Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Not to be sold separately: The Observer Colour Magazine 1964-1995

Not to be sold separately: The Observer Colour Magazine 1964-1995, is a new exhibition at Kings Place that celebrates the influence of the paper's magazine on British newspaper publishing. Launched on September 6 1964, the magazine was to combine the best of the Observer's own editorial staff with freelancers, aiming to compete with the Sunday Times magazine (launched in 1962) and titles such as Life and Paris Match. Photojournalism featured heavily on the pages and an introduction to the exhibition states "At a time when most art galleries did not show photographs, the magazine played pivotal role." Subjects covered in the exhibition include everything from punk rock, the new universities being built in the 1960s to Gypsies, with work by the likes of Don McCullin, Jane Bown and Ian Berry.

As shown in Those Who Dared passim, the magazine also published numerous essays on mountaineering and the outdoors. As well as an interview with Tryggve Gran, the only Norwegian member of Captain Scott's South Pole team, there was the famous 1965 Al Avarez article about the climber, Peter Crew. A few years later Crew wrote a detailed account, with pictures by Leo Dickinson, about the first ascent of North Gaulton Castle, a sea stack found on Orkney's west mainland (September 6 1970).

It is another Dickinson picture that has been chosen for the exhibition - this time a stunning shot from the north face of the Eiger. The words are by Michael Deakin, producer of a Yorkshire TV
programme about the climb (directed and filmed by Dickinson and Cliff Phillips). The article appeared on December 5 1970.

What makes Not to be sold separately a unique exhibition is that this is the first time many of the images have been seen since publication. Unlike the rest of the paper, the Observer Magazine hasn't been digitised, nor is there an index. Read more about the magazine archive here.