Hands Up Who’s Heard Of Bill Brandt?

I think Photoshop gets a bad rap.
Yes, it can make models thinner and teeth whiter, but it’s not Adobe’s fault.
I wonder whether it being associated with cheating and fakery may be behind the current trend for real.
Take #NoFilter, fine if you’re taking pictures of a crime scene or for medical records, but being so pure can lead to some very bland images, and for what gain?
Surely the goal should be to create the best image possible?
Is it cheating to use seasoning in cooking? (‘Turnip Pie #NoSeasoning’).
I guess pushing dials up and down feels so much less skilled than ordering certain lith photographic paper, or manipulating an image in a darkroom.
But the way you push and pull an image is a form of self-expression.
Take Bill Brandt’s images, they aren’t real, everyday life, they’re manipulated, he used all the tools available to him to express himself, creating his own idiosyncratic world.
In his case, that world dark, melancholic and lonely.
It may have been informed by his tough childhood, he was bullied, hospitalized for tuberculosis and had to flee the Nazis.
So he wanted it very BLACK (& white).
If he were shooting today I’m confident he’d know where the contrast button was on Photoshop.


TOP 5 FACTS:

1. He assisted Man Ray.

2. He shot with a Kodak Wide Angle Camera with Zeiss Protar Lens, used by police for recording crime scenes. (The wide-angle lens captured the whole scene while the small f45 aperture gave full depth-of-field.)

3. Original copies of his book ‘Perspective of Nudes’ now sell for £1200.

4. His style was influenced by his love of the wide-angle, deep-focus cinematography of Orson Welles’ ‘Citizen Kane’.

5. I’ve never met a photographer* who doesn’t love Brandt’s work. (*Good one.)


TOP 5 QUOTES:


1.
“Photographers should follow their own judgment, and not the fads and dictates of others.”

2. “I consider it essential that the photographer should do his own printing and enlarging. The final effect of the finished print depends so much on these operations.”

3. “No amount of toying with shades of print or with printing papers will transform a commonplace photograph into anything other than a commonplace photograph.”

4. “Most photographers would feel a certain embarrassment in admitting publicly that they carried within them a sense of wonder, yet without it they would not produce the work they do, whatever their particular field.”

5. “Photography is not a sport. It has no rules.”

 

1. LANDSCAPE.

13.-Landscape-Bill-BrandtDave-DyeLa-calzada-de-los-gigantes-Antrim-1947.jpg

2.  NIGHT.  2885265f8e8b1a5e7b505e7ef249d95b-1-4236424843-1527846985271.jpg

3. LONDON.

5.-London-Bill-BrandtDave-Dyeeaton-square-still-life-1948.jpg

4. WET.

5. ROOFTOPS.

6. EAST END.

7. WORKING PEOPLE.
6.-Working-People-Bill-BrandtDave-Dyeeast_durham_coal-miner_just_home_from_the_pit_1937.jpg 7.-Working-People-Bill-BrandtDave-Dye.jpg

8. POSHOS.


9. PUB DWELLERS.

10. WORLD WAR TWO.

11. PORTRAITS.
14.-Portrait-Bill-BrandtDave-DyeDylan-Thomas1941.jpg

12. NUDES.

13. HANDS.

14. EYES.

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15. LIMBS.
bill-brandt-belgravia-london-1951.jpg

BONUS BALL: AN EAR.
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A documentary about Brandt from the eighties.

Some tear-sheets from his magazine work.
4. 'Artcle' Bill Brandt:Dave Dye1. 'Artcle' Bill Brandt:Dave Dye2. 'Artcle' Bill Brandt:Dave Dye25. 'Artcle' Bill Brandt:Dave Dye6. 'Artcle' Bill Brandt:Dave Dye

 

6 responses to Hands Up Who’s Heard Of Bill Brandt?

  1. Rob Simeon says:

    Thanks Dave. Another great post – I’ve sung BB’s praises to young photographers and assistants for years. He would easily make it in to my top 5 photographers of all time – if I had such a list.

  2. dave trott says:

    My favourite quote of his “A photographer has to be able to see his own country like a stranger”

  3. David Preutz says:

    Love your posts and his work. One of the problems in this digital new age is no one sees in black & white anymore. Loading up darkslides with Tri-X you went out looking at things in B/W. Then back in the darkroom played with chemistry & paper grades, none of which P/Shop can replicate 100%. It almost gets there in my mind but, and more importantly nowhere near as much fun or satisfying.

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