Category Archives: Photography

R.I.P DUFFY

Duffy by David Bailey

On Monday night a great friend and mentor very sadly passed away. Brian Duffy, known professionally and to friends as Duffy was not only one of the greatest British fashion photographers of all time, but was also a talented artist, a fervent Marxist, a loving grandfather, father and husband and one of the most inspiring people I have ever been fortunate enough to know.

Working together with Duffy and his son Chris on various shoots, helping to compile the Duffy archive, curate his exhibition and create his documentary are all processes that I feel extremely proud to have been a part of. The aesthetic value of the photographic legacy he leaves behind is unsurpassed. As well as his own experimental work it includes some of the most iconic photographic images ever created including Bowie’s “Aladdin Sane,” that notorious Benson and Hedges advertising campaign of the seventies, two Pirelli calendars, The Beatles recording at Abbey Road – thus far I’ve hardly touched upon the wealth of imagery that his archive contains.

To take a look of some of his most notorious works, visit The Duffy Website:  http://www.duffyphotographer.com

Peace and Love Duffy, you will be greatly remembered and sorely missed.

Eyjafjallajokull

Grounded by ashes….Icelandic volcanic dust cloud sets skies to stand still…Eyjafallajokull’s Scream


Its not often that headlines read like poetry.

Airport closures aside, I think that we should all acknowledge the mindblowing beauty of the situation.

BEHOLD the wrath of mother nature….

respect.

For more epic photographs check out this link : http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2010/04/more_from_eyjafjallajokull.html?camp=localsearch%3Aon%3Atwit%3Abigpic

27th Tallest Building….

Oh! the beauty of the concrete jungle. Give me geometry. Concrete + Glass = beauty (Ugliness is in the eye of the beholder)

Built between 1963-1966, Center point was one of the first skyscrapers in London and is now the 27th tallest building in the city. I went to Tottenham Court Road to indulge in the hideous beauty of one of London’s most notorious architectural contradictions. ….

ESCAPE with DUFFY pt.2

After a two year preparation project headed by his son Chris, next week Duffy will display his photographs for the first time. The exhibition will contain 60 virtually unseen portraits, fashion photographs and personal pictures taken by the man who, along with his two friendly rivals Terence Donovan and David Bailey, helped to revolutionize the photography business.

Duffy is a  friend, mentor and photographic legend – His body of work, an extraordinary one that powerfully documents the vibrancy of London in the ‘Swinging 60s. ‘ The exhibition is being held at Chris Beetles Gallery, 8 & 10 Ryder Street, London, SW1Y 6QB and opens to the public from Thursday October 15th. The Show runs until Saturday 7th November.

Jean Shrimpton by Duffy. Part of exhibition '09

Jean Shrimpton by Duffy. Part of exhibition '09

Duffy website – www.duffyphotographer.com

BBC on Duffy – news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/8287779.stm

Chris Beetles – www.chrisbeetles.com

ESCAPE with Duffy

Scary_monsters

This is a little something I pulled from the vintage prints that I have been archiving at work. Having worked with Duffy  for nine months now, I have come to know his photographs extremely well. Aside from those that he burnt back in the early eighties, I have seen every image, on every contact sheet, from every roll of film, from every photo shoot that he ever did. With an archive full of actors, musicians, models and various other celebrities, Duffy was surprised when I told him that out of everything this was probably my favourite photograph.

It’s from a shoot that Duffy did in 1979 for Bowie’s Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) album. Being a huge Bowie fan, much of my love for this picture can be easily accounted for. However, this wasn’t the image chosen for Scary Monsters, in fact this image has never before been published or even seen, aside from by those involved in the shoot.   Whereas Duffy’s more iconic images such as his Aladdin Sane cover, have been retouched, consciously selected and then admired by many to achieve such status, I love the fact that this one was forgotten for thirty years and for that reason I loved discovering it. I could perhaps align the thrill to that of finding buried treasure.  There is something about Bowie’s unperfected facial expression that gets me every time. In a way I find the photograph to be extremely revealing in that it humanizes Bowie. This scornful look which, was not included in his contrived and manufactured public image, lowers him from the elevated, almost superhuman level of the pop/rock star.  What we have before us here, is a man in a ridiculous costume looking pretty indifferent.

I asked Duffy what his thoughts on the photograph were :

” You like it? Yes me too. You may have noticed that in many of my male portraits my subjects look as if they’re on the verge of smacking me…. ha! (Duffy acquired a reputation, of which he is proud, for being a bit of an anarchist.) That was my technique, I would say something to rile them or wind them up. It won me some great photographs -full of genuine male aggression. You may also notice that the same can not be said for my female portraits!”

Hmmm this does seem to be the case….

Christine Keeler by Duffy

Christine Keeler by Duffy

For more on Duffy check out his website: www.duffyphotographer.com and come visit our exhibition which opens at Chris Beetles photographic gallery in Mayfair from October 14th : www.chrisbeetles.com

Also watch out for the Duffy documentary (and  my own cameo!), which is coming to the BBC in November.

-SW