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Stars of stage and screen

26 June 2009 by Lisa

Two members of staff either side of Audrey Hepburn photo

Curator Jessica Feather and Exhibitions Officer Lucy Johnson get a closer look at Audrey.

It is a dream situation to be in the same room as Mick Jagger and Marilyn Monroe and although that’s never going to happen for real (Mick won’t return my calls) I felt at least a little closer to that dream in the Cecil Beaton: Portraits exhibition. Beaton was well-known for charming his subjects to get the best out of them and it certainly shows.

What’s interesting is the way he seems to use the style of the portrait to reflect the persona of the subject he’s photographing. Audrey Hepburn is photographed in a very minimal and striking pose, which seems to echo her elegant and chic image. Marilyn Monroe is pictured sprawled on a hotel bed holding a flower – almost like a lover’s snapshot – showing her as carefree and sexy. I always prefer these less styled photos of Marilyn, rather than the done-up pouting images that you see most of the time.

The photographs offer an insight into Beaton’s career through the decades, from the glamour of his work with Vogue to his grittier work as an official war photographer.

You can check out this free exhibition from today, at the Walker Art Gallery.


Inspired by the exhibition we’re also running an ‘Iconic Portraits’ competition – enter to be in with a chance to be styled as one of four icons from the exhibition and be photographed by professional photographer, Zoe Richards, at the Knowsley Hall estate! 

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