This new book draws from the archives of photographer David Hurn to chronicle his career over a period of over 65-years. The making of this new book provided opportunity for Hurn to revisit and re-evaluate previously overlooked photographs with the benefits of time and experience, and to bring them to the fore. These lesser-seen photographs are published alongside some of his best-known works to demonstrate the longevity and breadth of his remarkable career.
The book opens with one of the first photographs ever taken by Hurn in 1955 in London, quickly followed by an image from the Hungarian Revolution in 1956—the reportage which helped to establish his reputation. Living in London during this period he became a visual narrator of the social revolution of the 1950s-1960s through changes in class and demographics whilst working for The Sunday Times, Queen Magazine and Town Magazine amongst others.
Hurn undertook numerous long-term projects in the US and the book includes a selection of this work ranging from street scenes in New York, to the deserts of California and Dolly Parton look-a-like competitions and group exercise classes in Arizona. Photographs taken across Europe in France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland and Yugoslavia in the intervening years show his continued versatility, often documenting where tradition and customs collided with modernity.
Some of Hurn’s best-known photographs were taken in the aftermath of the Aberfan disaster in Wales in 1966. This event held a particular poignancy for the photographer and contributed to his decision to move back to Wales from London a few years later. Once there, his intention was to go beyond cliches to photograph Wales with all its complexities. Shortly after his return in 1973 he established the School of Documentary Photography in Newport at a time when the area was in the throes of deindustrialisation with high rates of unemployment,. His aim was to teach photography as a vocation to diversify the job market. After leaving the school in 1989, Hurn eventually turned away from documentary photojournalism to create work with a more personal approach, which he still creates today from his home in Tintern, Wales.
Born in Surrey, England in 1934, but of Welsh descent, David Hurn is a self-taught photographer who began his career in 1955 as an assistant at the Reflex Agency. He became an associate member of Magnum in 1965 and a full member in 1967. In 1973, he set up the School of Documentary Photography in Newport, Wales.
In 1997 he collaborated with Professor Bill Jay on the textbook, On Being a Photographer, which has been in print ever since. Hurn’s book Wales: Land of My Father, was the result of a self-initiated project attempting to discover what is meant by the phrase ‘my culture’. It observed changes taking place in Wales from 1970 until the book’s publication by Thames and Hudson in 2000. In 2016, Hurn was awarded an honorary fellowship of the Royal Photographic Society, and in 2020, the he was the recipient of a Lucie Award for Achievement in Documentary.
David Hurn: Photographs 1955 – 2022
Hardcover, 140 pages
Including essay by Isaac Blease
First edition includes 100 Special Edition copies with limited edition silverprint
£60 | £225