2010 ➤ Duffy, the man who shot Aladdin Sane

❚ BRIAN DUFFY, THE PHOTOGRAPHER who helped to capture the spirit of the Swinging 60s, has died. Among the many showbiz stars he shot was David Bowie, and if any images deserve to be called iconic, these do. Known to friends and colleagues by his surname alone, Duffy was a rival of David Bailey and Terence Donovan throughout the 1960s. Film producer Lord Puttnam said Duffy helped push the stultifying conservatism of the 1950s into permanent retreat. Duffy is also famed for once burning part of his work in a bin in 1979.

➢➢ Read the full BBC News report

David Bowie, Aladdin Sane, Brian Duffy

Duffy shot three album covers for Bowie, here Aladdin Sane, 1973, artfully created long before Photoshop had been invented. © The Duffy Archive Limited

Vogue, Brian Duffy, photographer

In May 2003, Vogue magazine paid tribute to Bowie by dressing up Kate Moss in some of his original costumes. A nod to the 1973 Duffy photo graced its cover, which Vogue’s editor Alexandra Shulman said was his favourite cover of all time (see Iconic Photos, below). Right, the photographer Duffy at his lightbox

David Bowie, Lodger, Brian Duffy, Derek Boshier

Bowie’s Lodger album, 1979, photograph © The Duffy Archive Limited. Artist Derek Boshier wrote: “The cover for Lodger was a collaboration between David, the photographer Duffy, and myself. I loved the resolution to the problem of David being photographed falling. Shooting him from above, on a specially made table built to match the falling form. The table was designed to be completely obscured by David’s body”

Brian Duffy, David Bowie, Scary Monsters

Duffy’s shoot for Bowie’s Scary Monsters album, 1980 © The Duffy Archive Limited

David Bowie, Brian Duffy

Bowie by Duffy, 1980: not chosen for Scary Monsters and published only once, in a blog last September. © The Duffy Archive Limited

➢➢ Sara Wiseman, Duffy’s archive assistant, wrote last September in her blog:

“Whereas Duffy’s more iconic images such as his Aladdin Sane cover, have been retouched, consciously selected and then admired by many to achieve such status, I love the fact that this one [shot but not chosen for Scary Monsters and never before been published] was forgotten for thirty years and for that reason I loved discovering it. I could perhaps align the thrill to that of finding buried treasure. There is something about Bowie’s unperfected facial expression that gets me every time. In a way I find the photograph to be extremely revealing in that it humanizes Bowie. This scornful look which, was not included in his contrived and manufactured public image, lowers him from the elevated, almost superhuman level of the pop/rock star. What we have before us here, is a man in a ridiculous costume looking pretty indifferent.

“I asked Duffy what his thoughts on the photograph were: ‘You like it? Yes me too. You may have noticed that in many of my male portraits my subjects look as if they’re on the verge of smacking me … ha! (Duffy acquired a reputation, of which he is proud, for being a bit of an anarchist.) That was my technique, I would say something to rile them or wind them up. It won me some great photographs – full of genuine male aggression. You may also notice that the same can not be said for my female portraits!’ ”

☐ ☐ ☐

➢➢ Visit Duffy’s website

➢➢ Surviving contact sheets from the Aladdin Sane session
➢➢ Famous, Infamous and Iconic Photos
➢➢ Derek Boshier Art


➢➢ Fearlessly innovative photographer who in countless striking images helped to define the mood and style of the Swinging Sixties – The Times, June 5, 2010
❏ Duffy, Bailey and Donovan invented a new documentary style of fashion photography, and fed off each other’s creativity. Duffy produced a body of work that spanned everything from portraits and reportage to advertising — he was one of the few photographers to have shot two Pirelli calendars, and successfully undertook campaigns for brands including Smirnoff, Aquascutum and Benson & Hedges, for whom he created a series of surreal advertisements in 1977.

➢➢ Central figure in the visual revolution that echoed the wider changes in British society during the 1960s – The Daily Telegraph, June 6, 2010
❏ With David Bailey and Terence Donovan, he formed what was dubbed the “Black Trinity” by Norman Parkinson, the photographer whose pastoral style seemed to embody all that the young trio wanted to challenge. If Bailey was the most creative of them, and Donovan the most amusing, the art school-trained Duffy was the most provocative and intellectual. “Before 1960 the fashion photographer was tall, thin and camp,” he reflected. “But we three were different: short, fat and heterosexual.”

➢➢ One of the “terrible trio” with David Bailey and Terence Donovan who broke the mould of fashion photography – The Guardian, June 6, 2010
❏ The three men became far more famous than many of the models with whom they worked, and were – for a while – bigger than the glossy magazines that published their pictures. The photographer Norman Parkinson called Duffy, Bailey and Donovan the “black trinity”. There was some merit in the label. The cravat-wearing old guard felt threatened by these freewheeling young men in leather jackets, who took their models on to the streets and snapped them with newfangled, small 35mm cameras.

➢➢ Brian Duffy: The Man Who Shot The 60s by George’s Journal


One response to “2010 ➤ Duffy, the man who shot Aladdin Sane

  1. Many thanks for including me in this. Duffy was a great friend and photographic legend!

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