For our 50th title we've chosen to publish a brand-new edition of this innovative and hugely influential work - pioneering in so many ways: in its use of ethnological recording, of documentary photography, and as one of the most far-reaching photobooks in the medium's history. Our aim is to bring this important work to the attention of contemporary readers, photographers and researchers who may not have experienced its power, passion and commitment to change.
Street Life in London was created in 1877-78 by photographer John Thomson and radical journalist Adolphe Smith as a monthly part-work whose aim was to reveal - first-hand and in detail - the conditions of a life of poverty. It was a commercial failure and ceased publication after twelve issues. But its powerful blend of text and images, and its progressive standpoint, marked the beginning of socially conscious photography - and some would say of street photography - in the service of education, reportage and social justice.