Brian Duffy (photographer)
Brian Duffy (15 June 1933 – 31 May 2010) was an English photographer and film producer, best remembered for his fashion photography of the 1960s and 1970s, iconic Vidal Sassoon takes of hairstyle model Frankie Stein amongst many others, and his creation of the iconic "Aladdin Sane" image for David Bowie.
Early life 
Brian Duffy was born to Irish parents in London in 1933. During World War II he was evacuated with his two brothers and sister to Kings Langley where he was taken in by the actors Roger Livesey and Ursula Jeans. After only three weeks his mother, unhappy about her four children being split up from the family insisted they all return to London. They were evacuated once more to Wales but returned to London having experienced living on a primitive farm after a month.
Once back in London Duffy, "had the most wonderful war", breaking into abandoned houses and terrorising the city streets. Only when it was over did he start school, attending a social engineering institution in South Kensington that was run by the London County Council. After getting into a series of bouts of trouble he was moved to another school in Kentish Town where emphasis was placed on treating troubled youths through cultural inclusion which involved trips to the Opera, ballets and galleries. It was here that Duffy unveiled 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.
Professional career 
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 to the photographer Adrian Flowers. While 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, Paulene Stone and Jean Shrimpton.
Along with fellow photographers David Bailey and Terence Donovan, he captured, and in many ways helped to create, the "Swinging London" of the 1960s: a culture of high fashion and celebrity chic. Together the "Terrible Three", as they came to be known by the British press, redefined not only the aesthetic of fashion photography but also the place of the photographer within the industry. 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:
|“||Before 1960, a fashion photographer was tall, thin and camp. But we three are different: short, fat and heterosexual!.||”|
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. He also worked on contract for French Elle for two periods the first between 1963 and 1968, and the second between 1971 and 1979.
As well as fashion photography, Duffy was the creative force behind record album sleeve art for three David Bowie album covers, most notably the iconic Aladdin Sane. Together with close friend Vidal Sasoon model and art muse Frankie Stein, who introduced Bowie to his first Capital radio interview, his work had a significant influence on Bowie's public image creation.
In 1965 Duffy was asked to create a Pirelli calendar which he shot on location in Monaco. He was commissioned to shoot a second calendar in 1973 which he created in collaboration with British pop artist Allen Jones and air brush specialist Phillip Castle.
In 1967 he set up a film production company with Len Deighton called Deighton Duffy and went on to produce the film adaptations of Deighton's book Only When I Larf (1968), and of the musical Oh! What a Lovely War, which was released in 1969.
In 1979 Duffy decided to give up photography, burning many of his negatives, though some were saved from the fire when the council objected to the smoke. Although a large number of his images have been lost, the ones that remain stand collectively as a comprehensive visual history of twenty-five years of British culture and fashion.
In 2009, at the behest of his son, Chris, Duffy resumed work as a photographer and shot images of people he had photographed in the 1960s and 70s. The story of his early career and comeback is documented in a BBC documentary shown in January 2010 titled The Man Who Shot the 60s.
Duffy died on 31 May 2010, after suffering from a degenerative lung disease.
In June 2011 Duffy's son Chris, authored a monograph of Duffy's images which was published by ACC Editions titled "Duffy - Photographer" and featured over 160 iconic images from the 1950s, 60s and 70s.
In 2011 the Victoria and Albert Museum London requested Duffy prints for their permanent display.
Duffy married June when he was twenty one years old. The couple had four children, Christopher, Charlotte, Samantha and Carey.
References and notes 
- Duffy Photographer. Duffy Photographer. Retrieved on 18 August 2011.
- Bill Harry's Sixties – David Bailey. Sixties City (2 January 1938). Retrieved on 18 August 2011.
- In "Cover Story: Duffy and the Lost Girls," by Kathy Brewis, Sunday Times, 17 August 2003
- "The cockney photographers". eastlondonhistory.com. Retrieved 17 October 2011.
- Calendario Pirelli – Sito Ufficiale. Pirellical.com. Retrieved on 18 August 2011.
- Nikkhah, Roya (5 June 2010). "Fashion and portrait photographer Brian Duffy dies aged 76". The Telegraph (London). Retrieved 5 June 2010.
-  Duffy Photographer
- Benedictus, Leo (12 January 2010). "Brian Duffy: 'Photography was dead by 1972'". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 26 April 2010.
- BBC Four: The Man Who Shot the 60s. Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved on 18 August 2011.
- Celebrated British photographer Brian Duffy has died. Bjp-online.com (4 June 2010). Retrieved on 18 August 2011.
Further reading 
- Brewis, Kathy (17 August 2003). "Cover Story: Duffy and the Lost Girls". London: The Sunday Times Magazine.
- "Photography's impact on the 60s" (in English). BBC. 9 August 2002. Retrieved on 10 September 2007.
- Duffy Photographer
- National Portrait Gallery
- Rock Explosion Website
- Chris Beetles Gallery
- Review of the exhibition Brian Duffy. The photographic genius (Florence, 12 January - 20 May 2012) (Italian)