7. Camera in London
In 1948 ‘Camera in London’ was published by Focal Press.
This is particularly noteworthy for the inclusion of an essay by Brandt which sets out his approach to photography. Brandt points out that modern equipment is so flexible that it difficult to decide on any particular subject-matter saying: “The good photographer will produce a competent picture every time whatever his subject. But only when his subject makes an immediate and direct appeal to his own interests will he produce work of distinction.”
“It may be that he already has some existing interest – in lighting, people’s expressions, science – which will determine his choice, because where his interests are there will be his seeing eye also. If his is not lucky enough to find his own field in this way then either deliberately or compelled by indecision he has to experiment. My own experimenting was somewhat haphazard. I always had an interest in architecture so that early in my career I photographed buildings.”
“But my pictures did not satisfy me. I looked upon my work then as the recording of buildings and as records my pictures were adequate. Yet they lacked something, some quality which I could not name and only vaguely felt would give me pleasure. So I turned to landscapes. I am not sure why I did this because although I appreciate the beauties of the countryside I have never thought of myself as a lover of nature. And yet here was a seeming paradox. Something in these pictures of landscapes pleased me although I had no great interest in the subject-matter. Slowly a new development took place. Almost without my realising it stone-work began to encroach upon my landscapes.”