Bill Brandt (2 May 1904 – 20 December 1983) was a British photographer and photojournalist, well-known for his images of British society for such magazine as Lilliput and Picture Post, later his distorted nudes, portraits of famous artists and landscapes.
Bill Brandt is widely considered to be one of the most important British photographers of the 20th century. Although Bill Brandt’s long artistic career spanned social documentary work, landscapes and portraiture, shortly before he died, he stated that it was his nudes that were his greatest love and that all his other work was commercial.
Bill Brandt’s early nudes taken within austere Victorian interiors, were menacing and often disturbing, using props to imply Surrealist narratives, the beach nudes show Brandt to be consumed by formal composition. Perspective of Nudes, published in 1961, were taken over the course of a decade.
In his later nudes, Brandt continued to pursue the uncanny, discombobulating body parts and brings the smooth textures of the flesh into sharp relief with the jagged cliffs of the background. This image is perhaps Brandt’s best-known beach nude.
It shows a pear-shaped back, with wide hips and projecting thighs in the foreground slimming down to delicate shoulders, without any trace of neck or head. Brandt reshapes reality, isolating the surface of the smooth-skinned back, and contrasts it against the rough pebbles and jagged cliffs. The distorted scale and high contrast heighten this uncanny effect and turn the familiar into the unknown.