Bill Brandt was an important English photographer. Actually, English–German, on his mother’s side. Born in Germany prior to WWI, Brandt eventually disavowed his German ancestry and claimed to have been born in England.
It’s said that he took up photography while recovering from tuberculosis at a clinic in Switzerland. Then, while undergoing psychoanalysis he was introduced to and created a portrait of the American poet Ezra Pound. Pound introduced Brandt to Man Ray.
Brandt worked with/for Many Ray in his Paris studio for several months, where he was exposed to the surrealists.
Brandt was essentially a photojournalist, his early work depicted the English classes in and around London. He documented life and landscapes of Northern England and experimented with night photography. He completed an entire series on the Blackout and Blitz for the Ministry of Information during WWII and created portraits of many important artists and writers of the time.
For me, by far the most captivating images of his career, his perspective nudes, where completed in the 1960’s. I’ve read that he acquired a mahogany and brass camera with a wide-angle lens. Doesn’t that just sound nice? I want one :)
The wide-angle lens creates distortion when the subject is close to the camera and Brandt stated that look of the images where inspired be the cinematography of Orson Welles (one of my favorite film makers!!)
Here is a link to his official website