BILL BRANDT

Bill Brandt is regarded as one of the great paragons of British photography. His singular eye gave him a unique take on the quintessence of Britishness, and he formed an archive of images that are as socially powerful as they are visually poetic.

Brandt was in fact German, born in Hamburg in 1904, but spent much of his life in denial of his origins. He arrived in London in 1931, and so taken was he by England and its way of life that he began to insist he had been born in South London this started a lifelong metamorphosis into a stereotypical English gentleman. However, before embarking on this personal journey, Brandt had been fortunate enough to study under Man Ray in Paris, where he absorbed the aesthetics of Surrealism a training that would forever colour his photographs with the marvellous tint of European modernism.

Brandt was a regular presence in the great photographic magazines of the time, particularly Picture Post and Lilliput, but also published numerous books including The English at Home (1936), A Night in London (1938), Literary Britain (1951) and Perspective of Nudes (1961). Often reduced to stark blacks and whites, his images can be as formally powerful as the subject matter they depict and often retain the humour, even satire, of an outsider looking in.

Brandt is known for documenting Britain and its people the rich and poor, the celebrated artist and the unknown miner but also for his idiosyncratic nude studies that obsessed him from 1951. Our show will focus on these two great facets of Brandt's work, and aims to firmly reinforce his position in the canon of great twentieth-century photographers.

Our exhibition will be the largest selling show of Brandt's work to have been staged in the UK.

A fully illustrated 80 page catalogue, with an evaluative essay, chronology and bibliography is available from the gallery at £10 + p&p (£2 UK, £2.50 Europe, £5 Rest of the world).

Click here to view this exhibition on the Chris Beetles Fine Photographs website.