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  • Writer's pictureIan Miller

Brian Duffy

Hello and welcome to my blog! Today I want to talk about one of my favorite photographers of all time: Brian Duffy. If you are a fan of the 1960s fashion and culture, you probably have seen some of his amazing images. He was one of the three photographers who defined the look of London in the 1960s, along with David Bailey and Terence Donovan. They were known as the "black trinity" by Norman Parkinson, a famous photographer of the previous generation. They revolutionized fashion photography with their fresh, spontaneous and dynamic style. They took their models out of the studio and into the streets, using 35mm cameras and natural light. They also captured the personalities of their subjects, from celebrities to politicians to gangsters.

Brian Duffy was born in London in 1933 to Irish parents. He had a difficult childhood during World War II and was evacuated twice. He discovered his artistic talent at school and went to St Martin's School of Art to study painting, but switched to dress design after realizing he was not good enough. He worked as an assistant designer for several fashion houses, including Balenciaga in Paris. He became interested in photography after seeing the contact sheets at Harper's Bazaar, where he freelanced as a fashion artist. He learned the craft by working as an assistant to various photographers until he got his first commission from The Sunday Times in 1957.

He joined British Vogue in 1957 and worked there until 1962, creating some of his most iconic images. He photographed models like Jean Shrimpton, Paulene Stone and Joanna Lumley, as well as celebrities like Michael Caine, John Lennon, Brigitte Bardot and David Bowie. He also shot several album covers for Bowie, including Aladdin Sane and Lodger. He was known for his technical skills, his creative ideas and his demanding personality. He once set fire to a model's hair for a dramatic effect. He also had a sense of humour and liked to make his models laugh and sing.

In 1979, he decided to quit photography and burned most of his negatives in his backyard. He said he was bored with the industry and wanted to do something else. He became a film producer and director, working on commercials and documentaries. He also restored furniture and became interested in gardening. He rarely talked about his photographic career until 2009, when his son Chris convinced him to do an exhibition and a documentary about his work. He rediscovered some of his surviving negatives and prints and was surprised by their quality and impact. He died in 2010 from pulmonary fibrosis, leaving behind a legacy of stunning images that captured the spirit of the swinging 60s.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post about Brian Duffy. If you want to see more of his work, you can visit his website or check out some of the books that feature his photographs. He was truly a genius of photography and an inspiration for many generations of photographers. Thank you for reading and stay tuned for more posts about photography!

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