• 26_10_2011---09_25_18---tnllibrarystimes---01aug1965

    Sunday Times Magazine Cover 1965

  • 26_10_2011---09_27_32---tnllibrarystimes---07oct1973

    Sunday Times Magazine Cover 1973

  • 1986

    Derek Ridgers: Keith Richards (1986)

  • 1993med

    Uli Webber: Boy George (1993)

  • 1998a

    Jonathan Olley: Towers of Silence (1998)

  • Kylie_minogue_001

    Uli Webber: Kylie Minogie (1995)

  • North-uk-col-132-stanley-co-durham-c

    John Bulmer: Durham Miners (1965)

  • Generation-x-19dec2010

    Sunday Times Magazine Cover 2010

  • .png

    Ian Yeomans: First Heart Transplant in the UK (1980)

Photography

What's On: 50 Years of The Sunday Times Magazine

Posted by Rob Alderson,

You know when you open a Sunday newspaper and a baffling array of glossy things come tumbling out – not just magazines and cultural guides, but ad pamphlets for garden furniture and plates with bad paintings of the Royal Family on? Well there was once a time when the idea of getting a colour supplement with your newspaper was absurd, until The Sunday Times Magazine rocked into town. It was 50 years ago this weekend that the face of British journalism changed forever – and the pioneer is celebrated at an astonishingly good show at the Saatchi Gallery.

The inaugural issue featured the unlikely cover star pairing of Sixties supermodel Jean Shrimpton and Burnley footballer Jimmy McIlroy, and initial reaction was mixed – the show includes an excerpt from an early market research document where the reaction of one Roehampton reader to is recorded simply as “Fury.”

But it survived and looking back over five decades, the magazine stands as a really significant social history document, particularly because it has long been at the forefront of top-quality photo-journalism.The pictures presented here range from the shocking and serious to the celebrity and stylish, attesting to the diversity of the magazine’s appeal. It’s also a who’s who of some of the best photographers working during the last half a century.

So we have Terry O’Neill’s famous shot of actress Faye Dunaway the morning after her 1977 Oscar triumph, with the iconic statuette perched idly on her breakfast table, and a marvellously silly shot of all six original Monty Python members mugging for the camera, just yards away from the harrowing image of a man thrusting his dying daughter at the viewer after the devastating West Bengal floods of 1971.

There’s politics, ranging from a 1964 study of the 25 women MPS at that time (a world away from the Blair Babes or the Cameron Cuties) to a fortified RUC command post in Northern Ireland amid a row of unremarkable shops, and there’s personalities, with a melodramatic pre-leadership Tony Blair right next to an uber-camp Boy George dressed as a devil.

There’s almost unbearable shots of the My Lai Massacre in Vietnam and a mourning burqa clad woman in Afghanistan (from 1996) as well as super-silly shot of an “alien” and a would-be cowboy enjoying a bingo game at a UFO convention.

The point is these images don’t belittle each other by their proximity – rather they reflect all human life, its highs, its lows, its heroes and its villians. The shots are uniformly powerful, beautifully composed, and narrative to a lesser or greater extent – it’s hard to tear yourself away from some, like Abbas’ 1978 shot of a white policeman with his black recruits in apartheid-riven South Africa.

And even though iPads are used in the exhibition, there’s no real sense of this being a valedictory show, a sense of marking a time that has forever passed when newspaper editors set the tone. In fact one of the most powerful photographs in the whole show is from last summer – a smirking, smoking big game hunter posing by the crumpled corpse of a giraffe.

The show runs until February 19 (closed 11-14) and there will be a special commemorative edition of the magazine in this week’s Sunday Times.

Ra

Posted by Rob Alderson

Editor-in-Chief Rob oversees editorial across all three It’s Nice That platforms; online, print and events. He has a background in newspaper journalism and a particular interest in art, advertising and photography. He is the main host of the Studio Audience podcast.

Most Recent: Photography View Archive

  1. Mikhael-subotzky-_-patrick-waterhouse-l-untitled-3_-ponte-city_-johannesburg_-2008itsnicethat-list

    Mikhael Subotzky and Patrick Waterhouse, from South Africa and the UK respectively, were last night awarded the 2015 Deutsche Börse Photography Prize for their publication Ponte City.

  2. Chadwicktyler-itsnicethat-list

    There’s an awful lot to like about American photographer Chadwick Tyler – his name, his wonderful work, and the first answer he gives during this 2009 interview with Dazed.

  3. Crash-jacquemus-itsnicethat-list

    When Simon Porte Jacquemus won the esteemed LVMH Special prize last week, not only was his presence cemented in the hearts, minds and fashion editorials of stripe-loving fashion aficionados (fashionados?) worldwide. The occasion also marked the beginning of an exciting new era for the young French designer where financial aid will be slightly less difficult to come by, allowing him to make more, bigger, better collections. Hurrah! With any luck, Simon will soon be applying his silhouette-transforming pieces to more bodies and making more funny giant-pants-to-be-worn-as-dresses in the process.

  4. Namsa-leuba--acrobats-itsnicethat-list

    Half-Guinean, half-Swiss photographer Namsa Leuba is a champion of African visual culture. She channels the contrasts of her African-European roots by looking at tribal identity through a western lens, and for her series Ya Kala Ben – meaning “crossed look” – Namsa draws on the overlapping cultures of her upbringing and explores the rituals and customs of her mother’s native Guinea. Her striking images have been exhibited alongside Martin Parr and Viviane Sassen, and these portraits of local Guinean acrobats who perform at different ceremonies in Conakry are part of the new group show at Tiwani Contemporary, the London gallery that was one our favourites at the debut edition of Photo London last week.

  5. Hannah_whitaker_blue_shirt_it's_nice_that_list

    At first glance you might mistake the puzzle-like, optical quality of Hannah Whitaker’s photographs for the work of Photoshop, but her experimental images are surprisingly physical. A far cry from a nostalgic experiment with film, Hannah plays with ideas about the technical and the handmade as much as she confuses the conventions of photography and abstract art. Throughout her work, grids and mosaics of dots and triangles appear across wintery landscapes and still-lifes.

  6. Francesca-jane-allen-champion-sportswear-1-list

    We’ve long championed young photographer Francesca Jane Allen. As one of our 2014 Graduates, her work caught our eye for its “lucid, candid photography depicting youth, friendship and true love,” as Liv Siddall put it. Since graduating, Francesca has worked for brands including Topshop and Kickers, and secured commissions for mags like i-D. Sounds like a success story to us, but the reality of life as a freshly-graduated freelancer is one of fear, very hard work and never feeling satisfied.

  7. Bruce-gilden-a-complete-examination-of-middlesex-its-nice-that-list

    Photographer Bruce Gilden has a way with women. Not in that way, of course, but take a look at his photographs of the powerful women of Wall Street for Vice and you’ll see what we mean. The way he shoots is unflinching, apparently unstyled and often unflattering; but the images produced are so arresting in their intensity that the mascara’d gazes of his subjects are extraordinarily powerful. Bruce’s new exhibition at London’s Cob Gallery is just as dynamic as we’ve come to expect, showing a project named A Complete Examination of Middlesex. According to the gallery, the series is “a portrait of Gilden’s experience of London,” compiled with the Archive of Modern Conflict to create the sense of a modern day flaneur observing the ever-changing, often weary faces of the city and its inhabitants.

  8. Martin_usborne_spanish_hunting_dogs_it's_nice_that_list

    The Spanish greyhound has a history running back through to the Middle Ages, standing at a nobleman’s side, in oil paintings or perhaps most famously in the opening sentence of the Spanish literary classic Don Quixote by Cervantes. London-based photographer Martin Usborne’s latest project Where Hunting Dogs Rest centres on what he calls their fall from grace; a darker side to the modern story of these blue-blooded dogs.

  9. List_michael_james_obrien_girlfriend_itsnicethat

    For the past 30 years, Michael James O’Brien has photographed drag queens from around the world. His latest exhibition Girlfriend, on show at Liverpool’s international photography festival now, displays wonderfully glamorous images that encapsulate the freedom, majesty and spirit of drag culture.

  10. List-its-nice-thativar-wigan_princess_2012

    Images of gangs and strippers are nothing new, and their creation is fraught with the risk of appearing insensitive and patronising at best, exploitative at worst. So for them to pique our interest, they have to be very special. The works of Scotland-born photographer Ivar Wigan are exactly that. Ivar’s recent work has seen him documenting the street culture of Miami, Atlanta and New Orleans, and their often seedy, rarely glamorous underpinnings. And while the images undoubtedly have a voyeuristic slant, central to them is a sense of admiration and empathy, rather than pity or profiteering.

  11. Ruth_van_beek_rehearsal_it's_nice_that_list

    London is the most Instagrammed city in the world, but this week photography has hit the capital like never before. Over the next four days some 70 galleries have taken up residence under Somerset House’s neoclassical roof, bringing together a mix of vintage and contemporary prints for the largest photography fair ever held in London.

  12. Emily_stein_ponyclub_2its-nice-that-list

    Emily Stein is one of those photographers who manages to distill joy and affection into a single image, taking a snapshot of time and energy that bursts out of the frame. In her newest series, Pony Club, the feverish intensity of these kids’ love of rosettes, silks and above all, sweet hairy little ponies is palpable, with just the same amount of effervescence and fun as her previous projects looking at teenagers in a moshpit or kids blowing bubblegum.

  13. Adrian_samson_heatwave_its_nice_that_list

    People-watching is a pastime of mine – the hellos and the goodbyes after two people have just met are my favourite moments, with clunky air-kisses and unnecessary waving being tell-tale signs of an awkward first meeting. If you’ve never got into staring at people going about their day-to-day business (why not?), Adrian Samson’s series Heatwave is a great place to start.