Bill Brandt

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"William Brandt" redirects here. For other uses, see William Brandt (disambiguation).
Bill Brandt
Born Hermann Wilhelm Brandt
(1904-05-02)2 May 1904
Hamburg, German Empire
Died 20 December 1983(1983-12-20) (aged 79)
London, England
Nationality German-British
Known for Photography
Website
billbrandt.com

Bill Brandt (born Hermann Wilhelm Brandt, 2 May 1904 – 20 December 1983[1]), was a British photographer and photojournalist. Although born in Germany, Brandt moved to England, where he became known for his images of British society for such magazine as Lilliput and Picture Post, later his distorted nudes, portraits of famous artists and landscapes. He is widely considered to be one of the most important British photographers of the 20th century.[2]

Career and life[edit]

Born in Hamburg, Germany, son of a British father and German mother, Brandt grew up during World War I, during which his father, who had lived in Germany since the age of five, was interned for six months by the Germans as a British citizen.[3] Brandt later disowned his German heritage and would claim he was born in South London.[4] Shortly after the war, he contracted tuberculosis and spent much of his youth in a sanatorium in Davos, Switzerland.[5] He traveled to Vienna to undertake a course of treatment by psychoanalysis. He was, in any case, pronounced cured and was taken under the wing of socialite Eugenie Schwarzwald. When Ezra Pound visited the Schwarzwald residence, Brandt made his portrait. In appreciation, Pound allegedly offered Brandt an introduction to Man Ray, whose Paris studio and darkroom Brandt would access in 1930.[4]

In 1933 Brandt moved to London and began documenting all levels of British society. This kind of documentary was uncommon at that time. Brandt published two books showcasing this work, The English at Home (1936) and A Night in London (1938). He was a regular contributor to magazines such as Lilliput, Picture Post, and Harper's Bazaar. He documented the Underground bomb shelters of London during The Blitz in 1940, commissioned by the Ministry of Information.[4]

During World War II, Brandt focused every kind of subject - as can be seen in his "Camera in London" (1948) but excelled in portraiture and landscape. To mark the arrival of peace in 1945 he began a celebrated series of nudes. His major books from the post-war period are Literary Britain (1951), and Perspective of Nudes (1961), followed by a compilation of the best of all areas of his work, Shadow of Light (1966). Brandt became Britain's most influential and internationally admired photographer of the 20th century. Many of his works have important social commentary but also poetic resonance. His landscapes and nudes are dynamic, intense and powerful, often using wide-angle lenses and distortion.[4]

Brandt died in London in 1983.

Exhibitions[edit]

In 2004, Brandt was given a major retrospective exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.[6]

In 2013, the Museum of Modern Art in New York celebrated his work with an exhibition, "Shadow and Light" curated by Sarah Hermanson Meister.[7][8]

Recognition[edit]

In 2010, an English Heritage blue plaque for Bill Brandt was erected in London at 4 Airlie Gardens, Kensington, W8.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Delany, Paul: "Bill Brandt: A Life", Stanford University Press 2004
  • Brandt, Bill. "Londres de Nuit, Paris: Arts et Métiers Graphiques." New York: C. Scribner's, 1938. London: Country Life, Introduction by James Bone.
  • Brandt, Bill. "Camera in London." London: Focal Press, 1948.
  • Brandt, Bill. "The English at Home." New York: C. Scribner's; London: B. T. Batsford, 1936. Introduction by Raymond Mortimer.
  • Brandt, Bill. "Literary Britain." London: Cassell and Company Ltd., 1951. Introduction by John Hayward.
  • Brandt, Bill. "Bill Brandt: Perspective of Nudes." London: The Bodley Head, 1961; New York: Amphoto, 1961.
  • Brandt, Bill. "Perspectives sur le Nu." Paris: Editions Prisma, 1961.
  • Brandt, Bill. "Ombres d'une Ile." Paris: Editions Le Belier Prisma, 1966.
  • Brandt, Bill. "Bill Brandt: Early Photographs, 1930-1942." London: Arts Council of Great Britain, 1975.
  • Brandt, Bill. "Shadow of Light." London: Bodley Head, 1966; New York: Viking Press, 1966; New York: Da Capo, 1977; London: Gordon Fraser, 1977.
  • Brandt, Bill. "Bill Brandt: Nudes 1945-1980" The Gordon Fraser, London and Bedford 1980 Boston: New York Graphic Society, 1980.
  • Brandt, Bill. "London in the Thirties." London: G. Fraser, 1983; New York: Pantheon Books, 1983.
  • Brandt, Bill. "Portraits: Photographs by Bill Brandt." London: G. Fraser, 1982; Austin: University of Texas Press, 1982.
  • Brandt, Bill. "Nudes: Bill Brandt." Bulfinch Press, January 1980
  • Brandt, Bill. "Bill Brandt." London: Marlborough Fine Art Ltd., 1976
  • Brandt, Bill. "Bill Brandt: Photographs 1928-1983." Thames and Hudson, 1993
  • Brandt, Bill. "Bill Brandt." Milan: Gruppo Editoriale Fabbri, 1982.
  • Brandt, Bill. "Brandt: The Photographs of Bill Brandt." Thames and Hudson, 1999
  • Brandt, Bill. "Brandt: Nudes" Thames and Hudson, 2012
  • Brandt, Bill. "Shadow and Light", Sarah Hermanson Meister, The Museum of Modern Art, New York (March 31, 2013)
  • Burgin, Victor (ed.). "Thinking Photography." Macmillan Press Ltd. 1982
  • Goldberg, Vicki. "Photography in Print; Writings from 1816 to the Present." Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1981
  • Haworth-Booth, Mark. "Contemporary British Photography: Into the 1990s." Aperture Foundation, Inc., January 1989
  • Iverson, Margaret (ed.). "Psychoanalysis." Art History 17(3), September 1994
  • Jay, Bill. "Occam's Razor: Outside-in Viewing Contemporary Photography." Germany: Nazraeli Press, 1994
  • Jeffrey, Ian. "Photography: Concise History." Thames and Hudson, World of Art Series, 1981, reprinted 1989
  • Kee, Robert. "The Picture Post Album." London, 1993
  • Kelly, Jain (ed.). "Nude:Theory." Lustrum Press, Inc. 1979.
  • Mellor, David. "Bill Brandt: Behind the Camera Photographs 1923-1983." New York:Aperture, 1985
  • Read, John. "Portrait of an Artist: Henry Moore." London, 1979.
  • Time Life Books Editors. "The Print." Time Life International, 1972.
  • Wells, Liz (ed.). "Photography, A Critical Introduction." Routledge, 1997.
  • Warburton, Nigel (ed.). "Bill Brandt; Selected texts and bibliography." Oxford: Clio Press, 1993; Macmillan Library Reference, 1994.
  • Hopkinson, Tom. "Poetry: Bill Brandt - Photographer." Lilliput 11(2):130-41
  • Hopkinson, Tom. "Bill Brandt's Landscapes", Photography, April 1954, pg 26-31
  • Hopkinson, Tom. "Bill Brandt." Daily Telegraph Magazine, 24 April 1970
  • Bardsley, John & Dunkley Richard, "Bill Brandt- How Significant is his Photography?" Photographic Journal, July 1970 pg 250-259
  • Spencer, Ruth. "Bill Brandt." British Journal of Photography, 9 November 1973, pg 1040-1043
  • Hughes, George. "His Way..." Amateur Photographer, 23 April 1975.
  • Haworth-Booth, Mark. "Talking of Brandt." Creative Camera, March/April 1981.
  • Taylor, John. "The Use & Abuse of Brandt." Creative Camera, March/April 1981.
  • Taylor, John. "Picturing the Past", Ten:8, no.11 1983 pg 15-31.
  • Strong, Roy. "Brandt: Portraits", Creative Camera, June 1982

Sources[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Paul Delany, Bill Brandt: A Life, p.14.
  2. ^ Bill Brandt: A Life by Paul Delany (2004)
  3. ^ Delany, 21
  4. ^ a b c d "Bill Brandt Biography". Victoria and Albert Museum. 2004. Retrieved 30 March 2010. 
  5. ^ Martin Gasser, ‘Bill Brandt in Switzerland and Austria: Shadows of Life’, History of Photography (Winter 1997)
  6. ^ V&A Exhibition - the V&A still have many useful pages on Brandt, though the links from the exhibition page no longer work. Search the main site from the biography page.
  7. ^ "Brandt: Shadow and Light". MoMA. Retrieved 2013-03-23. 
  8. ^ Smith, Roberta. "A Camera Ravenous for Emotional Depth: ‘Bill Brandt: Shadow and Light’ at MoMA". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-03-23. 

External links[edit]