Thurston Hopkins is one of the greatest British photojournalists of the 20th century. Born in London in 1913 he attended St Joseph's Salesian School in Burwash followed by Montpelier College in Brighton and the Brighton College of Art, where he studied graphic illustration and was instructed by Morgan Rendle to 'watch those shadows: they give black-and-white illustration weight and balance where it is most needed'. Hopkins later said that he deliberately applied this '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'. The abdication of Edward VIII in 1936 put an end to Hopkins' early career as a graphic artist. It was a time when newspapers were moving from illustrations to photographs and Thurston discovered that 'the camera paid better than the brush'. Hopkins then embarked on a lifelong career as a photojournalist, which involved him joining the PhotoPress Agency in 1936 and subsequently working for the RAF photographic unit during the Second World War, serving in Italy and the Middle East until 1945. After the war he began freelancing for the weekly news publication, Picture Post, becoming a full time member of staff in 1950. In 1955 he met and married Grace Robertson, a fellow Picture Post photographer 17 years his junior.
After the collapse of Picture Post, Hopkins ran an advertising studion in Chiswick, West London. He retired from photography in the 1960s and died on 26th October 2014.