Bert Hardy

Bert Hardy was a press and documentary photographer from London. Born in 1913 in Blackfriars he was from a working class family and the eldest of seven. His first experience of photography was at the age of 14, he left school at went to work for a chemist where they also processed photos. His first real foray into photography was with a photograph taken of King George V and the Queen Mary in a passing carriage. He sold 200 small prints of his best view of the King. He would then go onto freelance for The Bicycle Magazine which enabled him to purchase his first small format Leica 35 mm. After a time with the General Photographic Agency he would found his own freelance company called Criterion.

It was then in 1941 that Hardy was recruited for what he is mostly known for, the Picture Post, the leading picture publication of the 30’s and 40’s. Using his Leica equipment, an unconventional camera for press photography of the time he photographed his 1941 photo essay about Blitz stressed fire-fighters which earned Picture Post its first photographer credit.

From 1942 until 1946 Bert Hardy served as a war photographer in the Army Film and Photographic Unit where he took part in the D-Day landings, liberation of Paris and was one of the first photographers into the newly liberated Belsen Camp. Towards the end of the War he transferred to Asia when he became Lord Mountbatten’s personal photographer for a short time before covering the Korean War and then he won the Missouri Pictures of the Year Award for his images of the Battle of Inchon.

After his time photographing in wars he would become a successful advertising photographer until he retired.


This image by Hardy called the Gorbals Boys was taken in the Gorbals area of Glasgow in 1948 for the Picture Post. This fantastic composition captures two young boys full of character and in a candid fashion. The perfect positioning of the focal point really sets the photography out in depth. Their position on the cur but beyond the lamp post brings them right into the foreground of the photograph with the lines leading behind them. The decisive moment that has been captured here brings together the movement of the children with there feet in obvious motion, the composition of the photograph, and also the content, the faces, charterer and poses of the children really give the image something more.


This powerful image capturing a tearful women biding farewell at Paddington Station in 1942. The focus of the image is on her and we do not see who she is saying goodbye to, this gives the possibility due to the year taken that it is her family and children being evacuated. The decisive moment again in this picture is combined with a beautiful composition framed by both pillar and train on either side while still being surrounded by people. This single women’s emotion and heart ache being picked out against everyone else still rushing around the platform. This is all delicately combined with the strong rays of sunshine coming down through the roof. This powerful atmospheric element really gives the image the added punctum.

Looking at both of these images, combined with others of Bert Hardy’s work I have seen has given me a further understanding on the importance of the shared nature of content and composition, either one can create an image of quality but by getting the balance right the image can become significant. It is this focus and interest in the balance between the two that I will be considering deeply when producing my fifth assignment.






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