Thurston Hopkins

Thurston Hopkins was born in 1913 in Sleaford in Sussex and died in October 2014. As a younger man he was Godfrey Thurston Hopkins but dropped the Godfrey while at school.

He studied at Brighton College of Art and when he left, he found work as a graphic artist and later, after being made redundant he joined a news picture agency, PhotoPress.

He didn’t work for long in the cut throat business of news journalism and left to set up his own photography business in Brighton.

When the second world war came along, he joined and served with the RAF photography unit.

After the war Thurston Hopkins travelled around Europe, hitch hiking and taking photos with his newly acquired Leica camera, a souvenir of the war.

Retuning to the UK he got a job with Camera Press a picture agency started in 1947 by Tom Blau and still a force in the picture agency business today.

Thurston Hopkins started work for Picture Post in 1950 and left in 1957. One of the first series of photos he undertook was ‘’Cats of London’’, an observation of the many homeless cats that populated London after the blitz.

A set of pictures taken in Liverpool in 1956 is considered by many to be his finest work. He photographed those living in the slums but the content showing the poverty, deprivation and misery was so disturbing that the publication of the pictures was prevented by Edward Hulton, the owner of Picture Post and the pictures were never published.

It was while he worked at Picture Post that he met and married Grace Robertson, in the 1950’s she was a rare thing, a female professional photographer. So rare that Grace determined to get work adopted a male pseudonym, Dick Muir, in the early part of her career to enable her to pursue the work she wanted.

When the Picture Post came to an end Hopkins set up a studio in Chiswick and became one of London’s most successful commercial photographers, He later returned to Brighton and taught photography at the Guildford College of Art.