Bill BRANDT, East Durham coal-miner just home from the pit Enlarge 1 /1


Germany 1904 – Great Britain 1983

  • France 1929, England from 1931

East Durham coal-miner just home from the pit 1937 Materials & Technique: photographs, gelatin silver photograph

Dimensions: image 33.4 h x 28.8 w cm sheet 33.4 h x 28.8 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1979
Accession No: NGA 79.2276

Brandt’s images displaying a bleakly poetic vision of the industrial towns of the north were taken on a single two week stay. The visit was prompted in part by the Jarrow Crusade of the year before in which over 200 marchers travelled to Westminster in London to protest against unemployment and poverty. In 1936, three out of every four men in Jarrow were unemployed and the town had the second highest infant mortality rate in Britain. While in East Durham he visited the home of a coal miner and shot a number of images. Their forthright and tough character is testament to Brandt’s skill in capturing the essence of his subjects’ lives. While attesting to a harsh life of poverty he is also able to convey a life of dignity and worth.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra