Bill Brandt

Key Works. An overview of British Photography

The Hyman Collection of British Photography holds vintage photographs and editioned prints of many of the most famous and iconic photographs in British Photographic history as well as remarkable, but less familiar, images.

Key Works presents photographs from the collection to chart the ways in which British photographers have responded to the world around them from the documentary strategies of Bill Brandt and Picture Post photographers such as Bert Hardy and Kurt Hutton, through Roger Mayne and Tony Ray Jones, and on to Martin Parr, Paul Graham and their legacy.

As well as including forms of documentary photography, the collection focuses on artists working in photography who have pursued more subjective or conceptual strategies. The collection has an equal number of works by male and female artists.

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Behind Closed Doors

Behind Closed Doors looks at the domestic interior in British Photography. It takes as its starting point three of the most important bodies of work by Bill Brandt: his first book, appropriately entitled The English at Home (1935), his documentation of poverty in northern England, and his pioneering domestic nudes. It explores the parametres of these bodies of work: from documentary to fiction, realism to something more surreal. This historical engagement suggests that to understand contemporary depictions of the home there is much to learn in exploring a lineage that extends from Bill Brandt through the crucial years of Picture Post magazine (Kurt Hutton, Burt Hardy) and on to more conceptual strategies since the 1970s. It ends with some of the most important work of recent years, the devasting series, Small Town Inertia, by Jim Mortram.

The photographers include Cecil Beaton, Bill Brandt, Anna Fox, Ken Grant, Bert Hardy, Nick Hedges, Kurt Hutton, Colin Jones, Karen Knorr, Daniel Meadows, Peter Mitchell, Jim Mortram, John Myers, David Moore, Martin Parr, Polly Penrose, Jo Spence.

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Picture Post: photo-journalism and the internationalising of British photography.

The Hyman Collection is delighted to have acquired an exceptionally rare complete, un-bound, run of the famous Picture Post magazine in impeccable condition. The collection also has many of the actual vintage photographs used in the magazine, which often bear the original instructions and mark-ups for publication, by photographers such as Bill Brandt, Bert Hardy, Thurston Hopkins, Kurt Hutton and Grace Robertson.

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Sign of the Times. Word and Image in British Photography

Photographs in the Hyman Collection collection allow one to explore the use of word and image in British Photogtraphy and allow one to chart a number of strategies by which text is used to provide a commentary on what is shown or to deepen its meaning. At its most pobvious text may indicate a time or place but frequently it introduces an additional dimension whether it be humour, social commentary, political engagement or semiotic concerns. Initially embedded within the picture, by the 1970s text was increasingly used to accompany the image, often screenprinted beneath it, to direct the viewer's response to what is shown in ways that may be humorous but are often subversive, ironic, satirical or polemical.

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Natural Selection

As well as exploring the rural life of the village and countryside, many British photographers have explored nature and addressed the natural environment. At times these depictions are mundane, and at other times nostalgic, romanticised, political and personal.

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Beside the Seaside

As an Island Nation the coast and beach are highly charged culural and national symbols. British photographers have responded to the subjeect in a variety of ways. Bill Brandt provides the emblematic image of someone on a seaside holiday. Keith Vaughan provides pictures of innocence just moments before the outbreak of war. Bert Hardy chronicles life on a fishing trawler at sea. Fay Godwin celebfrates its rugged beauty. Mark Power's brililantly presents the locations listed in the celebrated BBC radio broadcasts of The Shipping Forecast. Meanwhile, for other photographers the beach becomes the setting for explorations of class and society as in the works of Tony Ray Jones, Marketa Luskacova, Colin Jones, Martin Parr, Anna Fox, The Caravan Gallery and Simon Roberts.

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Capital City

The Hyman Collection of British Photography includes works from England, Nothern Ireland, Scotland and Wales that trace the lives of communities in rural and urban parts of Britain. In addition the collection includes a strong holding of work which focuses on London and its various regions and explores class and society, from homes in Belgravia to the gypsy community by the Westway Roundabout and from the City of London to the Inner City.

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A Night in London

Inspired by the lead provided by Bill Brandt's seminal book, A Night in London, which was published eighty years ago this year, The Hyman Collection presents works that reflect aspects of the nocturnal life of London.

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Street Theatre

The Hyman Collection of British Photography has a number of works which take as their setting the streets of Britain. At times what is captured is an unguarded moment but often the photographer explores the performative element of what is shown and foregrounds the relationship between the camera and the subject.

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Childhood

A central thread of the Hyman Collection is intimacy. Pictures of children are a leitmotif since the earliest days of photography and the collection includes a range of responses to childhood with a particular emphasis on works in which there is an evident closeness or familiairty between photographer and subject. The theme runs through the British photography in the Hyman Collection from Bill Brandt to the present.

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