Stockholm: Reportagebild, 8 June 1946. Photograph. This original press photograph captures a “delightful, informal” image of British Prime Minister Clement Attlee, former premier Winston Churchill, and Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King at the “Saluting Base” during the London Victory Celebration on 8 June 1946. The gelatin silver print on matte photo paper measures 8 x 10 inches (20.3 in x 25.4 cm). Condition is very good. The paper is clean, crisp, and free of scratches with pin holes to the four corners and wear to the edges. There are some horizontal scratches across the image that appear to be an artifact of the photograph’s developing out. The verso bears an obscured copyright stamp, a Swedish copyright stamp of “Reportagebild”, a sticker reading, “after use please return for: International Magazine Service AB”, numerous handwritten notations, and a typed caption. The original typed caption states “Associated Press Photo – From London Please Use Credit” and is titled “Victory Day – Premiers at the Saluting Base”. The caption reads “More than 21,000 men and women marched in the great June 8 Victory Day Parade through London, England. Associated Press Photo shows: Delightful, informal picture at the Saluting Base in the Mall, London, England, today June 8, during the Great March Past, of (left to right) Premier Attlee, Ex-Premier Winston Churchill and Canadian Premier Mr. Mckenzie [sic] King.”
Less than a year earlier, on 26 July 1945, Churchill had lost his wartime premiership to a landslide General Election victory for the Labour Party. The London Victory Celebrations of 1946 were part of British Commonwealth, Empire, and Allied victory commemorations. In London there was a military parade and a night time fireworks display. At The Mall stood a saluting stand where the royal family and the leaders of the war were honored. Among them were military leaders, heads of state, and architects of victory whose importance exceeds our ability to encapsulate and just a small portion of whom are captured in this photograph. On the far left is Clement Richard Attlee (1883-1967), the Labour leader who had served as Churchill’s wartime Deputy Prime Minister and famously replaced Churchill as Prime Minister in July 1945 - and whom Churchill would in turn defeat and replace in October 1951. Churchill sits in the center. Attlee and Churchill, both decorated veterans, are bedecked with medals. Standing to Churchill’s right is William Lyon Mackenzie King (1874-1950) Canada’s wartime Prime Minister who played a major role in the Canadian supply of munitions and resources for the Allied effort. Individually and collectively the figures pictured here bore great responsibility for the victory they were assembled to commemorate.
During the first half of the twentieth century, photojournalism grew as a practice, fundamentally changing the way the public interacted with current events. Newspapers assembled expansive archives, with physical copies of all photographs published or deemed useful for potential future use, their versos typically marked with ink stamps and notes providing provenance and captions. Photo departments would often take brush, paint, pencil, and marker to the surface of photographs themselves to edit them before publication. Today these photographs exist as repositories of historical memory, technological artifacts, and often striking pieces of vernacular art. Item #005018