Sunday, 7 August 2011

Bill Brandt Part 2

Part two of the 1983 interview with Bill Brandt. He is looking through his images and discussing them as he turns the pages. A short video, but as with the other full of ideas and snippets of information about the background of images we see time and time again.

Some of the images are of during the blitz and people sheltering, Brandt took advantage of an ongoing situation to document what was happening to everyday people and how they coped. He also took advantage of the blackouts, describing the effect it had on the light, how soft it was with just the moonlight, how some of the architectural shots were long exposure, up to 20 minutes, but there was no risk of cars or other lights to spoil them.

He admitted to not looking at his work that often, and not even liking all of it, but had to accept that some would be published because that was what the magazine was after. This point ties in with the coursework, which is really all about preparing images of a prsfessional standard and for a variety of market segments, you may not want to take a certain image, or present it in a certain fashion, but he who pays the piper plays the tune!

On portraiture he tells us he likes taking photographs of people in their environment, as backgrounds can give information about the people. I think this is true; when you compare his images to those of David Bailey, who uses a plain white backdrop, there is nothing within the image to give you a clue to who the subject is or their personality. Arguing against that, I am not sure what Primrose Hill says about Francis Bacon, but there is more information within the image to make you question and think.

All the portraits Brandt has taken were, on the whole, for assignments. You cannot fail to note that everyone always looks so serious. This is a style adopted by Brandt. He tells us thats because he wants his portraits to have a longevity, that they should be around for 20-30 years, they are not family album snapshots and that someone smiling all the time would be 'irritating' after a while. Another one of his traits is perseverence (another lesson to learn) he visited Picasso about 10 times before getting him to pose and used the ploy of photographing his wife so Picasso then asked 'why aren't you photographing me?' Brandt's gentle humour comes over in this film and he admits that Picasso was a happy person and to get him to be serious was a struggle, out of the whole series of shots he only managed to catch him not smiling once....good job that one came out ok!

Enlightening video clips...will watch the next part soon...

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