David Bailey and Cecil Beaton, Unknown Photographer, Bromide Press Print, 1971.
It’s amazing what David Bailey can squeeze into a 52-minute film. “Beaton by Bailey” (1971) is a time capsule of sorts that handsomely illustrates society portrait photographer, painter, and Academy-Award-winning costume and set designer Cecil Beaton’s life in the early 1970’s. David Bailey captures reflections on Beaton from a motley crew of characters including Mick Jagger, Ossie Clark, David Hockney, Jean Shrimpton, Rudolf Nureyev and Diana Vreeland. There is a great moment in the film when model Penelope Tree is being photographed on the great lawn at Beaton’s country home, Cat Steven’s “Wild World” plays in the background as Tree, with arms up as if sleepwalking, follows Beaton who fanatically snaps away, seemingly unfazed by the presence of Bailey capturing this eccentric method. It’s these “don’t take yourself to seriously” moments throughout the film that epitomize what I love about Cecil Beaton and his remarkable body of work.