Cats of London
Vintage Gelatin Silver Print
Picture Post, 24 February 1951
Stamped on the reverse Camera Press and with a lengthy typewritten label of narrative text:
One of Thurston Hopkins' first photo stories in Picture Post and one of the most celebrated of his career, was his 'Cats of London' (published 24 Feb 1951).
This feature was inspired by the numerous cats on the streets of London. The blitz had made many cats homeless, and these stray cats lived wild on the bombsites, surviving by scavenging. Cat flaps were unknown, so even cats with homes spent musch of their time outdoors and would be put outside at night time.
The present work is atypical of this series in relying on atmosphere and presenting a nocturnal scene in which the main focus is on the courting couple, rather than the cat, and perhaps unsurprisingly was not chosen for inclusion in the Picture Post article. Nevertheless, in its staged feel and atmospheric atmosphere it is one of the most powerful photographs from this series and recalls Bill Brandt's early scenes of night life in the streets of London.
British Photography / The Hyman Collection