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Duffy - Chris Beetles Gallery

Exhibition preview

CHRIS Beetles is presenting an exhibition of photographs by Duffy – from Wednesday, October 14 to Saturday, November 7, 2009.

Brian Duffy was one of the most dynamic and inventive photographers of the 1960s. Together with his friendly rivals Terence Donovan and David Bailey, he made up the ‘Black Trinity’, a soubriquet used by Norman Parkinson to describe his new, highly successful competition.

Working class, glamorous, hard working, and heterosexual, they brought new, irresistible vigour to fashion photography.

Then, after nearly twenty years at the cutting edge of his industry, Duffy suddenly vanished from the scene. A rumour spread that he had burned his negatives.

Ever the anarchist, Duffy had indeed begun this destructive, yet cathartic procedure, with enthusiastic help from Bailey. However, thankfully not all the negatives were destroyed. Camden Council received complaints from neighbours about clouds of acrid smoke and so intervened. Had they not, Duffy would indeed have thrown the lot on the fire that afternoon.

Now, after nearly two years of painstakingly archiving the surviving images, Duffy’s photographs from the 1960s will now go on display for the first time.

The exhibition will include 60 images by the man who, along with his two friends, helped invent documentary fashion photography – revolutionising the industry in the process. It is an extraordinary, and largely unseen body of work that powerfully documents the vibrancy of London in the ‘swinging 60s’.

Included in the show will be portraits of David Bowie, William Burroughs, Michael Caine, Grace Coddington, Johnny Cranko, Sammy Davis Jr, Reggie Kray, John Lennon, George Martin, Paul McCartney, Frank Norman, Sidney Poitier, Jean Shrimpton, Nina Simone, Keith Waterhouse, and more.

A further group of fascinating, personal photographs will show Duffy’s complete embrace of Modernism – particularly the aesthetics of Robert Frank, Paul Strand, and Walker Evans.

A fully illustrated catalogue will be on sale, and all images will be featured on Chris Beetles Website

Times: Monday to Saturday from 10am to 5.30pm.

Chris Beetles Gallery, 8 & 10 Ryder Street, London, SW1Y 6QB