Thurston Godfrey Hopkins trained as a magazine illustrator at Brighton College of Art, but discovering that the camera ‘paid better than the brush’ he began working as a Fleet Street press photographer from 1930.
However the cliché ridden imagery and ruthless tactics required by successful press photographers of the period didn’t satisfy his creative mind and, disillusioned, he returned to his home town to set up his own successful photographic business.
When war broke out Thurston joined the RAF Photographic Unit and in Italy he acquired a Leica ‘the first camera I can recall handling without a certain feeling of distaste’. After the War he freelanced for newspapers and magazines all over Europe, exploring the new visual world offered by the small format camera. Inspired during the war years by the ‘new breed’ of photographers such as Kurt Hutton, Felix Mann and Leonard McCombe, Thurston finally attained his ambition in 1949 – working exclusively for Picture Post, first in a freelance capacity before becoming a ‘staffer’ in 1951 until the magazine’s demise in 1957,
Travelling on assignments in Africa, India, Australia and the Pacific he received two British Press Pictures of the Year awards for his reportage work during this period. Thurston’s photographs are marked by his sensitive and creative approach, creating first class records of the human condition.
After following a successful career in advertising in the 1960s he taught and lectured in photography in a number of academic institutions before returning to his first love, painting. He lives on England’s south coast with his wife, Grace Robertson – another ex-Picture Post photographer.