Bert Hardy was born in London in May of 1913, as the eldest of seven children in a working class family. He left school at the age of fourteen to work as a messenger, collecting and delivering film and prints from West End chemists for a film processing company. Captivated by photography and combining his interest in cycling, he began freelancing for The Bicycle magazine. There, he came into contact with the new miniature 35mm cameras. After buying a second-hand Leica, he worked for a photographic agency before being taken on as a staff photographer at the prestigious Picture Post magazine in 1940.
Hardy was called to join the Army's photographic unit, covering the Normandy Landings, the Allies march into Paris, the crossing into Germany, and the traumatic liberation of Belsen concentration camp. A highly gifted war photographer, he also covered news stories around the world. Hardy is best known for his warm and humane portrayal of everyday Britain. His assignment to capture life in the Gorbals of Glasgow was ground-breaking and was followed by further memorable photo-essays on the lives of ordinary people, often at the margins of society.
Hardy's humanity is present throughout his long career with Picture Post. His natural ability to mix brought out the best in people. His talent places him amongst the best of twentieth century photographers. Hardy died at the age of 82 in 1995.