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The first preview page spreads are now now on the site to look at and give a great idea of how the final book will look. The book is scheduled for Spring 2017.
BOOK DETAILS • From around the start of the twentieth century, right up until the 1960s, street photographers were busy in holiday resorts all around Britain. It was a speculative trade; of the many tens of thousands of images they must have taken, it’s impossible to say what percentage were ever collected, but those that survive form a unique record of society. What makes these photographs so special is that the subjects didn’t expect to have their photograph taken, so they dressed as society at the time dictated. Thus the images capture a moment in time, reflecting the fashions, social status and habits of the era.
COMMERCIAL • There is a sixty second video for the book on our YouTube channel with photos and information. A short new video of walking pictures taken in Mabelthorpe has also been released.
This book is the first to collect a selection of these images, taken by companies with such names as Walkie Snaps (from Blackpool), Skeg-cards (from Skegness you’ll not be surprised to learn), The Krazy Komic Studios (a name which seems to come straight out of the pages of the novel Brighton Rock, fittingly they had their booth in the arches on that town’s Esplanade),
Sunbeam and Sunny Snaps who both worked the resorts on the Kent coast.
Walking Pictures reached a peak during the 1930s but resumed after the second World War and on through the fifties. They were very popular, and appealed to a wide spectrum of people and classes, despite the advent of cheap cameras which a lot of families would own at the time.
Walking Picture cameramen often had their own ‘beat’, busy spots where they could guarantee a steady flow of people passing by. It’s clear that a lot of the people simply didn’t realise they’d been photographed, while others are looking right at the camera and smiling. Sometimes the same family would be photographed on different days, mother and father, grandparents, in-laws and children.
Once your photograph had been taken, you were given a slip showing you where to view the print. The reel of film would be developed and printed (on postcards) in just a couple of hours and then posted up in a shop window or cabinet. If you liked the result you just popped in and bought it.
This photographic journey around the vanished town-scapes of Britain includes a detailed history on the Walking Picture, images annotated with details of who, where and when, and comment by an expert on C20 fashions.
The images have come from several collectors, as well as museums and archives. There is a lot of interest in this area of found photographs, with a number of groups on the internet. Sewerby Hall near Bridlington had a display of local Walking Pictures from the book during the summer season in 2011 (learn more here)
. You can see more at a special Walking Pictures Flikr stream
of these image we have set up and there is also now a web site devoted to Walking Pictures
where you can learn more (and maybe contribute yourself).
A couple more samples can be found here
on the site, along with more information and a request for people to send in any examples they may have.