Today is the 82nd birthday of the photographer Brian Duffy. His famous images are immediately recognizable as should his name be. I went a bit different and used a chronological description from his website as a biography. The world is a better place because he was in it and still feels the loss that he has left.
NAME: Brian Duffy
BIRTHDATE: 15 June 1933
DATE OF DEATH: 31 May 2010 (aged 76)
OCCUPATION: Photographer, film producer
BEST KNOWN FOR: English photographer and film producer, best remembered for his fashion and portrait photography of the 1960s and 1970s.
1933 Conceived in Dublin, Born in London.
1950 Attended St.Martins school of art to study painting but switched to dress design.
53-54 Finished dress design and worked as assistant designer at Susan Small Dresses and then at Victor Steibel (Princess Margaret’s dress designer).
1954 Later that year went to Paris and was offered a job with Balenciaga but turned it down.
1955 Freelanced as a fashion artist including work for Harpers Bazaar. During this time Duffy saw some photographic contact sheets on the art directors desk. This appealed to Duffy and inspired him to think about photography and find a job as a photographic assistant.
Applied for job with John French but was unsuccessful. However got a job as an assistant at Carlton Studios but soon left for a better job at Cosmopolitan Artists who represented David Hurne, Ivor Sharpe and Ken Russell. Left Cosmopolitan Artists and took a job as an assistant to photographer Adrian Flowers.
While working for Adrian, Duffy shot his first photographic commission for The Sunday Times for Fashion Editor Ernestine Carter.
57-63 Hired by British Vogue under Art Director John Parsons and worked closely with models Jean Shrimpton, Joy Weston, Jennifer Hocking & Pauline Stone.
1961 Went to New York and was hired by art director Miki Denhof to shoot for Glamour Magazine
62-63 In Paris shooting Fashion for Elle Magazine and also photographed William Burroughs & Gregory Corsa amongst others.
1962 Brian Duffy, David Bailey & Terence Donovan dubbed the, “Terrible Trio,”by The Sunday Times and “The Black Trinity” by Norman Parkinson.
1963 Set up his own Studio in Swiss Cottage, North London.
1965 Commissioned to shoot his first Pirelli Calendar, shot on location in the South of France.
63-66 French Elle – Became regular contributor under art director Peter Knapp.
67-71 Set up film production company DEIGHTON DUFFY with Len Deighton at 142 Piccadilly, London.
67-68 Produced “Only When I Larf” starring David Hemmings. 68-69 Produced the musical film “Oh What a Lovely War” with Len Deighton.
1972 Commissioned to work on a second (1973) Pirelli Calendar with British pop artist Allen Jones and air brush specialist Philip Castle.
1973 Designed, shot and named David Bowie’s Aladdin Sane album cover (one of three album covers shot for Bowie – including Scary Monsters & The Lodger) which went on to become a cultural icon.
73-78 Regular contributor to The Sunday Times Magazine, The Telegraph Magazine The Observer and Harpers & Queen.
74-79 French Elle (second period). 1977 Commissioned by top London advertising agency Collett Dickenson Pearce to shoot the ground breaking, surreal, Benson & Hedges advertisements.
1978 Award winning Smirnoff stills campaigns for Young & Rubican Agency.
1979 Decided to call it a day and attempted to burn his archive but was stopped by a local council employee.
1980 Shot one last album cover for David Bowie – Scary Monsters
2009 First exhibition at Chris Beetles Gallery Mayfair, London (now Beetles & Huxley)* See Exhibits page for full list of exhibition since 2009
2009 BBC Documentary “The Man Who Shot The Sixties” One hour documentary on Duffy’s life and work.
2011 Publication of first monograph “Duffy Photographer” Published by ACC Editions
2013 Named as one of one hundred ‘most influential photographers of all time’ by the British Journal of Photography.
2014 Publication of Duffy / Bowie – “Five Sessions” Published by ACC Editions
2014 Publication of French Elle – “In The Eyes of Brian Duffy” – Published in French by Glenat