Talk:Bill Brandt

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Who was Bill Brandt?[edit]

There is a lot of argument over where Bill came from. Germany is almost definably his birth place. It is most likely that he lied to escape persecution during two world wars, but that this stuck even afterwards. I think it is very funny, with all the paranoia of the time, that he, a secret German, was allowed to run amock in London's black-outs with a powerful camera.

Some internet resources have him with Russian parents, or one English, one German, as in the wiki (Possibly another lie). I think there is a lot of room for expansion and clarification. Can anyone confirm his name was originally Hermann Wilhelm Brandt?

I am afraid I don't have any actual books on the subject.

Ion Zone (talk) 10:37, 23 June 2008 (UTC)

German or British[edit]

It is not in dispute that Brandt was born and raised in Germany and first arrived in England in late-1932 or early-1933 (when he was 29 years old); it therefore seems quite odd to introduce this subject as British - he might have become a British citizen at some point later. Artiquities (talk) 16:10, 7 May 2012 (UTC)

Perhaps this seems strange to those who are not familiar with British photography, but Bill Brandt is very well known as a British photographer, and there are many, many sources that confirm this. See for example Mr. Brandt's own webpage, http://www.billbrandt.com/, where the lead sentence tells us, "Bill Brandt is considered to be one of the most important British photographers of the 20th century." See also this ref from the Victoria and Albert Museum, http://www.vam.ac.uk/page/b/bill-brandt/. On the converse, I see no references for the change you made, Artiquities, to say that Brandt is a German photographer - quite simply he is not known as such. TheMindsEye (talk) 16:28, 7 May 2012 (UTC)
Delany says: "One reason for his [Brandt's] reluctance to be interviewed was fear that his German accent would be apparent, and this may be why he spoke in a whisper. Nonetheless, films and tapes confirm a distinct accent. In hospital near the end of his life, a doctor asked him where he was born; Brandt replied: 'What has that got to do with my illness?' There is something pathetic or even funny in these subterfuges, except that Brandt would have a nervous crisis if anyone tried to challenge him about them." - Delany, p. 25. Artiquities (talk) 09:00, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
You are perhaps unaware of the American-influenced guidelines on immigrant bios. If Brandt had emigrated to the US instead, you would not be allowed to even mention Germany in the first sentence, as Brandt's notability entirely post-dates his emigration. We are generally more relaxed with UK bios, but the guidelines still apply, strictly speaking. I forget where the policy is, but no doubt you can find it easily enough. Oh, yes: "Ethnicity or sexuality should not generally be emphasized in the opening unless it is relevant to the subject's notability. Similarly, previous nationalities or the country of birth should not be mentioned in the opening sentence unless they are relevant to the subject's notability." - from MOS:BIO. To say "he might have become a British citizen at some point later" is pretty disingenuous; he was working for the Govt in 1940, not interned! If you have Delany, it would be good to establish this point, although arty biographers can be remarkably uninterested in such matters (in strong contrast to fixated Wikipedians) - see Francis Bacon. As we say he had a British father (something I've not seen mentioned elsewhere), it can't be said to be entirely clear he ever was a German citizen, or was not British or dual national from birth. Johnbod (talk) 15:34, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
Hello Johnbod - Delany goes into some detail on p. 21 -available here. Yes, it seems the father was born in London but it gets quite complicated - perhaps you would have read of that page too? Artiquities (talk) 16:48, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
I've added a bit - he was perhaps always a dual national. I think we need good reason to change the current first sentence wording. Since much of Delany is online, let's hope the rest of the article can be expanded! Johnbod (talk) 16:57, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
His father is Ludwig Walther Brandt, born 1857, who was English citizen, because he was born in London, but still the family's native language was german. They moved back to Hamburg in 1888 for health reasons. Ludwig Walther Brandt's father 'Augustus Ferdinand Brandt' worked with the 'William Brandt & sons' merchant bank in London, in the part of Denmark Hill that was known as 'Little Germany'. (Delany, page 14) (E-Kartoffel (talk) 13:10, 26 September 2012 (UTC))

Magazine appearances[edit]

I removed the following from the main article as they should not be listed as publications, but may be useful for references:

  • Brandt, Bill. "Londres de Nuit, Paris: Arts et Métiers Graphiques." New York: C. Scribner's, 1938. London: Country Life, Introduction by James Bone.
  • 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