Street Life in London is a collaborative effort by photographer John Thomson (1837-1921) and journalist Adolphe Smith, to document working class Londoners and London street scenes. The book was issued in twelve installments from 1877-1878. Our copy is unbound. Street Life in London contains 37 images with accompanying text about the subjects of the photographs. Although the subjects were posed, Street Life in London is considered a pioneering example of social documentary photography.
Thomson was a Scottish photographer, geographer, and explorer who traveled extensively in Asia before returning to Britain to focus his camera on his fellow countrypeople. He used the Woodburytype process to create the images for the book. Woodburytypes are continuous tone photomechanical prints made by a carbon process, usually with a purplish-brown color. It can be difficult to distinguish them from actual photographic prints, although slight surface relief may be visible.