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"Man lighting a cigarette, 1950."

Photographic Advertising Limited

4 0 c m
actual image size: 25cm x 32cm


"At the time, smoking was associated with youth and sophistication, not with any risk to health. Images of men in the work of Photographic Advertising usually indicate action or suggest personality. If the photograph relies on the man's appearance, he usually looks away from the camera to avoid any implication of vanity. Photographic Advertising Limited, founded in 1926, created multi-purpose stock images with the potential for selling a range of products. Whilst enjoying its greatest success during the 1930s, it continued in business until 1977. Their trademark, the staged studio photograph resembling a film still, was its selling point and, later, its downfall. Sophisticated, adaptable and generic, this kind of image gradually fell out of favour as clients increasingly demanded targeted advertising campaigns with specific photographs. "

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© Photographic Advertising / National Science & Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library

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