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John Cura: Pioneer of the Television Archive

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  • Publication: Journal of British Cinema and Television
  • Date: Jan. 2016
  • Author: Richard Wallace
  • Page: 99-120
  • Language: English
  • Abstract: This article examines the work of John Cura, a freelance photographer who took over half a million still images of British television programmes between 1947 and 1968. Called Tele-snaps, these photographs constitute an archive of British television from a period where only a limited quantity of programme material survives. Based on papers relating to Cura's work, available in the BBC's Written Archive Centre, the article details the development of Cura's relationship with the BBC as a freelancer, from his speculative attempts at securing clients in the late 1940s to his long-standing contractual work with production offices throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Cura's interactions with the BBC also shed light on the development of British television in the period before 1970. The article documents the changes that took place in the BBC's photographic department in the early 1950s, when photographs for presentational and archival purposes ceased, as well as the concern that the Tele-snaps caused the BBC's legal team by raising questions about television images and copyright. In doing so, the article raises questions about the way that television was valued by those who made it, given that Cura was able to sustain a successful business for twenty years by creating a lasting record of a wide range of television programmes, many of which no longer exist in the BBC's archive.


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  • APA 6th ed.: Wallace, Richard (Jan. 2016). John Cura: Pioneer of the Television Archive. Journal of British Cinema and Television p. 99-120.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Wallace, Richard. "John Cura: Pioneer of the Television Archive." Journal of British Cinema and Television [add city] Jan. 2016, 99-120. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Wallace, Richard. "John Cura: Pioneer of the Television Archive." Journal of British Cinema and Television, edition, sec., Jan. 2016
  • Turabian: Wallace, Richard. "John Cura: Pioneer of the Television Archive." Journal of British Cinema and Television, Jan. 2016, section, 99-120 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=John Cura: Pioneer of the Television Archive | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/John_Cura:_Pioneer_of_the_Television_Archive | work=Journal of British Cinema and Television | pages=99-120 | date=Jan. 2016 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=7 August 2022 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=John Cura: Pioneer of the Television Archive | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/John_Cura:_Pioneer_of_the_Television_Archive | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=7 August 2022}}</ref>