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A book celebrating the photojournalism of John Downing.
495 backers pledged £31,836 to help bring this project to life.
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John Downing was Chief Photographer on the Daily Express with a career that spanned over five decades and took him to over 100 countries and all 7 continents. He not only witnessed natural and man-made disasters, but also war zones and famine; he covered royal tours, political events, the famous and the infamous, the needy and the poor.

He has won numerous awards, including the British Press Photographer of the Year an unprecedented seven times, the United Nations Gold Medal in 1990 and the International Photographer of the Year in 1994 (La Nation, Argentina). 

In 1992 he was honoured with an MBE for ‘Services to Journalism’; in 2001 he was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the UK Picture Editors Guild and in 2011 he received an Honorary Fellowship of The Royal Photographic Society.

Mujahideen Fighters during the Russian invasion of Afghanistan
Mujahideen Fighters during the Russian invasion of Afghanistan
Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, poses for a regimental picture with the Irish Guards, on St. Patrick's Day
Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, poses for a regimental picture with the Irish Guards, on St. Patrick's Day
Families living on a giant rubbish tip in Brazil
Families living on a giant rubbish tip in Brazil

John Downing: Legacy is a long overdue celebration of his illustrious career. Press photographers are often overlooked for their contribution to photography but it is their images that define how we see the world's events unfolding on a daily basis. John Downing's work is right there at the pinnacle of photojournalism.

Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa
The Beatles at the Sgt Pepper album launch
The Beatles at the Sgt Pepper album launch
Deer Stalking in Scotland
Deer Stalking in Scotland

This is an important book demonstrating that despite the pressures John worked under, he produced quality photographs time after time. Every day press photographers are given an assignment with the challenge of capturing images that will immediately reflect what is happening - be it a war zone, disaster or a striking portrait of a personality. Success is often measured by claiming the front page - something John managed on many occasions.

A landmine victim in hospital, Bosnia
A landmine victim in hospital, Bosnia
Sophia Loren in her Paris apartment
Sophia Loren in her Paris apartment
The Queen during the State Opening of Parliament
The Queen during the State Opening of Parliament

John Downing: Legacy covers some of his key assignments, including most major wars and international events. He travelled to East Pakistan/Bangladesh, Rhodesia, Beirut, Iraq, Somalia, Rwanda, Croatia, and over a dozen visits to Bosnia.

He was beaten and imprisoned in Uganda by the regime of Idi Amin. The Daily Express described its front-page headline as, 'World exclusive pictures taken inside the black hole of Kampala'.

Inside the Kampala Prison
Inside the Kampala Prison

Together with writer Kim Willsher, John was one of the first journalists to visit Chernobyl after the nuclear explosion.

A mother holds her dying son, believed to be a Chernobyl victim
A mother holds her dying son, believed to be a Chernobyl victim

He lived rough for many weeks with guerrilla fighters in several wars; the Anyanya in Southern Sudan, the Contras in Nicaragua, and the Mujahideen in Afghanistan.

Afghan Warrior
Afghan Warrior
A Russian tank enters Kabul
A Russian tank enters Kabul
Rwandan refugees
Rwandan refugees

And - as the video cryptically refers - he was the only photographer inside the Grand Hotel, Brighton, when the IRA bomb exploded in a failed attempt to kill PM Margaret Thatcher and her government. This led to further world exclusive photographs.

Inside the Grand Hotel, Brighton, seconds after the bomb exploded
Inside the Grand Hotel, Brighton, seconds after the bomb exploded

Amongst all these key images were thousands of others; royalty, street scenes, celebrations, landscapes - occasionally with a humorous take. All in a day's work for one of our finest photographers. This book is his legacy.

Rotten Row, Hyde Park, London
Rotten Row, Hyde Park, London
Prince Andrew shares a joke with fellow helicopter pilots
Prince Andrew shares a joke with fellow helicopter pilots
Princess Diana leaves hospital with newborn Prince Harry
Princess Diana leaves hospital with newborn Prince Harry
Families sleeping on the streets of Kolkata (formally Calcutta)
Families sleeping on the streets of Kolkata (formally Calcutta)

Reward Prints

Reward print #1 - Skinhead arrested in Southend
Reward print #1 - Skinhead arrested in Southend
Reward print #2 - Russian soldier on duty in Kabul
Reward print #2 - Russian soldier on duty in Kabul
Reward print #3 - Battersea Power Station in the snow
Reward print #3 - Battersea Power Station in the snow
Reward print #4 - Back to work after the Millennium celebrations, 3rd January 2000
Reward print #4 - Back to work after the Millennium celebrations, 3rd January 2000

The Book

John Downing: Legacy will be a hardback book with dust jacket, size 270 x 290mm (landscape) and 192 pages.

Risks and challenges

John Downing: Legacy is being published in collaboration with Bluecoat Press, who have published over 200 books and run many successful Kickstarters. We do not envisage any risks.

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    Reward #5 Two signed copies

    Two signed copies of John Downing: Legacy PLUS your name in the Acknowledgements as a valued supporter of the book.

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    Reward #6 Signed book + 2 signed prints

    A signed limited edition copy of John Downing: Legacy PLUS your name in the acknowledgements as a valued supporter of the book PLUS two signed 10" x 8" Ilford prints selected from Reward prints 1 to 4.

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    Copy of Reward #9 Corporate

    Your name or logo will be prominently displayed on page 2 (facing the title page) and in the Acknowledgements PLUS 10 signed copies of John Downing: Legacy PLUS a set of the four 10" x 8" Ilford reward prints.

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    Reward #2 Signed limited edition copy

    A signed limited edition copy of John Downing: Legacy. Only 400 signed copies will be issued PLUS your name in the Acknowledgements page as a valued supported of the book.

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    Reward #4 Signed book + print

    A signed limited edition of John Downing: Legacy PLUS your name in the Acknowlegements page PLUS a signed 10" x 8" Ilford print chosen from the Reward prints 1 to 4.

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    Reward #7 Signed book + 4 signed prints

    A signed limited edition of John Downing: Legacy PLUS your name in the Acknowlegements page PLUS all four 10" x 8" Ilford print chosen from the Reward prints 1 to 4.

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    Reward #8 Corporate Sponsorship

    Your company logo will be prominently displayed on page 2 (facing the title page) and in the Acknowledgements + 10 signed copies of John Downing: Legacy + a set of the four 10" x 8" Ilford reward prints.

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Funding period

- (30 days)