45 Comments

Thanks for these reminders of Bown's incredible portraits. Early in my career I thought to myself that I'd know I'd 'made it' as a photographer when I get commissioned by The Observer to do a portrait shoot. The closest I've got so far is a portrait on the cover of The Guardian's occasional literature supplement. I'm patient though...

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Great stuff — the Beckett one is extraordinary. Thanks Andrew!

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Lovely insights into the work of one of my favourite portrait photographers. Thanks!

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Great post and collection of her work! Years ago I read a story about her shoot with Queen Elizabeth II—in one of Annie Leibovitz's books, I think. Apparently she showed up alone and asked the Queen to help her move the furniture for the shoot. I just love that story, and I'd never seen this image of her! Thanks!

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Great post Andrew of a wonderful photographer. You and I already discussed in the past the visit I made to the Guardian/Observer offices to see the 2007/2008 exhibition ‘Unknown Bown’ - her portraits are beautiful but my favourite of hers is ‘Southend-on-sea’ from 1954 and to quote the Guardian “A classic early shot by Jane, in which a moment of great tenderness is captured surreptitiously from behind.”

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First time learning about Jane Bown! Thanks for sharing. I am inspired by the phrase “some people take pictures, I find them”.

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Thank you, Andrew. Delighted to have discovered Jane Bown. Also smiling because the Olympus OM-1 was my first camera (my father handed it down to me when i was a teenager).

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Striking and poignant black and white imagery! Jane Brown is a true master of the photographic medium. Thank you for sharing. Prior to reading your post I was not aware of her work. Truly inspirational.

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This is a new study for me, thank you for sharing. Goes to show what you can do with minimal equipment and a purpose.

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Thanks, Andrew, now I know the origin of the quote. The Björk and Sinead ones - captured something invisible.

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Wonderful portrait! Thank you for sharing! Great read!

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Aug 24, 2023Liked by Andrew Eberlin

What an absolute delight, Andrew. Thank you. I first came across Jane Bown in an exhibition of her work at the National Portrait Gallery and was blown away. The book we purchased at the time - sometime in the mid '80s - was poured over and lent out multiple times as I enthused about Jane's extraordinary eye... and eventually the last person (I can't remember who) never returned the book, and it has left a visceral hole ever since.

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What a portfolio! The smouldering intensity of the Beckett headshot in particular bares a tortured soul.

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I’ve seen and loved so many of these separately over the years but had no idea who they came from, thank you for this enlightening post !

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Aug 23, 2023Liked by Andrew Eberlin

Queen Elizabeth from Jane's eye sees the essence of her Soul ~ beautiful. Although it took her four rolls of film to show us the essence of Margaret Thatcher; she did it! Thank you, Andrew for introducing her work to us.

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Except for the Queen, they’re all portraying her… Not easy to get the unportrayable Cartier-Bresson. Another discovery for me 😉

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