A London exhibition is set to display the works of esteemed photographer Jane Bown!
Jane Bown began to develop her photographic eye in 1946 when she was accepted into Guildford School of Art’s photography programme, the only full-time course of its kind. Whilst her youthful shyness almost overshadowed a natural talent, Bown’s unassuming and contemplative personality would become her biggest asset as she developed an inimitable photographic technique.
In comparison to her male contemporaries Bown had little interest in complex equipment, preferring to gauge the light as shadows fell on her outstretched fist rather than relying on a light meter. She became known for her unobtrusive aura while photographing celebrities more accustomed to the paparazzi; often all she required was one reel of film, fifteen minutes with her subject and indirect sunlight from a window. From 1949 onwards Bown became a rare female fixture frequently called upon by The Observer.
Her extensive portfolio ranged from women’s demonstrations, political strikes and poignant street photography to her more recognised portraits of cultural figures such as Björk, The Beatles and Mick Jagger. Featured within the exhibition is her revered portrait of notoriously camera-shy Samuel Beckett, captured in a dreary back entrance to the Royal Court Theatre in London.
Displaying her tenacity and determination in an interview for The Guardian almost 40 years later, Bown stated that she seized the opportunity, literally grabbing Beckett’s arm in order to capture her shot. It has since become the most famous image of the writer and one of Jane Bown’s most recognisable works. Jane Bown’s photography conveys an emotional narrative through the wordless expression in the eyes of her subject. The work within ‘Jane Bown:
The Observer’ cannot be disconnected from Bown’s distinctive character and the idiosyncratic stories which surround the creation of each picture.
The exhibition will take place from the 28th of June to the 14th of August at Proud Central