Monday, 29 October 2018

Raymond Sheppard and Picture Post (Part One)

14 February 1953

Stefan Lorant (February 22, 1901) was born in Budapest and died (November 14, 1997) in Rochester, Minnesota. His name doesn't roll off the tongue but his influence on pictorial journalism cannot be overstated. He moved from Hungary to Germany working in journalism, was chief editor of M√ľnchner Illustrierte Presse and was known as a great stills photographer. Unfortunately his anti-Hitler stance led to his 'protective' imprisonment 6 weeks after Hitler came to power in 1933 and he returned to Hungary on release after months in prison. He then decided to move to England in 1934 where he created Weekly Illustrated (1934), Lilliput (1937), and after Sir Edward Hulton bought the Lilliput magazine in order to secure Lorant's services, Picture Post which was founded in 1938, a year before the outbreak of war. Lorant did research for a special edition of the Picture Post in America and decided to settle becoming a citizen in 1943.
 
Picture Post was famous for its portrayal of a variety of subjects and hard-hitting journalism. The photo spreads showed royalty and what we now call celebrities, but also, during the war, the ordinary person's struggles on the home front. Black and white photographs, printed clearly, allowed the population glimpses into how others were coping. During peace time many articles were educative and the magazine's fame (and copycat publications) were based on its photographs.It had an "initial print run of 750,000 and weekly sales peaking at 1,750,000 in 1939" (Anthony Quinn  (2016) A history of British Magazine Design)

Stefan Lorant: Godfather of photojournalism

So how did Raymond Sheppard have work appear in 1953, 1954 and then lastly 1956? I have no insights for you beyond the surprise that his work of illustration did appear in what is so famously known as a photographic magazine!

I want to look at some of the February, March and May issues of 1953 for this article and the later work at a later date.

Picture Post 14 February 1953 p.31

"Unsecret weapon" by John Steinbeck was a short story that appeared in the 14 February 1953 edition of Picture Post (and concluded the following week) . It tells the story of the narrator's pitch to President Roosevelt on breaking down tyranny (obviously at this point - communism) not by a frontal assault but by inward pressure. How? Using capitalism's greatest weapon...money! Counterfeit money would be dropped by balloons into Russia to break the money system once they had been discovered to be fake.


Picture Post 14 February 1953 p.32
"He could see the great white sphere shining in the moonlight"

Picture Post 14 February 1953 p.35
"It's – Comrade it's money"
The second part of this unusual story, which I can't see has ever appeared in reprint, appeared in Picture Post 21 February 1953

Picture Post 21 February 1953

Picture Post 21 February 1953 p.31
Picture Post 21 February 1953 p.31
Comrade Radin charged around the corner
Picture Post 21 February 1953 p.33
Gemil was sealed from the world

Picture Post 21 February 1953 p.35
Tula read the sheaf of reports
The third issue in which Sheppard's illustrations appeared was 21 March 1953 with the article "I was Stalin's Bodyguard" by Achmed Amba.  The book about this Turkish man who joined the Soviet Army and became so close to Stalin was published in the UK in translation by Richard and Clara Winston in 1952 by Frederick Muller and serialised in Picture Post. (It should be said the authenticity of this account has now been called into question). In the same way the Kremlin drawing appears on page 35 (see below) the image was repeated all through the story.

Picture Post 21 March 1953

Picture Post 21 March 1953 p.35
NOTE: the cartoon on the right with a signature of "R.S." -
not Raymond Sheppard but the Lilliput regular Ronald Searle!

Picture Post 21 March 1953 p.35
The Kremlin

Picture Post 21 March 1953 p.36
He froze...then he said "Rosenholz, get out!"

Picture Post 21 March 1953 p.39
Stalin's oldest associate in the Government was Molotov

Picture Post 21 March 1953 p.43
Ulanova dancing
The next appearance of Sheppard's drawings was 16 May 1953 in an unusual image  for "Chiang and Red China" by Adlai Stevenson ("the man 27,00,00 Americans voted for"). The caption to the one illustration by Sheppard helpfully explains: "Chiang-Kai Shek's government is often pictured either with a halo or a forked tail". Sheppard has a pasted-up photographic portrait of Chiang-Kai Shek on his drawing showing the Chinese Nationalist Government leader stretching from Taiwan (then Formosa) to the mainland.

Picture Post 16 May 1953

Picture Post 16 May 1953 pp42-43

Picture Post 16 May 1953, p.43

It seems appropriate having concentrated on the Far East to end my first view of Raymond Sheppard's work in Picture Post here as the next article he illustrated was much closer to home.

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