Cecil Walter Hardy Beaton

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The photographs of movie stars and other important people in society taken by Cecil Beaton are interesting on so many different levels. First off, they’re of famous people who are generally more physically attractive to the public. Seeing these familiar faces is interesting to me because I want to know more about them.

Second, his use of lighting and color are very attention grabbing and appealing. It seems like he spent a lot of time engineering these sets and his vision was clearly defined going into the project.

Third, he puts a lot of thought into the setting and background of the portrait. Some photographs are meant to focus on the individual’s beauty but others place the subject in a situation that causes the viewer to spend some time dissecting something other than the famous person. This I like because it’s like the subject is a part of something bigger than them. Yes they are interesting and everyone wants to know more about them but in Beaton’s photography they are at his mercy, posing how he wants them to pose and being placed in surroundings thought up by him. It gives me a sense of power to the photographer which I think he deserves.

Belk Library, Beaton Portraits
Call Number 779, B38PE