Monday, 28 November 2011

Bill Brandt

Bill Brandt, May 3rd 1904 - December 20th 1983, was a British photographer and photojournalists. He is said to be one of Britain's greatest 20th century photographers. He took up photography when living in Vienna in the 1920s, and spent three months assisting Man Ray in his studio in Paris before settling in London in 1931. from the 1930'40s Brandt submitted work to various illustrated magazines, including Picture Post and Lilliput, and published several books. He developed an expressive style, combining social observation with a subtle streak of strangeness. During the 1940s he also worked as a portraitist and landscape photographer. From 1945 Brandt began to concentrate on the female nude, using a wide-angle lens to produce images of surreal distortion.

Throughout his life he photographed everyday occurrences. During the Blitz of World War II he photographed London at night when the crowds took refuge in the underground to escape from the destructive chaos that was happening above. After the war he then changed his style of work, he moved on to exploring nudes, portraits and landscapes. His nude photos were classified as exploring the modern abstraction and sculpture. Brandt regarded darkroom work as crucial and liked to complete his images by retouching and enhancing them with pen and pencil. 
The lighting within his work has been carefully thought out as to where the angle of the picture should be taken from to capture the full essence of the subject matter. Most of his works have been associated with surrealism as he explores different angles and subjects to create imaginative photographs. I find his work very fascinating and engaging as when I look at his work I feel a sense for fear as well as invitation to his photos. As his images are in black and white it simplifies the subject matter and evokes more of an emotion whether that being fear or warmth towards them. My initial thoughts on his images are that they are quite spooky but when looking at them I feel as if I am being drawn in to find out more information about his intentions of creating the images and why he had chosen that particular subject matter and what he is trying to achieve from the photographs. 
His famous photograph 'Ear on the Beach' 1957 reminds me of being on holiday in Britain as the sky is cloudy but even if the weather is bad we still spend the day on the beach.

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