Books > Arts & Architecture > Photography & photographs > Individual photographers
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Cecil Beaton's sense of style and his much-celebrated career as a
designer for film and stage have overshadowed his position as one
of the great photographers of the twentieth century. Beaton's
persona provided a mask that concealed the seriousness of his
accomplishment. His career, running from his earliest pictures in
the Twenties to his last work in the Seventies, is unparalleled in
its historical breadth. By mid-century he had produced an
astonishing array of portraits of the greatest creative figures of
his time, including Picasso, Gertrude Stein, Lucian Freud and
Francis Bacon. In contrast to the flamboyance and artifice of his
early work, Beaton later displayed an almost minimalist eye. Beaton
was to become a star on both sides of the Atlantic. He was at home
in Hollywood studios as he was in English society. He maintained
his role as royal portraitist, photographing the Queen at the same
time as he courted the new royalty of the Swinging Sixties.
Surprisingly he was commissioned to photograph the set of the film
Performance and its star, Mick Jagger in 1968. The film marked the
end of an era, as well as Beaton's last great assignment. The book
is drawn mostly from the 100,000 prints and negatives of the Cecil
Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby's and follows the definitive
monograph of his work during the war years, Theatre of War,
published in 2012.
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