Rare Images - Great Ideas

Chillingworth is one of the breed of media professionals whose work remains an admirable example of the story-telling power of British photographic journalism. He observes, "To watch today's brilliant image-makers re-inventing the wheel always generates a wry smile!"

As a teenager, he made a traditional entry into Fleet Street at the height of the Second World War. His initial ambition had been to make the tea for the darkroom staff of the country’s leading picture magazine, but he rapidly proved his worth and was embraced as one of the close-knit Picture Post ‘family’.

Returning to the magazine after three years as an army conscript, his natural ability as a photographer was recognised by Tom Hopkinson, the magazine’s legendary editor. Influenced by the consummate skills of his mentor, Kurt Hutton, he developed a naturalistic style, which enabled him to work virtually unnoticed on many of his assignments.

During the following six years, working alongside the country’s pioneer photographic journalists, Chillingworth gained invaluable experience as a much travelled staff photographer. Later, when a freelance, he was commissioned by newspapers and magazines, as well as serving major international advertising and industrial clients. Then, as the visual communication partner in an advertising consultancy, he added the written word to his bank of creative skills.

The Getty Images' Hulton Archive holds four hundred picture essays from his days with Picture Post, which used narrative photography to inform, entertain and influence the conscience of its million-plus readers. The National Media Museum also holds his images in its extensive archive.

Today, his credit-line can still be seen in national newspapers, when his images are supplied by the Getty Images Hulton Archive. As the years race by, photography and the written word remain his obsession.


Mending the nets - North Sea trawler crew, 1958
John Chillingworth Archive