Friday, March 9, 2012

Cecil Beaton

What I should have done was to put these photographs in chronological order, for then we would see the development of Cecil Beaton's work. But, I didn't do that. I have allowed these images to load in random order as a deliberate measure to emphasize how varied yet consistent his work. (Actually, I didn't do it deliberately, some were clustered together intentionally while the rest were simply just random. I'm trying to justify my laziness in not curating these properly. Part of the problem is that Beaton was prolific -- even editing down to this selection was no easy feat.)

As a young child, Cecil Beaton's inspiration came from society women and actresses. He got his first camera -- a Kodak camera -- at age eleven. In the 1920s, Beaton was a staff photographer for Vogue and Vanity Fair ... he continued as a staff photographer for Conde Nasté publications through the 1960s. For me, personally, his name is synonymous with 'Old Hollywood Portraiture'. From heavily staged scenes to dramatic portraits, he then turned to being an official war photographer when he signed up with the British Ministry of Information at the beginning of World War II. After the war, he turned his attention back to his photography, fashion illustrations and costume design. He won Academy Awards for Costume Design both for Gigi and My Fair Lady and an additional award for Art Direction for My Fair Lady.

(Photo above of Greta Garbo)

Norma Shearer for Vanity Fair, 1930

Jungman Twins, 1926

Tallulah Bankhead

Jean Harlow

Nancy Beaton

Mrs. Charles James, New York, 1955

Truman Capote, Morocco, 1959

Mick Jagger

Marlon Brando

Marlene Dietrich, 1935

Marilyn Monroe

Kyra Nijinsky, 1935

Gwili Andre, 1932

Eileen Dunn (shot for Life Magazine)

Charles James Gowns for Vogue, 1948

Baroness von Thyssen at Roger Vivier's Apartment

Audrey Hepburn, 1960

Andy Warhol and Candy Darling, 1969

Greta Garbo
Jean Shrimpton, 1964

Princess Ira von Furstenberg, 1955

Self Portrait while shooting portrait of Mick Jagger

One of Beaton's sketches of a gown he designed.

The Royal Air Force: The rear gunner in his position in a Wellington bomber. (From the Ministry of Information Second World War Collection.)

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Here is an editorial piece on Beaton from the TSY blog that is an interesting read.

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