December 07, 2012
When my friend JP asked if I'd like to come to the book launch of Brandt Nudes, a new publication of Bill Brandt's photography, I had to play it cool and not hyperventilate all over my keyboard. Photography lovers (like me) need no introduction to Bill Brandt. One of the most iconic photographers of the 20th century, he has been credited with reviving the genres of landscape and nude photography. I love his photos of British society---I thoroughly recommend The English At Home and Blackout and Blitz---but of all his work, his nudes are to me the most evocative.

I was rather upset to miss Bill Brandt's retrospective at the Victoria & Albert Museum in 2004 (I was studying in Malaysia and had barely applied for Central St. Martin's let alone dream that I would one day live in London!). So when I heard that two of his famous books Perspective of Nudes (1961) and Bill Brandt Nudes (1980) had been brought together in a single volume Brandt Nudes, I simply had to go to the launch. 

These photos are my own meagre homage to his high-contrast black & white photography. Would you like a side of film grain with your photos? Yes please.

En route to Mews42 Gallery, South Kensington, with my two favourite photographer friends Diana and Maximilian.

How terribly romantic is it to have a gallery in a mews house? Mews houses are a perfect example of preserving a feature of the past (they served as stable houses and fell out of function with the introduction of the motorcar) by converting and updating them to suit the needs of the present. I stepped out of the gallery onto the cobblestoned road, looked inside at the warm glow emanating from the gallery lights...and then turned around and saw Vincent Gallo. Max spotted Damien Hirst and regretted not mentioning that he'd smoked one of his pieces. Haha.

Accompanying the book launch was a selection of Brandt's iconic images, courtesy of the Bill Brandt Estate.

John-Paul Kernot (JP) & Mrs. Brandt. 

An elegant and intimate evening in the company of some of London's brightest and warmest, not to mention surrounded by the inspiring presence of one of Britain's most important photographers. 

Brandt Nudes was previously only available as a limited edition, but now combines Perspective of Nudes (1961) and Bill Brandt Nudes (1980) in a single volume. I'd love a series of Bill Brandts for my home, but sadly at £2000 per print I'll have to wait a little longer.

In the meanwhile, Brandt Nudes will be a stunning addition to my coffee table. Just in time for Christmas, too!


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