I've always been a tepid fan of Cecil Beaton. I saw some of his photos at the Tate last year and I really enjoyed the light and the Wizard of Oz / 1930's thing going on with his photographs. So on the train this morning I was flicking through my guide to London Design Festival and saw a small small advert for Cecil Beaton Fabrics - sketchbook collection launch. So I thought oh cool I'll be able to see his sketchbooks and his influences and work out where he got the idea for the light from. N'no.
Firstly it was at the Royal Academy of Engineering, which is on a street adjacent to The Mall. Very peculiar. Anyway so I went in and was shown where to go, and this woman asks me, 'are you here for the Cecil Beaton thing?' Yes I replied. This was no time for lying. She ushered me along a corridor introducing herself. (Susie? Jan? Maybe Andrea?) So we get to the room after coming up a rather beautiful staircase, and announces me to the room. Thanks Susie. So there were like 4 people and were obviously involved in the exhibition. I say exhibition, there were about 5 pieces on display. I had a gander, making an extra attempt to tilt my head to the side, to make them think I was super into it. I think I may have even gone 'mmm' at some point. Then some rather sharply dressed man bounds up to me, declaring himself the photographer. Photographer for what now? "Oh you must, you must, We have the most divine set up next door. You must, you must." I am ushered once again into another room where there are three photo shoot set ups. "Which set up would you like?" Oh um, that one. "Right now peeeer through the muslin dahhling, peeeer." So I'm standing on a role of white paper, in very flattering light, being told by some photographer (let's call him Marvin*) telling me to "peeeeer" through the muslin in Central London, on my own**. The most surreal moment of my year. Most def.
The photos are supposed to be racking up on this www thing soon. Watch this space.
Here is the kind of thing I was looking for. AZ does not tell you these things.
* I'm being mean. He was nice and not as dandy as I'm making him out to be. Sorry Marv.
** Apparently they were trying to recreate the light and poses that Beaton had done. And I'm pree sure they'll come out like this one ^^