Photography

Deakin, John (1912 - 1972)

John Deakin began photography in an army unit during World War II after what he became a Vogue photographer before being definitely sacked from the magazine. In the early 1950s, he began a relationship with art bookseller David Archer and through him, he encountered the artists that gathered at the legendary London club, the Colony Room, in Soho. On his drunken afternoons - he was a chronic alcoholic - he would capture such sitters as Lucian Freud, Dylan Thomas or Kingsley Amis in the streets of Soho with a strong reluctance to flatter them. Indeed besides from having the reputation of being a nasty person, the British photographer admitted ‘being fatally drawn to the human race, what I want to do when I photograph it is to make a revelation about it. So my sitters become my victims. But I would like to add that it is only those with a daemon, however small and of whatever kind, whose faces lend themselves to being victimised at all.’ Thus his images are brutal and intense while the sitters looked bemused but also vulnerable and unsettled, a precursor of Diane Arbus’s and Larry Clark’s informal portrait photography. A testimony of a now disappeared London bohemia, John Deakin’s pictures have also found an enduring place in art because many of his friend, Francis Bacon’s portraits were based on his photographs.

Tags / John Deakin - British Photographer - 1950s - Portrait - Brutal - Art - Bohemia
John Deakin, Bacon with meat, 1960
John Deakin, Bacon with meat, 1960
John Deakin, Barbara Goalen, c. 1950
John Deakin, Barbara Goalen, c. 1950
John Deakin, Chefs in a Soho Café, 1957
John Deakin, Chefs in a Soho Café, 1957
John Deakin, Elizabeth Smart, Writer, 1952
John Deakin, Elizabeth Smart, Writer, 1952
John Deakin, Fascism Stadium, 1952
John Deakin, Fascism Stadium, 1952
John Deakin, Francis Bacon, 1952
John Deakin, Francis Bacon, 1952
John Deakin, George Barker, 1952
John Deakin, George Barker, 1952
John Deakin, George Dyer in the Reece Mews Studio, 1964
John Deakin, George Dyer in the Reece Mews Studio, 1964
John Deakin, George Dyer, c. 1960
John Deakin, George Dyer, c. 1960
John Deakin, Georgina Barker, 1961
John Deakin, Georgina Barker, 1961
John Deakin, Girl in Café, late 1950s
John Deakin, Girl in Café, late 1950s
John Deakin, Jeffrey Bernard, Cambridge Circus, London, 1950s
John Deakin, Jeffrey Bernard, Cambridge Circus, London, 1950s
John Deakin, June Ducan, c. 1950
John Deakin, June Ducan, c. 1950
John Deakin, Paris restaurant, Boulevard St Michel, 1954
John Deakin, Paris restaurant, Boulevard St Michel, 1954
John Deakin, Portrait of Oliver Bernard, 1956
John Deakin, Portrait of Oliver Bernard, 1956
John Deakin, Portrait of Roger Mayne, 1957
John Deakin, Portrait of Roger Mayne, 1957
John Deakin, Sir Eduardo Luigi Paolozzi, 1952
John Deakin, Sir Eduardo Luigi Paolozzi, 1952
John Deakin, Presumably British painter Francis Bacon as a transvestite, 1945
John Deakin, Presumably British painter Francis Bacon as a transvestite, 1945
John Deakin, Susan Abraham in Beachwear Fashions, c. 1950
John Deakin, Susan Abraham in Beachwear Fashions, c. 1950
John Deakin, Tony Abbro, Dean Street, Soho, 1961
John Deakin, Tony Abbro, Dean Street, Soho, 1961
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