Jane Bown – 100 Portraits

My first target for my day off was to go to the Northumbria University Gallery to see the quite unexpected exhibition Jane Bown – 100 Portraits. I read in Amateur Photographer that it was on there, and I would have been really disappointed with myself if I hadn’t caught it before it closes next Thursday. Jane Bown has been a portrait photographer for the Observer newspaper since 1949, and in her long and distinguished career has created some quite wonderful images that really capture the subjects, often in unexpected ways. I was a fan of her work long before I even contemplated doing anything with a camera beyond simple snapshots.

Jane works almost always in black and white, hand-held and aims for spontaneity. And it works. While I’ve seen some of the pictures before, it was quite different seeing large prints, with all the details clearly visible. Worth a visit if you can get there if you’re at all interested in photography, faces, or famous figures of the twentieth century.

If you can’t get there, you can see her work in this quite impressive slideshow:

Interactive: The Complete Jane Bown – Guardian

And I’ll be getting the book. I had a quick look at a copy while I was at the exhibition, and I liked it. Large, nicely presented and containing loads of pictures, which is pretty much all you could ask for.