Brian Brake spent his formative years in the South Island, attending Christchurch Boys High, where he developed an early interest in photography. He trained with Wellington portrait photographer Spencer Digby from 1945 to 1948, subsequently becoming a cameraman for the National Film Unit, New Zealand’s state-owned film production company. There, he honed his craft shooting documentaries, newsreels and films promoting New Zealand overseas. Brake travelled to London in 1954, and after meeting Henri Cartier-Bresson and Ernst Haas became a member of Magnum Photos in 1957. He worked as a freelance photographer until the mid-1960s, when he began to work for Life magazine. Brake is well known for his photographs of India and China from the late ‘50s and early ’60s. Brake returned to New Zealand in 1976, and in 1981 was awarded an OBE for his services to photography. His collection of prints and negatives is housed at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, which has mounted several posthumous shows of his work, most recently 2010’s Brian Brake: Lens on the World.