Brian Duffy was no wallflower. Together with his mates and fellow photographers David Bailey and Terence Donovan, he made up the “Black Trinity,” a trio of talent that rocked the ’60s photography world, injecting an energy and outrageousness that changed the way fashion was shot.
Duffy’s iconic images of celebrities and models like Michael Caine, John Lennon, Jean Shrimpton, David Bowie, and Brigitte Bardot are among the most memorable images of the times. His outrageous behavior is legend. It’s said he once stormed out of his studio and set his negatives on fire when he found out that the studio had run out of toilet paper.
Duffy died of lung cancer last week. His death occurred just a few months after an exhibit of his work, organized by his son Chris, closed. The exhibit featured some previously unseen photographs by Duffy and included a shot of Sammy Davis Jr. embracing his new wife, Swedish actress May Britt. Taken in 1960, a time when interracial marriages were against the law in some U.S. states, the photo was seen by Vogue but never published.
To get a sense of just how controversial, talented, and creative Duffy was, check out this NPR Picture Show blog post where you can watch a BBC documentary on his life and see some of his images. There’s also a great article on his recent exhibit in the Guardian. We’ll miss you, Duffy. Thanks for shaking up the world.