AboutJANE BOWN'S first photograph for The Observer was published in December 1949, beginning a career with the newspaper that has spanned six decades. Now, for the first time, previously unpublished pictures, the ones that didn't make it on to the page, are brought together in this definitive collection of her work.
Of the 100 assignments included in the exhibition and the accompanying book, over half the pictures used are alternative or unused images from portrait sessions for which Jane Bown is already well known. After every shoot the âdefinitive' image used tended to be chosen by the picture editor, sometimes on the basis of something as arbitrary as the space available and pictures were regularly cropped. Yet Jane Bown often captured a range of images that were just as compelling, if not better, than the ones chosen for publication, all which have been meticulously archived and are included in this exhibition.
Accompanying some of the images featured in the book are Jane Bown's recollections of the day the pictures were taken, including anecdotes from, amongst others, her photo sessions with Francis Bacon, Bono, Lucian Freud, Jayne Mansfield, Rudolph Nureyev and Vita Sackville-West.
Working almost exclusively in black and white, and in natural light, Jane Bown is known for working quickly, and unobtrusively, with an unerring instinct for capturing the perfect moment, even in the midst of a media scrum or rushed mid-interview. This collection brings together some of her most classic portraits, illustrating why Jane Bown has been hailed as one of the UK's pre-eminent portrait photographers.