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.