I wish I could remember the name of the guest speaker who introduced my class to the work of John Hinde at university, I should thank him because I would probably never have been made aware of him otherwise. Hired by family holiday resort company Butlin's in the 1960s, Hinde was asked by Billy Butlin to produce promotion images for all of his summer camps around Britain. What resulted are the now famous images that kick-started a whole new style of hyper-real photography. The compositions were intricately staged by Hinde and his team, and the Technicolour colours manipulated to become artificial looking. What was once viewed purely as advertising for Butlin's is now regarded as a series of works of art.
Following extract taken from the blog We English, describing the beginnings of Butlin's:
The first holiday camps in the UK were the masterplan of entrepreneur William ‘Billy’ Butlin, who had seen some lakeside holiday centres during a visit to Canada during World War I and realised that they were something that could easily be introduced to his native Britain. Butlin selected the seaside town of Skegness, Lincolnshire, for the location of his first holiday camp, which was opened on 11 April, 1936. The story goes that he first spotted what became the company slogan – “Our true intent is all for your delight” – emblazoned on a fairground organ, little knowing that it was a line from A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Butlin's are still operating all over the UK today, but its heyday was in the sixties and it hasn't enjoyed such popularity since, although the credit crunch has made "staycation" a household term in recent years.
All images copyright John Hinde & Chris Boot. A collection of Hinde's Butlins photographs curated by the artist and Martin Parr (another hyper-real photographer) entitled Our True Intent Is All For Your Delight (2005) is available for purchase on Amazon.