Skip

Marvelous photographs of 19th Century London street life
August 13, 2013 10:00 AM   Subscribe

The street photographer I share with you this week was a man born in Great Britain an entire century before Winogrand and Friedlander. His name was John Thomson (1837-1921) and it is known that he traveled the Far East taking photographs during much of the period between 1860-1879. When he returned to London, he began taking documentary photographs of everyday people on the streets of London. Via madamjujujive
posted by nickyskye (18 comments total) 40 users marked this as a favorite

 
Fascinating pictures! Thanks for posting.
posted by immlass at 10:04 AM on August 13, 2013


Yes, great post. Street photography of ordinary people is wonderful. My favorites from the first link: "Street Doctors" - the man with the built-up shoe to accommodate a short leg - and "The Street Fruit Trade" - the exhausted donkey.
posted by scratch at 10:27 AM on August 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


These are very interesting. A few extra ones, and explanations by Thompson of the ones at the OP link, can be found here.
posted by Eyebeams at 10:48 AM on August 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


scratch: Yes, great post. Street photography of ordinary people is wonderful. My favorites from the first link: "Street Doctors" - the man with the built-up shoe to accommodate a short leg - and "The Street Fruit Trade" - the exhausted donkey.
I agree. However, anytime contemporary street photography is brought up here, someone feels a need to claim the photographers are being invasive and exploitive.

However, think how much poorer we would be without such art!
posted by IAmBroom at 10:54 AM on August 13, 2013


Every single person in these looks tired.
posted by Z. Aurelius Fraught at 11:15 AM on August 13, 2013 [5 favorites]


Great photos, and great site. Thank you.
posted by mudpuppie at 11:24 AM on August 13, 2013


These are very interesting. A few extra ones, and explanations by Thompson of the ones at the OP link, can be found here.

Oooh, Eyebeams, that's such a great addition to this thread, thank you very much. I love the way photographs are mapped, so one can see which part of London the image was taken. Way cool that.
posted by nickyskye at 11:26 AM on August 13, 2013


Dealer in Fancy Wares and A Convict's Home stand out to me as compositions very much in line with contemporary street photography. Wonderfully balanced frames with the photographer made visible through ambiguous eye contact on the edges. Thanks for the post.
posted by Lorin at 12:36 PM on August 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Awesome!
posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 12:47 PM on August 13, 2013


photos from the same time in today's Evening Standard: How the Tube was built, using picks, ponies, shovels - and a lot of elbow grease
posted by criticalbill at 1:33 PM on August 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ah, I saw that Design Observer column and immediately considered making a FPP, but it needed more links and I am lazy. So thanks for this post.
posted by charlie don't surf at 4:52 PM on August 13, 2013


That donkey..which I think is actually a pony..looks more close to death than exhausted. But most of the subjects seem amused or unworried about the photographer, these don't seem exploitative. I like the smirk on the chimney sweep boy's face.
posted by emjaybee at 9:12 PM on August 13, 2013


Great post. Thank you both, nickyskye and madamjujujive.
posted by homunculus at 12:51 AM on August 14, 2013


But most of the subjects seem amused or unworried about the photographer, these don't seem exploitative. I like the smirk on the chimney sweep boy's face.

I would imagine street photography wasn't ubiquitous in those days. They're probably thinking, "That dude looks like a jackass."
posted by Elementary Penguin at 2:12 AM on August 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Welcome to London in 1890, where everyone dresses like a hipster, there's an urchin on every street corner and nobody throws their old chewing gum on the pavement.
posted by MuffinMan at 3:03 AM on August 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Excellent ! Thanks.
posted by nicolin at 7:08 AM on August 14, 2013


Yes! Fascinating photographs. Thanks for this!
posted by carter at 8:09 AM on August 14, 2013


Thank you, I'm so in love with photography of everyday life. The older the better.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:52 PM on August 14, 2013


« Older Schildkr√∂te Lotti bleibt verschwunden!   |   That's for Mama Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post