The Way

It’s getting to the time of year when I try to tie up loose ends, and there’s one minor thing which has been puzzling me for some time.

Back in May I ran some photographs of dancer Sebastian Droste and actress Rosalinde Fuller taken by Francis Bruguière in his signature multiple-exposure style. They were shot in New York in 1925, “stills” from a movie which was never actually made entitled The Way, Droste’s failed attempt to interest American film producers in his wares.

Now one of the photos I was going to run I pulled at the last minute, because while it was labelled as Rosalinde Fuller and Sebastian Droste (description here), the man in the image was manifestly not Droste. But who? Like Droste he’s clearly not shy of the compact, and in fact he has something of the young Cecil Beaton, who would have been 21 at the time. However the record suggests Beaton first visited New York three years later.

Any ideas who our painted laddy might be? (I’m glancing meaningfully in the Thombeau/butterscotchclouds direction…)


  1. Elke Prill

    Hey James, it is Cecil. You may find your answer in a book called “The Magic Image” by Cecil Beaton and Gail Buckland on page 143. Unfortunately, I don’t have the book, otherwise I’d drop it around.

    • Wow! Still confused about the timing, but that’s great to know. It’s like the Famous Five go in search of fabulous queers of yesteryear.

      • Here’s a little snip from the book. It seems to be recapping Bruguière’s career… But where does Beaton fit in? It looks so like him, but I’ve seen stated several times that his first trip to the States was by way of a job offer from Vogue in 1928. Beaton was heavy into photomontage in the early/mid ’20s, so perhaps this is a case of George Eastman House mislabeling a Beaton print? Although Bruguière was apparently in London in 1933, so perhaps this was taken then? That would make the perm your mystery man is wearing rather out of fashion, though… I give up!

        I’m going to glance meaningfully at Thom too, until this is resolved…

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