In 1965, David Hurn became an associate of the international photography collective Magnum Photos. A year later, he documented the aftermath of the Aberfan disaster in south Wales when a colliery spoil tip collapsed onto a school, killing 116 children and 28 adults.
When speaking about the event in a recent interview with Wales Art Review, Hurn said, “Aberfan was an extraordinary moment for me; it just affected my whole life.” His images from the disaster brought him international recognition and praise from his biggest inspiration, Magnum co-founder and photographer Henri Cartier Bresson.
This was one of many of the achievements that Hurn accomplished in the 1960s, all of which are captured in a new book from Reel Art Press.
This book, The 1960s Photographed by David Hurn, features photoessays from the streets of New York, as well as images of anti-Vietnam protests, swinging London and Winston Churchill’s funeral.
Alongside Hurn's photographic reportage, the book also includes portraits of stars like Sofia Loren on the set of El Cid, Sean Connery as James Bond in From Russia With Love, and the Beatles during the height of Beatlemania.
In his introduction to the book, author Peter Dogget writes, “At first glance, David Hurn might appear to personify the most glamorous illusions of this dazzling, overbearing decade ... He was a photographer in an era when a camera was as sexy as a guitar. He frequented film sets peopled by undimmed icons of the 1960s: the Beatles, James Bond, Jane Fonda, Michael Caine. His London flat was a magnet for fashion models, pop stars, actors and, inevitably, other photographers. Ken Russell profiled him on television; Rod Steiger pretended to be Hurn’s butler when naïve starlets arrived at his front door.
“Yet, as this anthology of his pictures from the 1960s reveals, behind the Blow-Up caricature of the all-powerful London photographer lay a man who was, and still is, devoted to the artistry and craftsmanship of his chosen trade,” continues Doggett. “Unlike most of his peers, Hurn delved beyond the fatal attractions of Swinging London and its global counterparts, to pursue his greatest subject: ordinary people pursuing ordinary passions.”