The Highest Form of Flattery: Cecil Beaton
January 5, 2011 § 2 Comments
“He marked his period as if he were the only photographer around.” – Mario Testino [speaking on Cecil Beaton]
His name recently crossed our path, but his images have been entrenched in our minds for years. Finally the two connect. Cecil Beaton (1904-1980), a man who will be eternally celebrated for his divine images of expression, was an artist of many talents and a master of them all. Art was his playground; glamour, style and fame were his friends. From modest beginnings, Cecil Beaton lusted for and achieved a lavish lifestyle. Sought after by celebrities and royalty alike, he remained relevant by giving them what they wanted, which also earned him an invitation into their world and cash in his pocket. A mutually beneficial relationship.
What did they want? Beauty. He teased out or “enhanced” the beauty in society’s elite. Known for a flattering tweak or two, he mastered his craft with such precision, that high society flocked to be immortalized by Cecil Beaton. Some say imitation is the highest form of flattery, but Cecil knew it to be beauty.
Twiggy, 1967, Vogue
From photography to fashion to interior design; he remains one of Britain’s most influential artists, whose five decades of artistry remain a muse to many. His “rap sheet” is long… and dense. Fashion and portrait photographer. Diarist. Interior Designer. Stage and Costume Designer. Academy Award winner and International Best Dressed List Hall of Famer… And the list goes on… Below is a sample of Cecil Beaton’s work. We find it to be quite magnificent.