Picture Post

Date Established:
1938
Date Trading Ceased:
1 Jun 1957
Picture Post

The Picture Post was a picture-led publication that presented the best of modern European photojournalism. The publisher Edward Hulton founded the magazine in London in 1938, employing Stefan Lorant as editor.

Lorant was a former cameraman and film director from Hungary. Before the war, he had created a pictorial magazine entitled Muenchner Illustrierte Presse. This used new printing processes to introduce new, candid styles of photography into journalism.

In 1933, Lorant escaped from Nazi Germany. He settled in London where he founded the pocket journal, Liliput, based on his previous ventures. In 1938, Hulton bought Liliput and commissioned Lorant to produce a new magazine, Hulton's National Weekly - Picture Press.

The magazine was an immediate success. After just four months, it was selling 1,350,000 copies a week. Using plain language and articles about current affairs, it appealed across the board: in Lorant's words, to 'the common man, the worker and the intelligentsia'.

Picture Post had an openly left-wing stance. In the run-up to the Second World War, the magazine regularly published photomontages by the left-wing German artist John Heartfield (who had anglicised his name from Helmut Herzfeld). Heartfield's artwork, The Happy Elephants, was a searing visual response to Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's promise of 'Peace in our time'.

The magazine provided a showcase for emerging photographers. Lorant championed work by Kurt Hutton (Kurt Huebschmann) and Felix H Man (Hans Bauman), with whom he had worked in Germany. As the magazine grew in popularity, he used other European photographers, including Henri Brassai, Erich Salamon and Martin Munckasi.

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