Announcing a major new publication on Jo Spence

RRB Photobooks and The Hyman Collection are pleased to present Fairy Tales and Photography, or, Another look at Cinderella, a facsimile of the unpublished thesis by Jo Spence, accompanied by new essays by Frances Hatherley and Marina Warner. 

Written in 1982, the thesis will be published in full for the first time this November. 

RRB have worked in collaboration with the Hyman Collection to reproduce this smart, insightful and witty thesis. The type-written, hand-edited, collage-esque materiality, makes the publication feel like a piece of art in its own right. The thesis is bound in red cloth, with a tipped in collage made up of elements from the thesis' original box.

The publication is accompanied by Class Slippers: Jo Spence on Fantasy, Photography & Fairy Tales by Frances Hatherley, with a preface written by Marina Warner. Hatherley's essay explores the thesis and its importance when placed in today's context.

"In Fairytales and Photography, or, another look at Cinderella we are invited to take a look at the ambitious and wayward 1982 BA dissertation of the cultural worker and photographer Jo Spence. She asks 'How do we take a story like Cinderella out of the archives, off the bookshelves, out of the retail stores and attempt to prise out its latent class content? Its political and social uses?

This dissertation brings together subjects, both personal and political, that she grappled with throughout her life: social class, family histories, sexuality, representation of women and visual ideologies. Her work drew on her own lived experience of being a woman from a working-class background, her battles with cancer, mental health, education and her family history, but throughout she was always socially minded, with an eye on the structures of power that shape our lives.

Pre-Order from RRB Photobooks

RRB Photobooks / The Hyman Collection
December 2020
260 pages
30 x 21.5 cm
Accompanied by an essay book by Frances Hatherly, with a preface by Marina Warner


The release of this publication will coincide with an exhibition at Arnolfini in Bristol, UK. This December, Arnolfini present a major retrospective of the work of photographer Jo Spence, drawn from The Hyman Collection, which is one of the most comprehensive collections of Spence's works in the world.

October 29, 2020
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