Enquire Three coats illustrating the new A-line, S-line and H-line fashion silhouette. A flared mink coat by Jean Desses, a grey flannel suit with battle-dress jacket by Jacques Fath, accessorised with a beret and cravat of Persian lambswool, and a tobacco coloured velour coat by Christian Dior. Original Publication: Picture Post - 7264 - Fashion's New alphabet - pub. 1954 (Photo by John Chillingworth/Getty Images
The son of a newspaper man, John Chillingworth was born in London in 1928. With his father a senior union official in Fleet Street, John was familiar with the world of publishing and after his war-time training in the darkroom, by chance the first vacancy that became available, he had the occasional opportunity to assist the staff photographers as they created their picture stories. Then, after serving as an army photographer at the end of World War Two, he joined the photographic staff of Picture Post magazine in 1949, but it was in his earlier years that John had developed a close personal and professional relationship with Kurt Hutton. In fact, it was Hutton’s continuing role as a mentor that John acknowledges as a key primer in his professional career. The generally accepted method at learning one’s trade during this era was to simply watch and listen and given the fact that Chillingworth was also processing and printing Hutton’s images the two built up a close rapport. The way in which Hutton dealt with people was also a skill that his ‘apprentice’ fully took on board.
Between 1949 and 1956, Chillingworth shot over 400 photo-essays for Picture Post and his style and composition is arguably reminiscent of legendary lensman Hutton. In addition, the written word by notable staff journalists such as MacDonald Hastings and James Cameron were also an important part of Chillingworth’s education and would serve him well in the years to come. Following his departure from the seminal news weekly in 1956 it was primarily journalism that provided the career path for Chillingworth though he would still contribute photography on a freelance basis for both the national media and to the world of advertising until the mid 1970s. Since that time John has focused almost exclusively on his written work and to this day continues to run his own communication consultancy business from his home in Devizes.
Like many other British photographers Chillingworth’s considerable output for Picture Post magazine is scandalously overlooked. Using his preferred tools of the trade – usually a Contax II or a Rolliflex – Chillingworth also developed a technique also used by Hutton. Once having composed the image he would release the shutter, at which point the subject would instantly relax only for Chillingworth to quickly hit the button again, producing the desired effect – his subject totally at ease with the camera.