Bert Hardy

The Gorbals, Glasgow (1948 (prints made in 1986))

About this artwork

In January 1948, the illustrated magazine, 'Picture Post', published an article about a working-class district of Glasgow which it described as 'The Forgotten Gorbals'. The article advocated urgent social reform and was accompanied by thirteen photographs, three by Bill Brandt and the rest by Bert Hardy. This photograph of Mary, a sixteen-year-old bakery worker, was the most powerful of all the images. As Picture Post's caption suggested, Mary's future - like the salt on the Sifta packet - was pouring away: "futility and frustration stretch ahead her dreams are losing their battle against reality".

Bert Hardy

Bert Hardy

London-born Hardy was a Cockney who had a great talent for getting on with the people he had to photograph. In 1942 the editor of Picture Post, Tom Hopkinson, took him on after testing him on an assignment to photograph London during the Blitz. Hardy went on to cover more of the Second World War, and later, the Korean and Vietnam wars. He was among the first photographers to take pictures of the victims of the Nazi concentration camps. After Picture Post closed in 1957, Hardy worked in advertising until he finally retired in the late 1960s.