England & Europe Portfolio

Coronation crowd, Trafalgar Square, London – 1953

Leaving Sydney in 1952 for England Moore felt he was bound for a ‘magical land’. Arriving in London he was shocked by the leaden sky, the grime of centuries on the buildings, the food rationing and the bitter cold. Believing that he could make a few pounds as a freelance photographer he went out into the streets to find stories to shoot and sell to the British picture magazines such as Picture Post and Illustrated. He wandered the banks of the Thames, the streets of the East and West End. Over time he submitted several stories to Picture Post only to receive rejection slips.

In the early 1950s George Johnston headed the bureau for the Australian Sun newspaper and eventually he assigned Moore to cover various small stories for Pix and People magazines. Not satisfied, he yearned to be a successful photojournalist. It was Johnston who fired him up by saying ‘This town’s not too big. You can lick it if you put your mind to it’.

Moore had always admired and respected the photography in Life magazine and was spurred on to approach Gene Farmer, the bureau chief of Life in London. He described Farmer as ‘a magnetic man of portly build who walked with splayed feet like a duck in a farmyard’. Other than that he was ‘brusque, considerate and genuine.’

Farmer sent him away to demonstrate that he could shoot informal portraits, and – without ever having done this kind of work before – a week later he presented some shots to the response “They’re fine – we can use you.”

Finally he got his big break by suggesting he shoot the Coronation – but with a twist – he wanted to capture the everyday people at the event rather than the event itself. Farmer gave him a full day’s assignment and all the film he needed.

Moore then met Arnold Newman – a man he admired greatly – and heard that he needed an assistant on an assignment to cover the Houses of Parliament and the British Museum. He approached Newman who agreed to employ Moore for the next two or three months. During this time Moore learnt a great deal. ‘It was a time of instruction by example which could not have been bettered.’

Moore also loved shooting for The Observer where, aware that the pictures they used were sensitive and often lyrical, he was encouraged to use his imagination. ‘Being associated with The Observer was a rare privilege. The paper was free-thinking, adventurous and liberal, with a reputation for responsible, independent journalism perhaps unrivalled anywhere in the world. Because of this doors were opened in the highest places when The Observer wished to take pictures.’

For enquiries about these photographs please email Lisa Moore, or Josef Lebovic (Josef Lebovic Gallery).

Dublin Horse Show spectators – 1956Hyde Park corner speaker, London – c.1955Len Howard, naturalist, UK – 1957 Judges at the Dublin Horse Show – 1956 Bulganin and Kruschev leaving Chequers, UK – 1956Henry Moore, Sculptor, Much Hadham, UK – c.1955Thames Tug Skipper, London – c.1952Thames Tug Skipper, London – c.1952Christmas Day swim, The Serpentine, London – c.1955Cycling, Herne Hill, UK – c.1953Coronation crowd, Trafalgar Square, London – 1953Horse Race, Epson, UK – c.1953 St Pauls Cathedral from Bankside, London – c.1952Fairground horses, UK – c.1953Pimlico Street, winter, London – c.1952Battersea Fun Fair, London – c.1952 Before the Coronation, London –1953 Waiting for the Coronation – 1953George Johnston, Fleet Street, London – c.1952Coronation Day, London 2 – 1953Sir Anthony Eden, London – 1956Detail from Battersea Park – c.1956Pollution, London – c.1954Sculpture Garden, London – c.1956Parachutists in training, Aldershot, UK – c.1953Street decorations, London – c.1956Tug boat and ocean liner, London – c.1956Fire at a London rubber dump – c.1956New Year's Eve Piccadilly Circus – c.1954St Paul's Cathedral, London – c.1953Coronation Day, Trafalgar Square, London – 1953Green Park – c.1956London buses – c.1956Tall ship sailor, Torbay, UK – c.1954Paper seller, London – c.1956St Paul's Cathedral and reflections – c.1956Four chairs and snow – c.1956London crowd – c.1954Tower Bridge, London – 1952Christmas, Piccadilly Circus, London – c.1953Elephants at the circus – c.1956London underground – c.1953London cityscape – c.1953The Chelsea Flower Show, London – 1955Art Gallery London – c.1956Boy with his 'Guy', Guy Fawkes Day – c.1956B. Groves, Cowes, UK – 1954John Braine, writer, Ilkley Moor, UK – 1958Woman in Piccadilly Circus, London – c.1953Man in Piccadilly Circus, London – c.1955Traffic dodger, London – c.1953Man in telephone booth, Lucerne, Switzerland – 1952Nuns at Lourdes Centenary, France – 1958Candlelit procession at the Centenary at Lourdes, France – 1958Offering candles, at Lourdes, France – 1958