Documentary - Picture Stories

Picture Stories poster - b/w period photo of man in a flat cap walking away with dog looking at camera

Ship Of Life Films has announced the release next month of their new documentary, Picture Stories, about the life and legacy of the revolutionary magazine, Picture Post. Watch the trailer...

Press Release

Picture Post magazine was founded in 1938 by photojournalist and social campaigner, Stefan Lorant, friend to Winston Churchill and Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany. The magazine was an immediate success, selling nearly 2m copies a week within only two months, and went on to be Britain’s best-selling weekly magazine during the Second World War. Telling stories through a combination of pictures and text enabled Picture Post to be powerfully effective in highlighting important issues of the day and influencing public attitudes and opinions.

Britain’s best-selling magazine during the Second World War, and hugely influential for years after, Picture Post revolutionised the picture magazine, showing Britain to the British in a fundamentally new way.

Four women in work clothes standing on a street gossiping - magazine cover

Using the freedom of new camera technology, Picture Post’s photographers portrayed the lives of ordinary people, at home, on the street, unposed - in a way they had never been seen before.
Through its powerful, socially committed picture stories, Picture Post helped to transform post-war Britain, and change the face of British photography.

Three black men in suits and hats walking along a street in the 1940s

The story of this iconic magazine is told by its photographers, writers, editors and journalists with contributors like Stefan Lorant, Tom Hopkinson, Humphrey Spender, Bert Hardy, Grace Robertson, Thurston Hopkins, John Chillingworth, James Cameron, David Steen and Brian Dowling; Leading contemporary photographers reflect on Picture Post’s extraordinary images and influence, with words from David Hurn, Daniel Meadows, Homer Sykes, Peter Dench, Nick Turpin, Anna Fox, Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen, Charlie Phillips; and Picture Post, photojournalism and photography experts Amanda Hopkinson, Colin Jacobson, James Hyman, Matt Butson and Michael Berkowitz also lend their specialist opinions.

Winston Churchill Election Special magazine cover

Commenting on the release, film director Rob West stated; "Picture Post is arguably the most important magazine in British social history. It was born under the threat of War, and survived and flourished under the intense bombardment of the Blitz. Extraordinarily, during the height of World War II, Picture Post was looking ahead to post-War life and to the possibility of fundamental social reform.

"Picture Post had a huge impact on national awareness of social conditions in Britain and of the need for a comprehensive welfare state and a national health service. It brought cutting-edge photography, and the picture story, to a mass audience. It changed people’s understanding of their own country by showing, vividly, what British life was really like.

"I wanted to bring the extraordinary story of Picture Post and its photographers to modern audiences. Many of things we take for granted in photography, and our understanding of photographs and picture layout, started with Picture Post. Many of our ideas about British society were forged by Picture Post and its unique group of creators."

Ahead of its UK theatrical release on the 24th September, the documentary will also have special screenings at the Royal Photographic Society in Bristol on 15th September, and the Photography Show (NEC Birmingham) on 18th September. Following the UK theatrical release, Picture Stories will be released on digital download on 30th September. More info can be found at

Images & info - Ship of Life Films/Getty Images Hulton Archive
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