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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

The English at Home

ON VIEW FROM JANUARY 26 / CENTRE FOR BRITISH PHOTOGRAPHY / LONDON / Art

The photographer Bill Brandt, born in Hamburg to a British father and a German mother, moved permanently to England in 1930, when he was 26. In 1935, Brandt’s first book was published, The English at Home. The book was unusual for its time because it captured the stark disparity between social classes. The living rooms Brandt shot were either tastefully adorned or conspicuously bare, and the people who floated through the rooms wore the caps of service or the pressed cricket whites of privilege. At the new Centre for British Photography—which provides access to 3,000 works by 100 British artists from Claire and James Hyman’s collection—an exhibition themed after Brandt’s touchstone book explores contemporary depictions of home. “There is a strand of documentary photography loved by the British which is epitomized by Bill Brandt,” says Hyman. “It is often quite quirky and narrative and reflects contemporary life. It has been a huge influence on photographers in this country.” —E.C.

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