Thursday, 10 April 2014

John Deakin - The Photographers' Gallery

John Deakin, Francis Bacon (Vogue), 1952
Under the Influence: John Deakin and the Lure of Soho is at The Photographers' Gallery 11 April - 13 July 2014.
This is a terrific exhibition. I love Deakin's intense photographs of Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, George Dyer, Henrietta Moraes and others in the Colony Room circle of 1950s and 60s Soho; oddly, his great prints look even better having been salvaged from Bacon's studio - paint stained, creased and torn.
Sacked twice from Vogue, Deakin, an alcoholic, was clearly a difficult person. Gordon Comstock's profile of him, John Deakin: Champagne and Sulphur in Soho quotes George Melly describing him as a "vicious little drunk of such inventive malice and implacable bitchiness that it's surprising he didn't choke on his own venom". 
The Photographers' Gallery show includes 'rarely seen and un-shown works':  it is very good.
Watch a short video pairing Deakin's less well known pictures of Genoa with Johnnie Shand Kydd's pictures of Naples: A Tale of Two Cities.
Read a review of John Muir's book of the exhibition and a review of John Muir's earlier book A Maverick Eye: The Street Photography of John Deakin.

John Deakin, George Dyer, c1964
John Deakin, George Dyer
John Deakin, Portrait of an unknown girl in a cafe, 1960s
John Deakin, Francis Bacon, 1968
John Deakin, Francis Bacon, 1952
John Deakin, Lucian Freud, c.1961
John Deakin, Lucian Freud,1960s
John Deakin, Henrietta Moraes
John Deakin, Tony Abbro, newsagent, Old Compton Street, December 1960
John Deakin, George Dyer in Francis Bacon's Reece Mews Studio, c.1964

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