Monday, 22 March 2010

Brian Duffy

Brian Duffy is well known 1960s photographer known for his fashion pics, and culture photos.
Brian Duffy, born on the 15th of June 1933, is a British photographer and film producer, best remembered for his fashion photography of the 60s and 70s and his creation of the iconic Aladdin Sane image for David Bowie.
Duffy was born to Irish parents in London in 1933. He had a short period of evacuation in WW2. Only when WW2 was over did he start school, attending a social engineering institution in South Kensington that was run by the LCC. At school he showed his own creative tendencies and upon finishing school he applied to St. Martins School of Art. In 1950 he began art school at first wishing to be a painter but soon changed to dress design. He finished in 1953 and immediately began working as an assistant designer at Susan Small Dresses after which he worked for Victor Steibel, preferred designer to Princess Margaret. Following this, on a visit to Paris, he was offered a job at Balenciaga but was unable to take it up.
Socialising with actors, musicians and royalty, together they represented a new breed of photographer and found themselves elevated to celebrity status. Brian Duffy commented on the culture shock the three were to the industry.
Apart from Vogue, Duffy also worked for publications including Glamour, Esquire, Town Magazine, Queen Magazine as well as The Observer, The Times and The Daily Telegraph, to name but a few. He also worked on contract for French Elle for two periods.

In 1955 he began freelancing as a fashion artist for Harper's Bazaar. It was here that he first came into contact with photography. Inspired by the photographic contact sheets he saw passing through the art director's desk he decided to find a job as a photographers assistant. Unsuccessfully, he applied for a job with John French, after which he managed to get a job at Carlton studios and then at Cosmopolitan Artists. He left there to take a job as assistant the photographer Adrian Flowers. Whilst working for Flowers he received his first photographic commission from Ernestine Carter, the then fashion editor of The Sunday Times.

In 1957 he was hired by British Vogue where he remained working until 1963. During this period he worked closely with top models of the period, including Joy Weston, Jennifer Hocking, Pauline Stone and Jean Shrimpton.
He gave up being serious photographer at the end of the seventies.
But his work was brought back to the industry in 2009, with a series of photos of people he had photoed in his early career. The story of his early career and comeback is documented in a BBC documentary shown in January, 2010 titled The Man Who Shot the 60's, a TV shown on BBC Four.
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