Best of the Best: Brian Duffy

Erin Emocling, aka basterda, is the editor-in-chief of the Lomography Magazine. She also writes Analogue Lifestyle pieces which are often inclined to classic, noir, and vintage memorabilia. Apart from spreading analogue love, Erin is also a marveller of cinematic films and non-sequitur literature. Check out more on the Best of the Best or any of her other series.

“I never wanted to be famous. I wasn’t as steady as a tripod.” – Brian Duffy

Brian Duffy © self-portrait, 1968 via wikipedia.or

Brian Duffy (June 15, 1933 – May 31, 2010) was an English photographer, a film producer, and a furniture restorer who changed the face of British photography. He is recognized as “The Man Who Shot the Sixties” because of his innovations on “documentary” fashion photography and his popularization on the iconic album cover of David Bowie’s Aladdin Sane. Originally, Duffy studied painting at St. Martin’s School of Art but changed his mind and switched to dress design not long after. It was not until the late 1950s when he decided to have a change of heart and pursued photography instead. He first work as a photographer’s assistant. Come the 1960s, Duffy traversed to many cities, such as New York, Paris, and photographed for Glamour and Elle magazines, respectively.

Together with David Bailey and Terence Donovan, they were considered to be the “Black Trinity” by the photographer Norman Parkinson and the “Terrible Trio” by the Sunday Times. These three documented the world of fashion through music and sex from the ’60s until the ’70s. Duffy then set up his own studio in London and in the mid-60s, became a regular contributor to French Elle. Throughout the 1970s, he set up his own film production company, Deighton Duffy, along with the novelist Len Deighton, commissioned to work with various British pop artists, and became a regular contributor to different magazines, such as Harpers & Queen, The Observer, The Sunday Times, and The Telegraph.

Duffy took photographs of celebrities, musicians, and models throughout the 1960s and 1970s, including Black Sabbath, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Jane Birkin, Charlton Heston, Christine Keeler, Sidney Poitier, and many more. Take a look at his amazing galleries below:

Features by Brian Duffy © via

In 1979, Duffy left his photographic career of fame and fortune for a life of obscurity and restored Gregorian furniture instead. He abruptly burned the greater part of his collection of negatives and slides, quit his profession forever, and didn’t shoot another picture for nearly 3 decades. In 2009, however, his son, Chris, revived his legacy and curated the first exhibition of his father’s work. After less than a year, Duffy passed away due to a lung disease.

Here’s an intimate and touching documentary film as a tribute to Brian Duffy’s legacy to the world of photography, directed by Linda Brusasco and produced by Brian’s son, Chris Duffy.


Which of these elegantly explosive Brian Duffy photographs strike your liking the most? What other fashion photographers from the ’60s and ’70s would you like to be written about?

Post brought to you by the Lomographic Society International: a globally active organization dedicated to experimental and creative snapshot photography. Boasting over a half-million members across the world, the concept of Lomography encompasses an interactive, vivid, blurred and crazy way of life.

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Best of the Best: Brian Duffy

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