Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon

John Deakin was notorious for his brutal, no-holds-barred portraits of bohemian Soho in the 1950s, and this portrait of the artist Francis Bacon is no exception. Taken while Deakin and Bacon shared a cottage in the artists' colony of Wivenhoe Park, Essex, this portrait lays bare even the tiniest physical imperfection without diminishing the power of Bacon's wide-eyed gaze, simultaneously confrontational and anguished. Deakin considered himself a painter first and was neglectful of his own photographs; as a result, most of his surviving work is torn and creased. His reputation, which had languished after his death in 1972, was revived by the V&A's 1984 exhibition 'The Salvage of the Photographer'.