Picture Post’s George Douglas

George Douglas photographed during the 1950s

George Douglas photographed during the 1950s

For a current exhibition project, I have been researching sittings by key Picture Post photographers taken during the 1950s, including by Bert Hardy and George Douglas. (I am very grateful to Sarah McDonald, Curator of the Hulton Archive, for her ongoing assistance and advice.)

While Bert Hardy is known to many, the work of George Douglas is arguably less remembered today, despite the significance of his remarkable output while a commissioned freelance photographer for Picture Post. The great diversity of his work ranged from picture essays on celebrity figures; such as Audrey Hepburn at the time of her breakthrough performance in Gigi (1951); to photojournalism, documenting topics such as Olive Walker, one of Europe’s few female chimney sweeps, and the work of a speech therapy clinic in Stockton-on-Tees.

Within the last few weeks I was delighted to visit Brighton photographer Nigel Swallow, who is researching the Douglas Archive and organizing its long term care, alongside the Archive’s owner photographer Roger Bamber. (Bamber inherited the archive following Douglas’s death, and the subsequent death of his widow Jill Renton).

Next month, a small display of thirty photographs from the vast Douglas archive, will be staged at his former home at 14 Sillwood Road, Brighton. Douglas had bought the house in 1964, and though he spent much of his life in California, returned to live here permanently from 2007 until his death. This display will be part of the Brighton Artists Open Houses Festival 2014, and further details can be found on the event page. This display marks the beginning of a new exciting journey by the Archive’s owners to fully unravel and research this collection of several thousand negatives from the 1940s-1960s. I look forward to following their news, and I hope that in time, their work will lead to a reappraisal of Douglas’s legacy.

 

Miniclick Response Exhibition

Earlier this month I joined Miniclick for their first Response Exhibition, an event devised with Hastings based Lucy Bell Gallery. Almost 100 photographers submitted a total of more than 700 images, in advance and in person. The images were projected during a two-day event at the Phoenix Brighton, and discussed by photographers, the public, Lucy Bell, Jim Stephenson from Miniclick, Brighton Photo Fringe emerging curators Lulu Evans and Kayung Lai, and guests including myself, Eleanor MacNair, Rachel Segal Hamilton and Laura Pannack.

As images from each submitted portfolio were discussed, chosen images were printed, and added to an every changing wall, in which pairings and themes were found and continuously developed. At the end of the event ten photographers work was chosen for an exhibition at Lucy Bell Gallery which is now on show and continues until 23rd November.

Read more about the Response Exhibition on the Miniclick blog, where you can also view a slide show of work by the selected photographers Jocelyn Allen, Christopher Bethell, Richard Cutler, Peter Gates, Sam Laughlin, Margaret Mitchell, Nikosono, Kajal Nisha Patel, Kristina Salgvik and Amelia Shepherd. It was wonderful to be involved with this exciting and highly collaborative event; an experiment in mass curating which I hope Miniclick repeats in the future.

Brighton, November 2013, Photo: author’s own.