Brian Duffy
The Swinging London

David Bowie - Brian Duffy

On the occasion of Pitti Immagine Uomo 81, the Museo Nazionale Alinari della Fotografia in Florence promotes the first retrospective on the photographic work of Brian Duffy – DUFFY. A PHOTOGRAPHIC GENIUS – 12 January – 25 March 2012.

During the Sixties Brian Duffy (1933 –2010) was the portrayer of the Swinging London.

Brian Duffy

Till 1955 he worked as a freelance fashion artist. In this period of total freedom, positivism and modernism this man, that started as assistant at Susan Small Dresses and than at Victoria Steibel, after his turning down of a job with Balenciaga, get curious with the world of photography. His first step was as assistant, but soon after he became a regular contributor for the French Elle (at that time under the direction of Peter Knapp).

He also worked for the British Vogue, Glamour, Esquire, Town Magazine, The Times, The Observer and Daily Telegraph.

English style

If there is an image that we have impressed on our minds it is that of an amazing David Bowie, stricken by a flash of make up on his eye, this was a singular shot of 1973 thought and realized by Duffy, that become a symbol of Bowie’s image.

His work is characterized by a total freedom in the composition and a way to face the subject as completely real and out of conventions, definitely straight. A man that introduces his arguments through a vision that asks nothing to the spectator only ‘imposes’ as it is.

David Bowie Scary Monsters- Brian Duffy 1980 - Archive

In 1979 the photographer, maybe fed up with the world of photography, maybe with the world of fashion, maybe with his own, decided to burn down all his photographic production. It was his son Chris to salvage 160 of his shootings, and, still thanks to him, we can nowadays still admire his work.

Adam Ant - Chris Duffy 1978

Grace Coddington - Brian Duffy

Cristina La Rocca

Take a look at

Museo Nazionale Alinari della Fotografia Florence

One Response to “Brian Duffy”

  1. Chris Duffy says:

    Thanks for the write up but you have your wires crossed…… The photo of Adam Ant was taken by myself, Chris Duffy, son of Brian Duffy. This image is currently on display at Proud Gallery Camden as part of an Adam Ant retrospective.

    Also I do not recognise the third image down – profile of girl with black & white zig zag hood and glasses. Not sure where you got this from but as far as I am aware this is NOT a Duffy photograph.


    Chris Duffy.

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