Shooting Stars

As the late Brian Duffy became increasingly ill from a degenerative lung disease his son, Chris Duffy, also a photographer,  began to piece together what would become the most comprehensive collection of his work.

David Bowie, Aladdin Sane, 1973
David Bowie, Aladdin Sane, 1973

The exhibition, Duffy A Visual Record of the Photographic Genius opens today following the recent publication of Duffy, the first and only book of his work.

The exhibition –  even more so then the book – shines a light onto lost work, gathered from attics and archives.

Debbie Harry 1977
Debbie Harry 1977

The exhumation of this work is made all the more potent as it was Duffy himself who tried to destroy transparencies and negatives, setting fire to everything he could get his hands on, marking a dramatic exit from photography in 1979.

Chris Duffy has finally extinguished the flames, though, and presents Brian Duffy’s career through early Vogue work, to French Elle, and Nova, capturing the energy of a post war 1960s London.

Jane Birkin 1965
Jane Birkin 1965

‘Most of this stuff has been kicking about under stairs, in crevices, attics and garages, but French Elle also kindly let me in to their archive,’ says Chris Duffy.

It seems that he’s still happening across undiscovered items. ‘Last week I found the David Bowie Aladdin Sane album cover. We already had the front cover but this is an original die transfer of an inner double page.’

Jean Shrimpton 1963
Jean Shrimpton 1963

It won’t make the exhibition but may be lent or donated to an upcoming Victoria & Albert museum British art and culture exhibition.

John Lennon 1965
John Lennon 1965

Other rarities making the Duffy exhibition include orignial tear sheets, contact sheets and test shots which have somehow survived the original editing process.

Michael Caine, contact sheet 1964
Michael Caine, contact sheet 1964

Duffy runs from 8 July – 28 August 2011 at Idea Generation Gallery, 11 Chance Street, 
London E2

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