More incomplete than any other book on New York, here you will find nothing of history, economics, politics or religion. I have not tried to draw the Chrysler Building or to photograph the President. . . .This is more a catalogue of impressions, mostly visual, of a place that I know little about. . . .You may find mistakes here, in fact the pages may be crammed with howlers, but like any one of the quadrillions of visitors to New York, my point of view, just because it is individual, may be of interest to someone.
—Cecil Beaton, from the Preface to Cecil Beaton’s New York
Cecil Beaton (1904–1980), well known to all as a fashion and society photographer, costume and set designer, catty diarist, and social climber, is being remembered in an exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York entitled, “Cecil Beaton: The New York Years,” that runs through February 20, 2012. The accompanying exhibition catalog of the same name, Cecil Beaton: The New York Years (Museum of the City of New York/Skira/Rizzoli, $65), features a selection of the photographs he took in New York, along with some of his designs, sketches, and caricatures. This lavishly illustrated coffee table book reminds us what a brilliant and talented aestheticist Beaton was, the likes of whom we may never see again. Read the rest of this entry »