B. Germany, 1904 – 1983
B. Germany1904 – 1983
Initially fascinated by surrealism before focussing on the traditions and characters of Victorian England, taken as a whole Bill Brandt’s work constitutes one of the most varied and vivid social documents of Great Britain. Brandt moved from Paris to London in 1933. His photography at this time focused on British society and the traditions and characters of Victorian England which fascinated him. Both as a photojournalist and an Anglophile, Brandt was drawn to the British class system, and much of his work highlights its inequalities during the inter-war years.
Brandt’s early work was a mixture of photojournalism for magazines such as Picture Post, and personal photographic projects that he undertook, some being published as books such as The English At Home (1936), and London At Night (1938). Brandt’s view of England was constructed, in part, to ‘satisfy his childhood fantasies.’ In fact, some of his early photographs for The English at Home were staged scenes in which Brandt used his family and friends as models. Though based in London, in the late 1930s Brandt travelled to the North of England to document its towns and industry. His work from this period continued to reflect social inequality and particularly to poor living conditions of the English working class. From the mid-1940s, Brandt’s work began to change completely. Moving away from photojournalism, Brandt returned to focus on Surrealism, which had been an early influence from his time spent in Paris. He concentrated almost exclusively on the female nude for the remainder of his career. Using a wide angle lens, Brandt produced abstracted photographs which depict the nude form in surreal ways.
Brandt’s work has been exhibited internationally in New York, London, Barcelona and Paris and is held in numerous permanent collections around the world.
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