September 5, 2012

Cecil Beaton: Not the Glittering Life

Most people know Cecil Beaton as the diarist of a certain high society lifestyle, photographer of the beautiful and the elegant, designer of the amazing sets for My Fair Lady, but not as a war photographer.

The Imperial War Museum in London is now showing an exhibition of some of Beaton’s more than 7,000 images taken during World War II, both in London and in outposts where the war was being fought.

imageThree-year old Eileen Dunne, injured in London during the Blitz

imageOxford Street in London after a bomb made a direct hit.

imageCleaning up the debris at St. Mary-le-Bow after its first bombing.

imageSt. Lawrence Jewry in Guildhall, Londonimage Looking at movie posters in Egypt in 1942.

This is the second major exhibition of Beaton’s photographs in London this year, with the first being the Diamond Jubilee Exhibit in the spring at the Victoria & Albert Museum. See my post about it here. Information about the war photographs and the exhibition, here.

18 comments:

  1. These photos are such poignant reminders of what life was like during the war...hard to imagine really.

    Kat

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    1. Walking around London, it's hard to imagine what went on there. Even the row of houses across from mine in Cardiff had been bombed to the ground. It never occurred to me why they were so different than ours. I had to ask.

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    1. I think we just totally forget what happened then, and there.

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  3. That third one looks like a Vermeer painting. Wow, these are wonderful.

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  4. I wish I could see this exhibit. Your posts really make me wish I lived elsewhere.

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    1. There is a lot of good information about the images on line.

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  5. Beaton was a master and it's wonderful to see his more serious work exhibited. Little Eileen is the face of Britain at this time -- wounded but valiant and clear in her gaze.

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  6. would love to see this one + sent it on to clients in UK. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

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    1. I was glad i got to see the diamond jubilee images, wish i could see these!

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  7. It just goes to show that black and white photography can have as much if not more impact than colour photography!

    Would you agree Meg?

    Linda.

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    1. i love black and white photography. it's classic.

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  8. Wonderful work - I did not know this about him. We are just watching "Band of Brothers" (WWII post D-Day) and so this sort of devastation is fresh in my mind from the scenes in the film. I cannot imagine living in that time, and how afraid we would have been. Thank heavens we won.

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  9. I went to the exhibition this morning. Well worth seeing for those of you in London. There's a very good catalogue too if you can't get to the IWM.

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  10. Great stuff! That first photo could break your heart.

    In Egypt: Interesting that Judy Garland doesn't look like Judy Garland, Hedy Lamarr looks like Vivien Leigh, and Lana Turner looks like a hardened Rita Hayworth. 8-)

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