Bill Brandt (May 3, 1904 - December 20, 1983) was a British photographer and photojournalist whose high-contrast images ranged from documentation on British society to portraits, landscapes and nudes.
Career and Life
Born in Hamburg, Germany, the son of a British father and German mother, he grew up as World War I was raging, and contracted tuberculosis shortly after. This meant he spent a lot of his youth in a sanatorium in Davos, Switzerland, but he had already developed a talent for watercolors. He later moved to Paris where he befriended Man Ray and the poet Ezra Pound.
In 1931 he moved to London where he began his documentation of British society, particularly the aristocracy. This kind of reporting was not common in England at that time. He published two books showcasing this work, The English at Home (1936) and A Night in London (1938). At the height of the Surrealism movement, Brandt's work shows the influence of Man Ray and others involved in that movement. He made a living as a regular contributor to magazines such as Harper's Bazaar, Picture Post and The Bystander.
After WW2, Brandt focused on portraits, landscapes and nudes, compiling some of his works into a book - Literary Britain (1951), and a collection of his nude images, Perspectives of Nudes (1961).
Brandt's work makes him one of Britain's most influential photographers of the 20th century. Many of his works have important social commentary, while his landscapes and nudes are dynamic, intense and powerful - often utilising wide-angles and distortion for effect.