Wednesday, March 27, 2013

London Child by Bill Brandt (1955)

This photo was executed by British photographer, Bill Brandt. Just like painters, photographers have a curtain style they lean towards. From the many different collections by Brandt, it is like a life line of evolutionary work with different subject of interest as time progresses. Clearly, he is influenced by surrealism, because of his very naturalistic pictures. Now, of course this sentence is redundant, but when one really thinks about it, I mean that he brings the realistic upon the viewer to interpret with free will in accordance to time, space, environment, and also a habituation.

Prices at auction (SOURCE 4)

Price Realized 14,380$
Estimate (5,748-8,622$)

Most often photographers have different claims on how they project their work, and it is really hard to asses a concrete meaning to everything, but it is all up to the outcome. In any experience with photography is to be possessed, it is easier for the eye to catch detail and hard work. The question is: did he just take the picture as one of many or was it thought-out?

Reading on different websites, I have realized that he praised to a high level, but when asked himself, he gives an explanation of what the “London Child” is about.

Most frequently reproduced of all my photographs, is the Portrait of a Young Girl resting on the floor of her London room. Perhaps it is not really a portrait. Her face fills the foreground and beyond the profile stands a chair and a chest of drawers; seen through two windows are houses on the other side of the street. This picture may have been subconsciously inspired by Orson Welles' film Citizen Kane. The technique of this film had a definite influence on my work at the time when I was starting to photograph nudes.
Feeling frustrated by modern cameras and lenses which seemed designed to imitate human vision and conventional sight, I was looking everywhere for a camera with a very wide angle. One day in a secondhand shop, near Covent Garden, I found a 70-year-old wooden Kodak. I was delighted. Like nineteenth-century cameras it had no shutter, and the wide-angle lens, with an aperture as minute as a pinhole, was focused on infinity.
In 1926, Edward Weston wrote in his diary, “The camera sees more than the eye, so why not make use of it?” My new camera saw more and it saw differently. It created a great illusion of space, an unrealistically steep perspective, and it distorted….

Now, personally, I have given the photo a specific interpretation. I believe that despite the amazing gratitude of work and inspiration, there is an essential meaning behind this picture. I think it is projecting the lonely child in the urbanized London wandering thought of what is next to come post world war two. The reason why this picture is so famous, in my opinion, would be that it is something that nearly everybody today in an urbanized society can relate to. The connection to nature, leisure, and play is completely neglected in the eyes of the girl. No gratitude or satisfaction is achieved, because it seems as if the child if going through an autonomic process of developing a spectra of meaning to the future, but then again, is it the motivation of the photo or the story of the photo?

Bill Brandt


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