Jane Bown has died. She was 89 years old and one of the most accomplished and prolific female photographers of her generation. She photographed mainly in black and white and often on an old 40 year old camera. Her subjects ranged from writers to rock stars to political activists – and she captured them all in the most extraordinary way as if you were seeing something new in each person for the first time no matter how well-known they may be.
So many times as a child growing up I remember being drawn to Jane Bown’s photo’s. I was quite literally made to read the Sunday newspapers as a child which mainly comprised of reading the Observer magazine (becau
se that had pictures) and pretending to skim-read the broadsheet. It was here I started to notice oh there is a
nother photo from that woman Jane Bown. I was always drawn to her work and wondered what she was like. The 9yr old me imagined that poor Jane Bown might be quite lonely and quiet as it seemed she was always by herself – sometimes in socially explosive situations like the removal of the women protesters from Greenham Common. I also thought she was really brave and I guess had a sort of over-imaginitive child would-be-photographer crush on her.
I thought she was so lucky to be able to take photo’s in all these situations – what a great job I mused. Once you know Jane Bown’s work it is impossible not to spot it and It is similarly impossible to choose a favourite from an incredible archive of 6 decades of striking and brilliant work – much of which you can see here.
And here is the great woman herself. A true mistress of the shutter – check her out!