Harry Diamond (photographer)

Harry Diamond (25 August 1924 – 3 December 2009) was a photographer known for his photographs of artists, jazz musicians and of the East End of London. He was born and worked in London.

Harry Diamond
Born(1924-08-25)25 August 1924
London, England
Died3 December 2009(2009-12-03) (aged 85)
London, England
NationalityUnited Kingdom

At the time of his death, Diamond was described in The Times as "one of the heroes of British 20th-century photography ...his acutely observed pictures showed a polish and hue not often seen in the canons of British photography".[1]


Before becoming a photographer in the 1960s, Harry Diamond worked as a stagehand. He often drank in Soho and knew many of the artists whom he photographed sometimes several times, including Frank Auerbach,[2] Francis Bacon, and Lucian Freud,[3] Stephen Finer, John Wonnacott and others, as well as the photographer John Deakin.[4]

Other artists whom he photographed included Michael Andrews, William Coldstream, Peter Saunders, Edward Middleditch, Eduardo Paolozzi, Peter Blake, and the duo Gilbert and George. Diamond also took a portrait of the poet Eddie Linden in 1975.[5]


From his interest in jazz, Diamond also photographed jazz musicians. An early exhibition was called: West End Blues after Louis Armstrong's recording. Diamond photographed the Duke Ellington Orchestra, photographing Paul Jeffrey and Paul Gonsalves together and Ellington himself on stage. A photograph of Ellington was chosen by Bruce Bernard for the collection he made of 100 photographs from 1840 to 1990 that were exhibited at the V & A and published in the Phaidon Press book of the same name.

Diamond photographed people in London streets, and as buildings disappeared, photographed the East End of London where he lived.

Collections and photographic archiveEdit

Diamond's photographs are in the collections of the National Portrait Gallery, The Arts Council Collection and J. Paul Getty Museum.

Following Harry Diamond's death his photographic archive is now in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery.


Among other publications, Diamond's photographs have appeared in: The Sunday Times Magazine, Die Zeit Magazine, Financial Times, The Guardian, The Daily Mail,Telegraph Magazine, The Times, London Magazine, Into Jazz, Melody Maker, Art International, British Journal of Photography, Modern Painters, The New York Times, The Spectator, and The Tablet. His photographs have appeared in books and catalogues and on BBC Television.

Harry Diamond's photograph of Duke Ellington appears in 100 photographs chosen by Bruce Bernard, published by Phaidon to accompany the exhibition held at the Victoria and Albert Museum.[6] The book 100 photographs, A Collection by Bruce Bernard was published by Phaidon Press in 2002.[7]

London Magazine reproduced eleven of Diamond's photographs in a single issue in 1973. His photographs were the subject of articles in Creative Camera by Tom Evans, New Society and an illustrated feature in The Sunday Times Magazine.

Selected exhibitionsEdit

Diamond's photographs have been shown in the Hayward Gallery, Photographer's Gallery, Battersea Arts Centre, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Michael Parkin Fine Art, Cafe Gallery Southwark, National Portrait Gallery, Sudley House, The Space, Victoria and Albert Museum, Whitechapel Art Gallery and elsewhere.

Portraits of Harry DiamondEdit

Harry Diamond was painted four times by Lucian Freud. Firstly, in Interior at Paddington in 1951 and three times subsequently. A photograph by Herb Greer of Diamond with Frank Norman appears on the cover of Norman's book Stand on Me published in 1959.


Diamond died aged 85 in Whipps Cross Hospital on 3 December 2009.[1]


  1. ^ a b at 4:35 pm, 9 January 2010 (9 January 2010). "Harry Diamond: photographer". The Times. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  2. ^ Jake Auerbach (3 October 2015). "Jake Auerbach remembers going to the pub with his father, Frank". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  3. ^ Boyt, Rose (13 November 2014). "Rose Boyt remembers time spent with her father, Lucian Freud". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  4. ^ "Art / Books | Home". Artbookspublishing.co.uk. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  5. ^ "Eddie Linden - National Portrait Gallery". www.npg.org.uk. Retrieved 21 July 2020.
  6. ^ exhibition: 100 Photographs, V&A Museum
  7. ^ book: 100 Photographs, Phaidon

External linksEdit