Week 50 - 2015

The eye of the lens

Bill Brandt, Nude, Eygalières, France, 1953. Preus museum's collection

The eye of the lens

The photographer Bill Brandt divided his efforts between press photography and personal photographic projects. In the 1930s he began experimenting with photography of the nude body, but the decisive breakthrough came in 1944 when he bought a camera with a wide-angle lens.


The wide angle meant that he suddenly could see the nude body "like a mouse, a fish or a fly"—or as he described his work: "instead of photographing what I saw, I photographed what the camera was seeing. I interfered very little, and the lens produced anatomical images and shapes which my eyes had never observed." 


Bill Brandt published Perspectives of Nudes in 1961. It contained images of the nude body taken in the studio and on the beaches of East Sussex and northern and southern France. The photograph here is from Eygalières in France; Brandt used a Superwide Hasselblad camera. You can see the original of this photograph on exhibition at the Preus Museum.