Bill Brandt by Paul Delany, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Bill Brandt: A Life

Bill Brandt: A Life

by Paul Delany
     
 

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Bill Brandt, the greatest of British photographers, who visually defined the English identity in the mid-twentieth century, was an enigma. Indeed, despite his assertions to the contrary, he was not in fact English at all. His life, like much of his work, was an elaborate construction. England was his adopted homeland and the English were his chosen subject.

The

Overview

Bill Brandt, the greatest of British photographers, who visually defined the English identity in the mid-twentieth century, was an enigma. Indeed, despite his assertions to the contrary, he was not in fact English at all. His life, like much of his work, was an elaborate construction. England was his adopted homeland and the English were his chosen subject.

The England in which Brandt arrived in the Thirties was deeply polarized. He photographed both upstairs and downstairs, and recorded the industrial north as well as the society rounds of the affluent south. Although much of his work was for the new illustrated magazines, it was frequently influenced by surrealism and an eye for the slightly strange. The subjects of his portraits include the greatest creative figures of his age, and his English landscapes were sublime. His radical treatment of the female body forms a landmark in the history of the photography.

Paul Delany ambitiously traces the details of Brandt’s life and reveals how the biographical facts and the fantasies that accompanied them deeply affected Brandt’s work. The biography is richly illustrated with duotone reproductions of his masterpieces and a number of unpublished private photographs.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...an utterly fascinating biography..."—Photo-Eye

"Delany...writes with verve and insight in thsi first critical biography of [Brandt], who died in 1983. Better yet, it is illustrated with high-quality duotones of the full range of Brandt's works, from portraits to nudes to landscapes."—San Jose Mercury News

Library Journal
Known best as the World War II documentarian who recorded stoic Londoners crowding into tube stations to seek refuge from the Blitz, Bill Brandt (1904-83) is deservedly regarded as one of the 20th century's preeminent photographers. Signs of his early apprenticeship to Man Ray and, more pertinently, his Continental origins began to appear in his later work-primarily portraiture and mildly sexualized nudes seen in a semiabstract surrealist idiom. This first-ever biography is noteworthy for its account of the enigmatic Brandt's painstaking reinvention of himself as an English-born gentleman at a time when it was advantageous to bury both his German origins and a youth spent in and out of European TB asylums. Delany (former chair, English, Simon Fraser Univ.) writes a dense and perceptive life in 30 vignettelike chapters, weaving intricate biographical detail into thorough critiques of Brandt's photographic career. More pictures would have made this an even better book. Although many of his key images are reproduced, a small increase in their number-particularly those Delany discusses at length-would have obviated the urge to have a collection like Bill Brandt: Photographs 1928-1983, edited by Ian Jeffrey, available while considering buying this otherwise fine biography. [Also look for Mark Haworth-Booth's Behind the Camera: Photographs of Bill Brandt, reissued this spring from Aperture.-Ed.]-Douglas F. Smith, Oakland P.L., CA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780804750035
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
Publication date:
02/03/2004
Edition description:
1
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
10.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.20(d)

Meet the Author

Paul Delany is Professor of English and Chair of the Department of English at Simon Fraser University.

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