Imperial War Museum Desk Diary 2013 (Book) Review
Publisher: Frances Lincoln Publishers Ltd
Author: Photographs by Cecil Beaton
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Cecil Beaton (1904-80) was a British designer, writer, cartoonist, diarist and socialite, though he was best known for his glamorous and elaborately staged photographs of royalty and celebrities. What is less well known is that Beaton became an official war photographer for the Ministry of Information during the Second World War – the war of the black and white photographer – and was sent on assignment to the Middle East, India and China, as well as around Great Britain, documenting the impact of war on people and places in his unique style. Beaton came to regard his war photographs as his most important body of work and today they form one of the Imperial War Museum's most important collections. This diary contains a small selection of Beaton's wartime photographs, focusing on Britain and his time spent with the British forces overseas, illustrating daily life behind the lines and on the home front.
The diary is available in both desk and pocket format and is week to view with a new image per week and a ribbon marker. The stunning collection of images ranges from young evacuees in a Somerset village school, RAF bomber crew, a Blitz search light, soldiers of the LRDG and Tyneside shipyard workers, to name but a few. The photographs are well produced and the large hardback format makes this much more than just a diary, it can be looked at and appreciated as a magnificent and varied collection of Second World War photographs. This would make an excellent Christmas gift for anyone with an interest in military or social history, or simply anyone who appreciates excellent portrait photography. Very highly recommended.
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