Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Man Who Shot the 60s

I don't know about any of you but I truly enjoy watching excellently-produced documentaries about photography and, even more so, photographers.

This morning, I stumbled on a gem! A one-hour documentary (which, I believe, aired on the BBC) detailing the life and work of legendary British fashion and advertising photographer, Brian Duffy. It's titled Duffy: The Man Who Shot the 60s.

Duffy, along with famed photographers David Bailey and Terrence Donovan, were dubbed, The Black Trinity. To say their innovations changed the artistic landscape of fashion and advertising photography is an understatement: They melded high fashion, celebrity chic, and a healthy dose of Swinging 60s sex and counter-culture.

I love one of the comments made in the film by popular 60s fashion model, Joanna Lumley. Lumley was one was one of Duffy's favorites. " ...the photographers were the stars back in those days, not the models." (Of course I love that comment-- I'm a photographer!)

In 1979, Duffy suddenly retired from photography and the first thing he did was burn nearly all his negatives! Apparently, he was making a fiery statement reflecting his personal sense of feeling "burned out." Fortunately, because his neighbors complained about the smoke, some of his negatives were spared an inferno's fate.

Duffy didn't pick up a camera again for 30 years. In 2009, at the encouragement of his son, a reunion of Duffy and camera took place. That reunion is captured in the film. Brian Duffy passed away in May of 2010. (RIP)

If you're at all like me and you enjoy learning about iconic photographers who helped define this thing we do, this thing that represents one of the world's most-viewed arts (and you have an hour to spare) I'm confident you'll love this documentary.



Matt Birdsall said...

I watched the documentary when it were shown on TV here in the UK. It's a fantastic look at a photographer who is maybe overshadowed by his contemporaries.
I know that he was quite ill when it was filmed but I didn't know he'd passed away.
I'm definitely going to watch this again.

WildePics said...

Thanks Jimmy. I would never have seen this without your post. Well worth the time.

EleganceAndChaos said...

I love the way they portrayed the relationship between Duffy and David Bailey. They have been friends all these years, but still have egos the size of Kansas and a frankness that you don't often see in front of the camera. I guess that is the freeing effect of knowing that you have more years behind you than ahead of you.

Truly a ba**tard to some and a artistic genius to others.

It is great that they showed all the dimension of this trendsetter of his time.

EleganceAndChaos said...

I get the impression that Rankin is cut from the same mode.

The fashion industry truly love their bad boys.

Mark said...

Great find Jimmy. It is really enlighting to see Duffy and his contempories throw a new twist on model photography for their time.

Anonymous said...

Nice, thanks for sharing this.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link. I'd never seen this or most of his work before.