Check Out This Hilarious Photography Workshop From 1961

We posted a set of videos released by Pathé News, part of their 85,000 reels released, but this one really stood out to me- it's hilarious. I'll add that I've taught and taken quite a few photo workshops in my day, but I would kill to know what that instructor was saying to his students and the models. Let's break this video down shall we?

Some things I noticed and learned while watching this 1 minute and 31 second video:

  • More of us need to wear sweet sport coats with "official photographer" on the sleeve
  • People actually dressed pretty nicely in comparison to today
  • That instructor is awfully handsy with those models, don't you think? At 42 seconds, is he checking the muscle structure in her leg? Possibly performing some physical therapy?
  • Why is that woman in the white bathing suit holding that beach ball in the air like Atlas?
  • I like the snarky and somewhat sexually charged announcer that assumes all of the guys in this class are extremely distracted by the models
  • At 1 minute, is the guy on the left in the white shirt taking a photo of the instructor's butt? That lens is way too wide to get any shot of the model.
  • At 46 seconds, hey that little girl stole the ball of the woman in the white bathing suit!
  • Is it just me or do the models look a tad terrified?
  • What is a red coat?
  • I wonder what the prize is?

According to the British Pathe youtube account:

"M/S of a group of amateur photographers and Redcoats with cameras at a holiday camp; the Official Photographer removes the lens cover from one man's camera. Commentator says the Camp Photographers advise holidaymakers on the best way to take their own personal photos.

M/S of their subject; a buxom blonde girl with highly back combed hair, wearing a white swimsuit and holding an inflatable beach ball above her head; the Official Photographer adjusts her pose and holds a light meter next to her. One of the photographers is brought forward to take a photo.

M/S as the Official Photographer adjusts the pose of another girl in shorts and a top; three of the men crouch down to photograph her.

M/S as two girls, one in a swimsuit, one in a bikini, pose beside a swimming pool; another Official Photographer adjusts their poses (they like doing this, don't they?!) and holds a light meter beside them. M/S of a crowd of men and women with cameras; some receive instruction from the Officials. They snap away at the posing girls.

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That's awesome! Cool blast from teh past. I would have loved to hear it too, but my imagination is more entertaining, I guess.

to bad no subtitles for deaf... hu?

Red Coats were the staff - entertainers, kids entertainers - you name it.

Love this look! have they used FilmConvert?

Bob Bell's picture

Haha, FStoppers should do a bts in this vein for the upcoming Bahamas thingy!

I remind myself that one day to a new generation of photographers the videos and images we find so awesome today will be quaint, funny, or perhaps even repulsive....None of my work, of course, it will always be awesome just like that "Official Photographer" sport coat.

I wonder how many people think that was Instagrammed...

i like how the Dixie Dixon Fashion workshop ad is juxtaposed with the Fashion workshop from the past...

LOVE the "Official Photographer" jacket arm badge!

I'm ditching the 1990's 'Members Only' jacket and upgrading to the 1960's 'Official Photographer' jacker

Back then Holiday Camp staff used to identify themselves by wearing coloured jackets. In the TV sitcom Hi-de-Hi (!) they wore yellow coats.

This video will make more sense to anyone from the UK. It's from an era before political correctness and the holiday camps like where this was filmed were notorious for what would now be considered very sexist attitudes. It's a product of its time, an era when the most popular British films were the 'Carry On' series!

This is what is call Photo Days in Southern California. Still goes on today at Glamour Photographers International

I used to run workshops hopefully a little up the scale from this in the 1980s. Never touched the models. Instead, took up position facing them, or in place of them, and adopted the pose they had to copy - or used 'remote control', copy what I do - works perfectly without making the sitter uncomfortable. The 'delegates' were sometimes in the same category, though, as the man with no film in the camera. You have to remember 1961 was the era of André de Diennes and Harrison Marks, and if you don't know who they were, you missed out on puberty...

At least the instructor seems to deliver instructions ... not something that I see on many workshops I've assisted (some of which where highly pricey)