So, here’s Jane Bown.
Now, I wanted to start this post with; “Jane Bown is so interesting…” or maybe “Jane Bown: The Famous and amazing photographer…” but neither seem to fit.
Firstly, because that’s not really her style now is it? Characteristically unpretentious Jane Bown is the woman responsible for some of the most astonishing portraits: politicians, royalty, artists, dancers, nuns and ordinary people all caught, and held in her lens. Exquisite.
Jane’s approach to taking photographs is what impresses me the most. She works quickly and discreetly, using only available light, usually in black and white and without any assistants. From this process magic is made and Jane’s work often hovers in my mind for days.
One of the reasons I like Jane Bown is that I find so much of her spirit is evident in her work. Okay let me explain, she’s a notoriously shy and tiny “five foot, half an inch” English woman yet her work is bold, quick and clever. She is most well-known for her portrait photography yet she famously describes herself as merely “a hack”. Pomp and formality aren’t really Jane’s thing and yet her portraiture of some of the famous and powerful are extraordinary. She truly has a gift for capturing something special in people.
Jane Bown touches on something that we often discuss in the Frontier office – the line between the artist and their work. Is it the artist that is interesting? Is it the work? Can they stand on their own? I like Jane Bown because I find her work exquisite and her process inspiring.
Jane Bown’s work is well known and celebrated all over the world, most recently in the book Exposures.