Born in 1913, Thurston Hopkins' career made him one of the great British photojournalists. Working for "Picture Post" in the fifties and becoming one of London's more successful advertising photographers before moving into teaching.
"For a number of years now I’ve been alternating some long overdue research into the work I did for the magazine Picture Post with catching up on my painting. When the magazine died in 1957 it left behind only the sketchiest of records, so that when collectors of photography ask me for details of something I did fifty or sixty years ago, answering them can be a very time-consuming business. I also have a close link with Getty Images in London which, from time to time, bikes boxes of prints for me to sign on the spot, here in Seaford. Another painting day gone!
"The one thing that never failed to raise my spirits when I was at boarding school in Sussex was the arrival of the boys’ magazines my parents sent me each week. Although I was an avid reader of the adventure stories, I enjoyed even more studying and copying, in pen and ink, the black and white illustrations that went with them. Later my father drew my attention to the dramatic use of black in the work of Aubrey Beardsley, which further excited my imagination and made me think that sitting at a drawing board, producing my own visual recreations of incidents in stories by writers like Kipling and Somerset Maugham, would be a highly enjoyable way of earning a living. So when my father saw this was a serious ambition he said he would pay the fees if I could get a place in Brighton School of Art.
"When I went for an interview I had with me a portfolio of my work, and it was on the strength of this I was accepted, largely thanks to Morgan Rendle. Rendle, himself an illustrator and Punch contributor, watched over me during my time in the school and among much else he gave me valuable advice on how to approach difficult magazine editors. One thing he insisted on was my regular attendance at the life class. I remember him saying with a smile ‘and don’t just sketch, DRAW’. How right he was. And I’ve never forgotten him saying to me: ‘watch those shadows; they give black and white illustration weight and balance where it is most needed’. This became something of a leitmotif in my visual thinking, not only when I was making pen and ink drawings for provincial newspapers, but also when I began using a camera."
Thurston Hopkins, 2009