Jane Bown: A Lifetime of Looking

Jane Bown

This is the definitive monograph of the legendary British photographer Jane Bown.

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Date Published
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Featuring 200 black-and-white and colour images, this book includes her iconic portraits and extensive photojournalism from the Greenham Common evictions to the Iranian embassy siege. Bown’s pictures allow us to walk back in time as she captured – with curiosity, respect and wit – the people of the UK: you’ll find heroic strikers, soulful miners, proud dogwalkers, busy fishermen, dancing girls, picnicking postmen and excited daytrippers side by side with the Queen, Mick Jagger, Charlie Chaplain, Margot Fonteyn, Sin√©ad O’Connor, the Beatles and Spike Lee. This definitive collection not only presents Jane’s well-known shots, it includes substantial material that has never been seen before.

This book presents the most comprehensive collection of the photographer’s work – created during the 1940s through the 2010s. The book will be edited by friend and curator Luke Dodd.

A cloth bound, slipcased limited edition which includes a print of Samuel Beckett is available from The Guardian Bookshop (£150.00)

Critic Reviews

This mischievously edited book (the juxtapositions are lovely...) is a testament to the Observer photographer Jane Brown's instinct for the perfect - and quick - picture. You forget how many of the genuinely iconic images of, well, icons, are actually hers.

Critic Reviews

[A] wonderful book. From Charlie Chaplin to Bjork, her photographs are always surprising, and frequently moving, too.

Critic Reviews

This superb collection of [Bown's] work contrasts the unassuming, modest, private woman with the worldwide acclaim for her public work.

Daily Mail
Critic Reviews

This seals [Bown's] reputation as one of Britain's greatest photographers.

Independent on Sunday
Critic Reviews

Her ability to get under a sitter's skin can be seen in this collection, in portraits of James Baldwin, Mick Jagger, the Queen and a rather magical picture of Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor and Noel Coward all laughing, dressed as though for a day at the races ... The book is a joy in itself but also serves as a kind of record of the second half of the twentieth century.

A Little Bird
Critic Reviews

There's a reason why Jane Bown garnered the nickname 'Tenacity Jane', for the woman never missed a shot ... In Jane Bown: A Lifetime of Looking you can see her magic touch at work with portraits of everyone from Mick Jagger and Margot Fonteyn to miners, fisherman and dancing girls. Exquisite.


Bown joined the Observer in 1949. Working almost exclusively in black and white with natural light, she produced stunning photographs that revealed the private side of her famous subjects. She loved cats; in her view, “once you’ve owned a cat you are hooked forever”. She was made a CBE in 1995. She died in December 2014. Robin Christian is a…

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