Cecil Beaton

Photography of Cecil Beaton

Cecil Beaton was a British photographer and designer best known for his elegant photographs of high society. Working within a cinematic approach, his black-and-white images are characterized by their staged poses and imaginative sets. Beaton’s costume and stage designs won him three Academy Awards, including one for the 1964 film “My Fair Lady”.

Born on January 14, 1904 in London, United Kingdom to a wealthy family, Beaton went on to study at St. John’s College in Cambridge, but he left before finishing his degree. He was mostly self-taught as a photographer, though he did study in the studio of photographer Paul Tanqueray. During World War II, Beaton’s focus shifted to documenting the realities of war throughout the United Kingdom and Europe, forging a prolific and varied career.

“Be daring, be different, be impractical. Be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.”- Cecil Beaton

Note: Cecil Beaton’s self-portraits shown: Overhead shot with Mick Jagger; self-portrait standing on stepladder

See April 2, 2022 article in the archive for a more complete biography.

Insert Image: Cecil Beaton, “Self Portrait”, 1930, Silver Gelatin Print

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