Bill Brandt  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Bill Brandt (May 3, 1904December 20, 1983) was an influential British photographer and photojournalist known for his high-contrast images of British society and his distorted nudes and landscapes.

Career and life

Born in Hamburg, Germany, son of a British father and German mother, Brandt grew up during World War I. Shortly after the war, he contracted tuberculosis and spent much of his youth in a sanatorium in Davos, Switzerland. He traveled to Vienna to undertake a course of treatment for TB 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 offered Brandt an introduction to Man Ray, in whose Paris studio, Brandt would assist in 1930.

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.

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.

Bill Brandt is widely considered to be one of the most important British photographers of the 20th century.


  • "Bill Brandt: A Life" by Paul Delany, 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
  • 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

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Bill Brandt" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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