Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

A Book Of Contrasts: Bill Brandt

I began taking pictures when I was 12, at school a boy in the year ahead of me who also lived near me had seen me with my camera and befriended me. He was also interested in photography and it was he who introduced me to Bill Brandt. Up until I saw the book Shadow of Light by Brandt I had no idea photographs could almost be about anything as long as they had some meaning, atmosphere, emotion. I gave up just taking pictures of my dog or my mates mucking about and started trying to take pictures like Bill Brandt. Some 46 years later I am still trying.

Maybe this article will be me passing the baton on to someone else who is looking for a better reason to pick up a camera. From the excellent Faded & Blurred site a long and very interesting article about the great man who made me become a photographer

“It is part of the photographer’s job to see more intensely than most people do. He must have and keep in him something of the receptiveness of the child who looks at the world for the first time or of the traveler who enters a strange country.” – Bill Brandt

Heralded by many as Britain’s greatest modern photographer, Bill Brandt was a man who never took a photograph unless he had something to say. On par with Man Ray, Brassai, and Atget, Brandt accomplished what few photographers have been able to do (either before or since), which is to successfully bridge the gap between photojournalism and documentary photography all the way to the other end of the spectrum of fine art. His work is characterized by stark contrasts between black and white and strong geometrical structures, whether the images are of a miner bringing home his coal for the day or the nude form of a woman on a rocky beach….READ MORE


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