Cecil Beaton (1904-1980) is one of the most celebrated British Portrait Photographers of the Twentieth Century and is renowned for his images of elegance, glamour and style. His influence on portrait photography was profound and lives on today in the work of many contemporary photographers including David Bailey and Mario Testino.
Seeking to pursue his interest in photography, Beaton sent photos to editors and fell in with the Bright Young Things, London’s bohemian crowd. He was eventually hired as a staff photographer for Vanity Fair and Vogue, where he developed a unique style of posing sitters with unusual backgrounds. Beaton published his first collection of works in 1930 with The Book of Beauty and his fame grew to the point where he was tapped to photograph the wedding of the Duke of Windsor and Wallis Warfield.
Beaton recorded the fighting in England, Africa and the Middle East for the British Ministry of Information during World War II, his famous photo of a hospitalized 3-year-old air-raid victim named Eileen Dunne gracing the cover of Life magazine. He resumed shooting portraits of the rich and famous after the war ended, but also spent more time nurturing his passion for costume and set design.