Land of Make Believe

The Fun of the Fair - Two at the fair

Kurt Hutton

The Fun of the Fair - Two at the fair

Vintage Gelatin Silver Print

25.1 x 19.8 cms (9.86 x 7.78 ins)

1938

HC 9235

Provenance

Picture Post

Literature

Kurt Hutton, Speaking Likeness, Focal Press, London. 1947, p.72 (discussed at length), p.74 (illustrated full page, entitled "Two at the fair").


Ferrotype print on double-weight paper, with margins.

Gelatin silver print. Annotated in pencil on verso "First issue of Pict. Post 1938, Southend funfair", with technical details in pencil and ink. Stamped with photographer's stamp and "Please credit PICTURE POST, photograph by K. Hutton".

A fine vintage print in excellent condition of Hutton's most famous photograph.

Taken on 8th Oct 1938, this photograph was reproduced in one of the first issues of Picture Post and bares, on the reverse, a Picture Post stamp.

Original caption: Two young women enjoying themselves on a rollercoaster at Southend Fair, England. Original Publication: Picture Post - 409 -October Month of Fairs - pub. 1938

In his autobiography, Kurt Hutton writes in detail about this photograph:

"Fair pictures can be very disappointing. Probably because so much of the atmosphere of a fair is a deliberately calculated effect, meant to get to work on human senses and not on the hard, unwinking stare of a lens. The glitter is bogus and all that is real about a fair are a number of hard-working people who are shrewd and very skilful about their jobs. There is no reason why one should not try to photograph that glitter, but it hardly ever comes off and the fun of the fair escapes - unless it is caught as it is reflected in people's faces.

... The photograph nearly drove me mad. The editor asked for some pictures of Southend fun fair, so I roamed all over the place and took an endless number of photos. Then the editor said: 'They're no good. I don't want to a series. I need one striking picture.' Southend seemed a long way to go again...so I went to Hampstead Heath. To make sure I took a pretty model with me. This time the editor said the photos were all right, but the girl was modelish - not really full of life, joy and laughter. 'Well,' said the editor, 'get something on the caterpillar. You know the sort of thing. It's quite easy.' I felt like asking 'Is it?'...so the next day I set off for Southend with a young actress. The photographs were very nice. 'This is it,' said the editor. 'Only I'd much rather have two girls. And this girl is fine but she looks more like an Oxford undergraduate than the Southend type.' By now I was beginning to feel slightly irritable...Next morning I met the two girls I had chosen and found one presented no problems, but the other was far from faultless to photograph. As we neared Southend the storm broke...so we just waited. Eventually it did clear up and with a wind blowing at a somewhat rude angle and with the right side of my difficult model's face to the camera, I got my picture. An easy picture such as you might pick up with a bit of luck any fine day."

This photograph was so popular that Hutton took a second, similiar, series of photographs of the same subject in 1945, also for publication by Picture Post.

Also called "Care free"

British Photography / The Hyman Collection

Kurt Hutton

The Fun of the Fair - Two at the fair

Vintage Gelatin Silver Print

25.1 x 19.8 cms (9.86 x 7.78 ins)

1938

HC 9235

All images © the artist or copyright holder | Website © The Hyman Collection 2019