Hirst, Christopher, The Independent (London, England)
A Maasai warrior in a lion's mane headdress from African Visions: the Diary of an African Photographer by Mirella Ricciardi (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, pounds 16.99). Born to a Franco-Italian family in rural Kenya, Mirella Ricciardi took pictures from her teenage years, and worked for magazines on assignments ranging from war to fashion. At 25, she married the explorer Lorenzo Ricciardi; they now live in London and Italy. Her first, acclaimed, book of photographs - Vanishing Africa - was published in 1971, and she has produced four others. This new volume comprises reminiscence and adventure as she documents her travels throughout the continent by bus and balloon, aircraft and elephant. Famous western Africa buffs appear, but the most striking images reflect Ricciardi's enchantment with traditional tribal life, and the spectacular landscapes that frame it.
PHOENIX, pounds 16.99, 656pp
If you've ever wondered about the kind of literature enjoyed in royal circles, look no further. Apparently, this entertaining romp is de rigueur reading for ladies-in-waiting and other Buck House habitues. Vickers traces the perpetually upwardly-mobile life of the photographer and stage designer from childhood in modestly comfortable circumstances in Hampstead - his bullying at infants' school by Evelyn Waugh was the start of a lifelong feud - to encounters with Warhol and Jagger.
After prep school with Orwell, Beaton did his first set- designing at Cambridge and soon got his first fashion photographs into Vogue, then a significant force in the arts.
His career was boosted by a photo-shoot with the Queen Mum (Cecil pinched a hankie as a souvenir). His war service produced some of his finest photographs. The book contains a great photo from 1942 of him in a tent in the African desert, accompanied by dressing table, mirror and make-up pots.
Though his natural inclinations did not lie in that direction, Beaton was pursued by Garbo ("Give me another chance," she wailed after a row). Acclaimed for his set designs for My Fair Lady and Gigi, Beaton plunged into the Swinging Sixties. He found a lover in a San Francisco gay club called The Tool Box, took mescaline and photographed Jagger in Morocco. "He took some nice pictures," opined the Rolling Stone.
Vickers concludes his epic portrait by describing Beaton as "essentially modest". You end this book (almost) liking the man as well as admiring his work.
GIVE ME TEN SECONDS
PAN, pounds 7.99, 308pp
The familiar figure outside No 10 has led an unexpected life. …
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Publication information: Article title: Books: Paperbacks. Contributors: Hirst, Christopher - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: August 24, 2002. Page number: 21. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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