JOHN DEAKIN ARCHIVE

The English photographer John Deakin died aged 60 in 1972. Most of his prints, torn and dog-eared, were salvaged from under his bed in Soho by Bruce Bernard, the photographic historian, who would become his champion. After the War, Deakin enjoyed two periods of employment as a staff photographer on the British edition of Vogue. The first period, from 1947 to 1948, ended in dismissal when he lost several valuable bits of photographic equipment. His second period was from 1951 to 1954, and during those three years Deakin was at his most active. After being fired by Vogue for the second time, Deakin drifted from job to job and he enjoyed a retainer from The Observer until 1958.He spent long periods in Rome and in Paris during the 1950s, specialising in street photography. Deakin, nevertheless, continued to photograph many of the major figures in the Soho art scene during the 1950s and 1960s, including Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, Frank Auerbach and Eduardo Paolozzi. Though the two had a difficult personal relationship, Bacon held Deakin's work in high regard. After Deakin's death, Bacon described him as "the best portrait photographer since Nadar and Julia Margaret Cameron."[14] Because Bacon "famously preferred photographic reference over live models for his painting",[15] Deakin took many portraits on commission for Bacon, which the artist later used as source material for some of his most famous images.


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