Thames & Hudson
From Library Journal
British photographer Deakin (1916-72) has most often been noted for photographing artists who worked in London's Soho area during the 1950s, some of whom included Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, and Frank Auerbach. In addition to his Soho photographs and his employment as a Vogue photographer, this book addresses Deakin's lesser-known photographs of everyday scenes in Paris, London, and Rome. High-quality, full-page reproductions illustrate Deakin's effectiveness in using the shapes and textures found in city streets. By using material from the photographer's correspondence with journalist Dan Farson, Muir also succeeds in penetrating the personal side of Deakin, including his reliance on friends for financial support, his heavy drinking, and his failed efforts at painting and sculpture. A former picture editor of British Vogue and the Sunday Telegraph, Muir has produced a well-documented and nicely illustrated overview of Deakin's career. Though this volume and the earlier John Deakin, for which Muir wrote an introduction and selected the photographs, cover both his portraits and his street photography, the text of the new book focuses more on the latter. Recommended for academic libraries, specialized art collections, and larger public libraries. Eric Linderman, East Cleveland P.L., OH
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Library Journal, August 2002
Muir has produced a well-documented and nicely illustrated overview of Deakin's career.
The reputation of British photographer John Deakin rests chiefly on his remarkable documentary photographs and portraits of the creative souls and maverick talents who haunted the pubs and clubs of London's Soho in the 1950s. Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, Frank Auerbach, Colin MacInnes, Dylan Thomas ...these painters, poets, writers, and others defined an era in the cultural life of postwar England. Less known are Deakin's haunting evocations of life on the streets of London, Paris, and Rome. Here his eye is not cold-blooded or dispassionate but rather profoundly generous, sympathetic to the chaos of postwar urban life. His pictures of lamplighters, fairground workers, dog walkers, priests, nuns, and shopkeepers reveal an empathy to rival that of Doisneau and Brassaï. Equally intriguing are his depictions of the relics of human activity: chalked-up children's games, graffitied messages of love or anger, and the richly textured shapes and surfaces of street signs, peeling walls, window shutters, and shop-front banners. Though a legendary drinking companion in artistic circles, Deakin was not universally popular-the Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton once described him as "the second nastiest little man I have ever met." Yet he was respected by all for his professionalism and his originality. After his death in 1972 his work lay neglected for a number of years. A Maverick Eye: The Street Photography of John Deakin helps restore him to his proper place as one of the UK's finest photographers. 192 photographs, 184 in duotone.