Bert Hardy: Photojournalism in War and Peace

23 February 2024 to 2 June 2024 The Photographers’ Gallery

Southend Holiday, 1953. Images provided by Getty Images. Archive, home of the Picture Post collection, in support of Bert Hardy: Photojournalism in War and Peace.

‘Everywhere I look, and most of the time I look, I see photographs.’ - Bert Hardy

Bert Hardy: Photojournalism in War and Peace opens at The Photographers’ Gallery this spring, from 23 February - 2 June 2024. From his early career as a news and sports photographer, to serving combat cameraman and successful advertising entrepreneur, this retrospective of renowned photojournalist Bert Hardy (1913-1995, London, UK) shines a fresh light on his four-decades long career. 

Hardy is often associated with a nostalgic, monochrome vision of mid-century Britain – from the Blitz spirit of 1940 to children playing in post-war city streets, and seaside scenes from the 1950s. Pulling together work from his archive and historical publications, this retrospective reveals another perspective on a versatile, international and entrepreneurial image-maker.

Born into a working-class family in Blackfriars, Hardy was entirely self-taught and worked his way up from lab assistant to become an influential press and documentary photographer.
Known for his empathetic portrayal of everyday scenes of British life, Hardy’s work demonstrates a strong commitment to revealing social conditions and working class lives in the post-war years. Hardy had a genuine interest in people’s lives and said ‘The ideal picture tells something of the essence of life. It sums up emotion, it holds the feeling of movement thereby implying the continuity of life.’

As well as historic material from his work at Britain’s leading photo-magazine of the time, Picture Post, the exhibition includes photographs taken during his time in the Army Film and Photographic Unit, including imagery from the London Blitz to the liberation of Bergen-Belsen and war in Southeast Asia.
Bert Hardy: Photojournalism in War and Peace includes Hardy’s wide-ranging social documentary work across many cities in mid-century Britain, including London, Liverpool, Cardiff, Belfast, Tyneside and Glasgow. His travels across post-war Europe and images from the many conflicts he reported on will also be on show. A rich selection of material from Hardy’s archive, including press passes, correspondence, diaries, and original publications will be displayed, alongside some of his lesser-known colour work.

Further Information: Bert Hardy: Photojournalism in War and Peace