Author(s): Sarah Hermanson Meister
Bill Brandt was the preeminent British photographer of the twentieth century, a founding father of photography's modernist tradition whose half-century-long career defies neat categorization. This publication presents the photographer's entire oeuvre, with special emphasis on his investigation of English life in the 1930s and his innovative late nudes. The Museum of Modern Art has been exhibiting and collecting Brandt's photographs since the late 1940s, and has recently more than doubled its collection of vintage prints of his work, which forms the core of this selection. An essay by Sarah Hermanson Meister, Curator in the Department of Photography at MoMA, sets the artist's life and work in the context of twentieth-century photographic history. With rich duotone illustrations that highlight the special characteristics of Brandt's prints, this volume is an invaluable resource to students and scholars alike. Lee Ann Daffner, the Museum's Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Conservator of Photographs, contributes an illustrated glossary of Brandt's retouching techniques, enhancing the appreciation of Brandt's printing processes. The book also includes a generously illustrated appendix of Brandt's published photo-stories during the Second World War.Bill Brandt (1904-1983) moved to London from Germany in 1934 and quickly began his investigation of British society, resulting in what would become his signature publications: The English at Home (1936) and A Night in London (1938). He continued to photograph in London throughout World War II, contributing regularly to Picture Post and Harper's Bazaar. His postwar career expanded to include portraits and landscapes, and the celebrated series of nudes that remain his crowning achievement. His other major books include Camera in London (1948), Literary Britain (1951) and Perspective of Nudes (1961). Brandt died in London in 1983.