Bill Brandt: A Retrospective

  December 1992 –
January 1993

Photograph by Bill Brandt from the exhibition of his work at the Gallery of Photography

Bill Brandt was one of the acknowledged masters of 20th century photography. Taken as a whole, his work constitutes one of the most varied and vivid social documents of a country. This exhibition spans 40 years from the early 30s to the early 70s representing his famous series of documentary photographs of life in London and the suburbs taken in the 30s. In 1941 he was commissioned to take a sequence of modern poets, from which a selection is shown, together with portraits of J.B Priestley, Man Ray, Francis Bacon, and Antonio Tapies. Brandt photographed many of the leading figures in the arts for more than 50 years, creating powerful, memorable and often haunting images.

Bill Brandt’s influence is not to be underestimated. His work has the qualities of tenderness, compassion and truth; it also has visual strength and enormous integrity. It has added the form of imaginary landscape to photography’s repertoire and has extended the boundaries of both documentary and romantic imagery. It is a body of work, done over a period of more than 50 years, whose duration is equalled only by it’s importance.