Bill Brandt trained as a photographer in Vienna. After he met poet Ezra Pound and took his portrait in return for which he introduced him to Man Ray in 1929.
He then assisted in Ray’s studio in Paris for 3 months, after which he travelled in Europe, settling in London in 1932.
in his book, The English At Home, Brandt produced a document of British society, an unusual approach for the time, which is notable for his considered and witty juxtaposed images. His images recorded the contrasts of everyday doings of the upper classes at play, their below – stairs servants, and London’s working – class East Enders. By carefully sequencing the pictures to reference each other, Brandt developed a montage style of storytelling; he began working for Weekly Illustrated magazine. He also worked with Lilliput magazine in 1934 and then Picture Post magazine in 1938 on which he worked on from its inception.
He travelled to industrial towns and cities of the English north and midlands where he documented the lives and living conditions of coalminers. He worked indoors and out, day and night by the 1930s.
h produced several bodies of work on London, its streets and buildings as well as life behind pub doors and ordinary homes.
Inspired by Brassaï’s Paris by Night, Brandt published A Night in London in 1938. Camera in London followed 10 years later.
In 1940, he was commissioned by the Ministry of Information to photograph London’s air – raid shelters, picturing the masses huddled in the underground, shop cellars and under railway arches. The following year he photographed important endangered buildings for the National Buildings record.. During the war, he also made an extensive study of the Bournville Estate, set up by chocolate maker George Cadbury in 1900 for his workers.
As well as hi many urban studies, Brandt photographed landscapes and figures from the arts, and is particularly well known for his later nude studies, photographed with a perspective – distorting wide angle and printed in his trademark high – contrast style.
his extensive work makes him one of the most significant British photographers to this day.
Her are a few of my favourite images by Bill Brandt. His entire body of work can be seen here.