However, the most revolutionary aspect of Brandt’s photography was only just beginning. His work for Harpers put him in touch with the models that he now started to photograph nude and initially some of the work was published in Lilliput, such as this example that appeared in March 1949.
Aaron Scarf takes up the story: “For over 15 years Brandt was preoccupied with photographing nudes. This was not nude photography as one ordinarily thinks of it. Nor was it merely an interest in the distortion of perspective scale. Brandt was driven by an urge to find something beyond the real. Something was awakened in him by the artists and filmmakers who were concerned with the world beyond human vision, yet not beyond human comprehension. He committed a rare act among photographers. He submitted completely to a camera which would not let him see.
That camera taught him to see more intensely, to perceive in every object the image of another. And the discipline of the female form became the metamorphosed elements of new, imaginary landscapes”.
In speaking about these images Brandt quoted Orson Welles, whose film Citizen Kane and greatly influenced him: “The camera is much more than a recording apparatus. It is a medium via which messages reach us from another world”.
In the introduction to the second edition of Shadow of Light, Mark Haworth-Booth commented that “Brandt here mastered a new dialect for his medium and created a set of images of the very shape of love which we can find very few equivalents for in photography and outside it only in some of the paintings of Picasso and the sculptures of Jean Arp”. However, it does seem to me that the nudes exemplify the qualities found in Brandt’s other work: detachment, surrealism and a strong sense of mystery.