Sir Cecil Walter Hardy Beaton 1904 – 1980. Famous for fashion photography and society portraits was aged 11 when his Nanny taught him photography basics using a Kodak 3A camera. He used his family to practice on and once skilled he sent photo’s to magazines.
In the 1920’s Beaton studied history, art and architecture at St John’s College, Cambridge and photography at the studio of Paul Tanqueray. He got a start with Vogue when they purchased and printed portrait photos he’d taken of a Shakespearean scholar dressed in drag. He was also employed by Vanity Fair and photographed Hollywood celebrities whilst setting up his own Studio.
During the 1930’s Beaton assisted in changing the image of new Queen (Queen Elizabeth - Queen Mother) by making her look regal, romantic and pretty in photographs.
Beaton was famous for setting the scene, looking for and finding the perfect moment. Working on photographic plates to lift droopy eyelids, tighten saggy jaws and whittle down figures was the norm, a form of today’s photoshopping?
His post of photographer during the second world war encouraged the US public to push the US government who had not joined the war into assisting Britain when one of his photos of three year old Blitz victim Eileen Dunne reached the US media.
Beaton won four Tony Awards and three Academy Awards whilst designing costumes and sets on Broadway.