I've recently become deeply enamored with the work of English portrait photographer, Angus McBean (click images to view in their full glory).
Above: Bromide print self-portrait photo-montage, c.1951
McBean began his career in the 1920s as a maker of sought-after decorative masks (mostly caricatures of famous personalities, like Garbo), and his creative talents were soon noticed by celebrated English photographer, Hugh Cecil (Aka; First Baron Quickswood) who hired him as an apprentice.
In Cecil's studio he began to develop a uniquely surrealist point of view, and it was there that he experimented with various photographic special effects, many of which involved elements of collage, handmade dolls, and the building of elaborate sets (see the above self-portrait, c.1956).
It wasn't long before he became the most sought after photographer of British theatre productions throughout the 1930s and '40s, until the war shut down the industry. During his rein as the stage's favorite shutter-man, he formed a bond with Vivien Leigh, who considered him to be her favorite portraitist.
Programme cover for a performance of The Importance of Being Ernest at The Globe Theatre, London, c.1939
After WWII, he revived his career by becoming the official photographer for both The Royal Opera House and the Old Vic, as well as being commissioned by Tatler and The Sketch to do a series of surreal personality portraits, a feature which ran for over ten years.
Angus himself as Neptune in a rope crown, c.1939
In the 1950s he turned his lens to LP covers, including Please, Please Me, the very first album by The Beatles. He was also responsible for discovering a young Audrey Hepburn, (see below) whom he hired as a model for a beauty advertisement, leading to her first screen test.
Throughout the 1980s he was still being commissioned for projects in both music and fashion, and he continued to capture magical souls until his passing in 1990, never ceasing to be inspired.
Above images: Angus amidst many busts c.1966, Dame Elizabeth Taylor c.1966, Dame Vivienne Westwood c.1988, Run-DMC c.1988