British photographic history

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Photography as a Fine Art - Royal Festival Hall Exhibition - November 1961

It is 60 years ago this month since the first ever exhibition in the UK of Photography as a Fine Art was held in the Concert Suite at the Royal Festival Hall in London. Whilst photography had been recognized as a Fine Art by many galleries in USA, including The Eastman House and the Museum of Chicago, the “establishment” at the Royal Photographic Society in London were less progressive with their views at that time.

It was with this background that S.D.Jouhar (who had argued for many years that photography was, indeed, a Fine Art) formed The Photographic Fine Art Association in August 1961, and he was it’s Chairman. Others on the committee included Louis Demolin, Hubert Davey, Dennis Gasser and Bertram Sinkinson.

The Association had, as it’s definition of Fine Art:

"Creating images that evoke emotion by a photographic process in which one's mind and imagination are freely but competently exercised. From a technical point of view, therefore, personally controlled, disciplined interpretation and technical execution, showing fine perception and skill in the making shall be necessary requirements of such work in colour or monochrome.

Works of art were provided for the Exhibition by Geoffrey Ashbourne FRPS, J Bell FRPS (Trichrome-Gum Process), H Cartwright, R H Cherry (Trichrome-Gum Process), Louis Demolin, Eric Freeborn FIBP FRPS, Miss Jeanette Klute, the late George Halford and S.D. Jouhar, (all of whose works for this Exhibition were Ektacolor Prints).

A second exhibition based entirely on S.D.Jouhar’s works was mounted and held at Ealing Technical College later in 1961. No less than 12,000 people visited it during a two-week period. Examples of S.D.Jouhar’s photographs can be seen at http://www.sdjouhar.com

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