British photographic history

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Michael Hallett / Stefan Lorant Archive

Birmingham Library and Archive Services and pleased to announce the acquisition of the The Michael Hallett / Stefan Lorant Archive. This body of material relates to the specific area of picture journalism (modern photojournalism) collected by Michael Hallett between 1990 and 2007. It represents the most significant collection of ephemera and publications relating to Stefan Lorant outside of the United States.

Within this archive there are two sub-areas: the first relating to Stefan Lorant, acknowledged as the godfather of photojournalism and the second relating to photojournalists active between the late-1920s and now. Both provided the raw material for numerous published articles, the former becoming the research for Hallett’s Stefan Lorant: Godfather of Photojournalism (Scarecrow Press, 2006) the latter for Being There (Scarecrow Press, in preparation).

The Lorant Archive includes material relating to, as well as copies of books that Stefan Lorant wrote and the magazines that he edited. It includes some rare items such as the only known complete dummy of the magazine Lilliput; bound copies of the first 2 volumes of Weekly Illustrated 1934-1935 (Lorant edited the first 22 issues in vol 1., and 3 volumes of photocopies of predominantly original documents produced by Stefan Lorant ca.1996 (Volume 1: Chronology, Awards, Films, Articles, Books, Reviews.; Volume 2: Articles on Stefan Lorant; Volume 3: Articles written by Stefan Lorant).

The Michael Hallett Archive material relating to photojournalists active between the late-1920s and now includes Interviews with influential documentary photographers who were part of an alternative agenda that was occurring independently and was enriched by Lorant’s patronage. This included those who were working in the medium from the late-1920s to others who continue to practise today. Some of these are survivors from Lorant’s editorial era who not only provide a source of history in their own right, they validate, or otherwise, Lorant’s recollections. This group includes Lucien Aigner, Cornell Capa, Alfred Eisenstaedt, Tim Gidal, Carl Mydans, Hanns Hubmann and Gordon Parks, all whom are now dead. The other photographers interviewed - a generation apart from Lorant - include Eddie Adams, Eve Arnold, John Chillingworth, Elliott Erwitt, David Hockney, David Hurn, Mary Ellen Mark, Steve Pyke, George Rodger, Willy Ronis, Sebastião Salgado, Humphrey Spender and Tom Stoddart. A third category encompasses those unknowingly influenced by Lorant but where nevertheless a connection can be shown and these include Martin Parr and Roger Mayne. Along with these interviews there are extensive notes as well as the radio quality recordings on which the articles were based.

The acquisition was supported with a grants from the V&A Purchase Grant Fund and The Friends of the National Libraries.

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Comment by Terence Pepper on March 15, 2011 at 19:51

Talking of Weekly Illustrated does anyone know of a marked up copies of the early issues

which identify the names of the photographers or agencies that were published.

A few of the Felix Mann images are easily recognisable but how about the rest

and can any be attributed to the Dorien Leigh agency or E.O.Hoppe.

I have started  a collection of early Weekly Illustrated having been frustrated by the BL

not allowing copies to be made of any pages in various volumes

Comment by Michael Pritchard on March 12, 2011 at 21:53

Excellent news and a further feather in Pete's and Birmingham Central Library's cap...

If anyone is interested the total cost was £7000 of which the FNL gave £2000 (see: The grant award was made in 2008.

Comment by Graham Harrison on March 10, 2011 at 14:30

Hi Pete, everyone,


Getty Images own the rights to all the Picture Post photographs. Who owns the rights to the Weekly Illustrated images now ?


My thanks,



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