John Deakin was one of London’s greatest postwar photographers, renowned for his penetrating portraits, haunting street scenes and inventive fashion work. Though recognized as a genius by both peers and rivals – a ‘photographer with extraordinary eyes’, as one contemporary described him – he was prodigal and careless with his talent. He flourished briefly at Vogue, but the lure of nearby Soho with its pubs, clubs and subterranean watering holes led him away from regular employment. Loved and loathed in equal measure, Deakin was a legendary member of the quarter’s bohemian crowd of artists and misfits. His circle included the painters Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud, the writers Dylan Thomas and Jeffrey Bernard, and the socialite Henrietta Moraes and Muriel Belcher, proprietor of fabled drinking den the Colony Room.
Coinciding with an exhibition at The Photographers’ Gallery, Under the Influence: John Deakin, Photography and the Lure of Soho explores the hidden corners and colourful characters of this notorious part of London as seen through Deakin’s eyes. With dozens of his most compelling images, letters and contact sheets, it is an evocative record of life in and around the four parallels of Wardour, Dean, Frith and Greek streets in the 1950s and 1960s, the backdrop for this creative and maverick figure ‘whose pictures take you by the scruff of the neck and insist that you see’.
‘his beautifully produced book testifies to a talent that still astonishes’ -Guardian
‘Deakin’s work speaks for itself.… His work offers a fascinating glimpse into post-war London’ -Sunday Times
‘A marvellous record of the Soho of the 50s and 60s’ -AnOther Magazine
29.5 x 24.5 cm portrait
175 colour and duotone illustrations