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Cecil Beaton: Theatre of War

Photo by Cecil Beaton 1940s

Above: A welder works on the deck of a new ship, Tyneside, 1943

A new exhibition opens at the Imperial War Museum London on 6th September of Cecil Beaton’s war time photography. I have a couple of tickets to give away, just comment below and let me know if you would like them. Which is your favourite photo? I think I like the photo of the airman below, but they’re all compelling in their own way…

Cecil Beaton is widely remembered as the leading British portrait and fashion photographer of his day, the fact that Beaton was one of Britain’s hardest working war photographers during the Second World War is less well known.

He travelled extensively throughout Britain, the Middle East, India, Burma and China, photographing leaders and ordinary people, military and civilian life, industry and agriculture, artists and architecture.

His photographs from the Far East, depicting deeply traditional communities on the brink of lasting change, are ranked among the best of his career.

Beaton’s photography had enormous impact in wartime, attracting worldwide attention Throughout the Second World War, Beaton was the only photographer to be credited wherever and whenever his work was published.

This new exhibition demonstrates the truly remarkable range and quality of Cecil Beaton’s wartime photography and offers a new insight into the man who emerged from the war with a new found maturity and confidence which informed his postwar career. [5 photos]

Admission: Adults £8, Concessions £6, Children (aged 15 and under) Free. Box office 020 7416 5000, tickets are also available online, please visit: www.iwm.org.uk

Photo by Cecil Beaton 1940s

Above: Royal navy: portrait of a maintenance wrens wearing overalls with glass

Photo by Cecil Beaton 1940s

Above: China 1944: The Chinese Police Force; the Assistant Chief of Police and his staff grouped in a circular doorway at headquarters in Chengtu.

Photo by Cecil Beaton 1940s

Above: Flying Officer, Nevill Duke of No92 (East India Squadron, A Battle of Britain pilot with his Spitfire at RAF Biggin Hill 1941. (After the war, Neville Duke became one of Britain’s leading test pilots and broke the World Air Speed Record in 1953)

Photo by Cecil Beaton 1940s

Above: A British sailor on shore leave, Harrogate 1941

Photo by Cecil Beaton 1940s

Above: A wren serving with the crew of a harbour launch, Portsmouth 1941

All photos are part of “MINISTRY OF INFORMATION SECOND WORLD WAR OFFICIAL COLLECTION”

7 thoughts on “Cecil Beaton: Theatre of War

  1. twotimesfiftytwo

    I just finish reading the book “A woman’s place” by Lynn Austin. It’s about four women working in the Stockton (Michigan) Shipyard.I enjoyed the novel’s historical perspective and setting – a wartime shipyard. Your first picture is as I thought they would have seen in the course of work.
    Nice.

    Reply

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