and a wave of socially committed photojournalists were driven by the general unease with the poor living conditions in Britain.

By the 1950s, though still affected by the aftermath of war, the British were increasingly aspirational, adventurous and engaged with ideas around ‘nationhood’. Illustrated books on natural history and the countryside were popular, as well as ‘how-to’ books on subjects such as gardening and cookery. Photographic postcards were as popular as ever and formed an integral part of the British holiday.

Portrait studios flourished on the high street and catered to recent immigrants to Britain. Celebrity portraiture continued to stimulate the public’s imagination, with light entertainment and television stars becoming a major focus for photographers.

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