Bill Brandt (May 3, 1904 – December 20, 1983) was an influential British photographer and photojournalist known for his high-contrast images of British society and his distorted nudes and landscapes.
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. Having developed a talent for photography, Brandt moved to Paris. When Ezra Pound visited a mutual friend, Eugenie Schwarzwald, Brandt made his portrait. In appreciation, Pound introduced Brandt to Man Ray, in whose studio, Brandt would assist.
In 1931 Brandt moved to London and began documenting British society, particularly the aristocracy. This kind of reporting was uncommon at that time. Brandt 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. He was a regular contributor to magazines such as Harper's Bazaar, Lilliput, Picture Post, and The Bystander.
After World War 2, Brandt focused on portraits, landscapes and nudes, compiling his works into two books, Literary Britain (1951), and a collection of nude images, Perspective of Nudes (1961). Brandt's photos made him Britain's most influential photographer of the 20th century. Many of his works have important social commentary. His landscapes and nudes are dynamic, intense and powerful, often using wide-angle lenses and distortion.
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