In a world saturated with social me-dear surveillance and suffused with surplus selfies, being ‘interesting’ becomes ever-more compulsory – just as it becomes ever-more elusive. Not only for artists in this brave new connected, visual, attention-seekingworld, but for civilians too.

Little wonder that Cecil Beaton, a man who essentially invented himself and his astonishing career with a portable camera loaded with his ambition and longing,  one of the brightest of his bright young generation of the 1920s, has become more famous, not less.

As we plough relentlessly into a 21st century that he anticipated in many ways, long before his death in 1980, I suspect ours is a world he would be as much horrified as impressed by.

I’ve penned a long but – it goes without saying – scintillating profile of the British photographer dandy Cecil Beaton for fashion and style mag Another Man‘s 15th anniversary issue. Guest-edited by the legendary and lovely Jo-Ann Furniss, other contributors include Paul Morely, Douglas Coupland and Chris Heath.

You can read my essay below:

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Beaton By Bailey, Lesbian Clip (1971)