Duffy defined the visual language of London in the swinging sixties, but in 1979, at the height of his career, he decided to call it quits, took the majority of his photographic work into the back garden where he set it on fire.
That’s rather odd (and unfortunate) I know, but luckily, Duffy’s son Chris dedicated years searching through archives and publications around the world, and today, Idea Generation Gallery in London is hosting an exhibition of over 160 photographs until August 28th, 2011.
This is the first ever full retrospective of Brian Duffy and it coincides with the publication of “Duffy” – the first and only book of his work.
In 1957, Duffy started working at Vogue, quickly becoming a favourite thanks to his avant-garde style. By 1961 he’d moved on to French Elle where he remained for 20 years and where he believes he did his best work.
Alongside his ‘Black Trinity’ contemporaries David Bailey and Terence Donovan, Duffy pushed aside the conservatism of the fifties in favour of a more innovative and energetic approach to fashion photography.
The collection on show in London provides a catalogue of 60s and 70s cultural iconography: from Hollywood royalty such as Michael Caine, Brigitte Bardot and Sidney Poitier; to rock stars like John Lennon, David Bowie and Debbie Harry.
Duffy was one of the few photographers to shoot two Pirelli calendars. He also shot three record sleeves for David Bowie, including Aladdin Sane. Some of Duffy’s most recognisable commercial work includes campaigns for Benson & Hedges and Smirnoff.