Thursday, 14 January 2010

Brian Duffy, doing it his way.

Did anyone else see the documentary about Brian Duffy on BBC4 last night? There's nothing I love more than an absolute nutter, and Duffy certainly qualifies. One of the 'terrible three' feared celebrity photographers from the 1960s (celebrity as in they were the celebrities), he is still best mates with David Bailey, one of the other terrible three, and who he refers to as a 'shithead'. (Terence Donovan was the third.)

After reaching the peak of his game in 1978, upon being asked by an assistant whether there was any more toilet paper in the studio, he lost it. Big time. In his words, 'This has to end. Either by murdering my staff, killing myself or burning the whole fucking thing.' And so that very morning, he set fire to the boxes of his negatives in the back yard of his studio.

You've gotta love a man who does it his way.

The documentary shows him in failing health, using a camera for the first time since 1978, as his son curates his first ever gallery show. He still fails to see what he did as anything extraordinary. As Duffy says, 'It's a very modern thing, you know, photography as art.'

The documentary is available to view on iPlayer. Or read more about Duffy here.

PS: How creepy is that photo of Reggie Kray boxing with his sinewy old Grandad? Eurgh.


  1. I meant to set my fake Sky+ to record this but I didn't so I'm going to have to catch the repeat (if it's repeated).

  2. What a shame, I missed it, but it sounds great. xx

  3. He sounds like an interesting personality, though I do like the photographs you've posted up. Nothing like a professional breakdown.


  4. I am utterly fascinated by nutheads like Duffy, Bailey and their likes. Too bad American TV is too busy airing reality crap and prime time dramas starring non-actors... I would have loved to see this documentary! I guess it's iPlayer for me, then...

  5. Thanks for the link. We've started watching it and will continue later.