4to, pp. 100; title page and final page quite browned but otherwise a clean copy in original decorated cloth, a little rubbed, spine a bit worn at head and tail. Street Incidents was a re-issue of unsold sheets of Street Life in London, Thomson’s 1877 pioneering documentary work described as ‘one of the most significant and far-reaching photo books in the medium’s history’ (Parr & Badger). Street Life was issued in twelve parts between 1877 and 1878 and contained 37 Woodbury types. ‘Few photographs of the London streets had been taken before Thomson’s journey around them, and even fewer were published with the intent of informing public opinion... To combine photographs of the London streets, and to place the poor, the working classes, criminals, and the homeless at the center of the images, was a new departure in the photographic documentation of the social topography of London, and Thomson’s innovative use of photomechanical technology heightened the effects of this portrayal. Perhaps the most striking feature of Street life in London is that the images have been reproduced photomechanically by the Woodbury type process from the photographer’s original dry-plate negatives. The resultant prints give a strikingly sharp, almost three-dimensional representation ...’ (Ovenden, p. 83). ‘The reason Street life has ultimately succeeded as the first social documentary photography is, therefore, because its primary aim was to inform... Rather, they aimed to transfer the experiences of the poor into the homes of the comfortable middle class, and to make them aware of a different, harsher reality’ (Ovenden, John Thomson p. 88).
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John Thomson | Street Incidents | 1881 | Zucker Art Books
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