L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i

Friday, August 23, 2019

On the far side of the lens - Victor Kraft photographed by Beaton (and others)

By Cecil Beaton, circa 1935.
A "ballet film improvisation" with Princess Natalie Paley, directed by Pavel Tchelitchew and photographed by Beaton, 1935.


By Carl Van Vechten, 1935.

Victor Kraft (né Victor Hugo Etler Kraftsov; 8 August 1915, Oneonta, New York – 2 July 1976, Maine), professional photographer and life-long friend/lover of composer Aaron Copland. A violin prodigy, he gave concerts as a child. He later attended Juilliard and studied composition with Roger Sessions. When he was sixteen, he met Copeland who encouraged him to give up music and focus on photography. The two would maintain a close relationship until Kraft's death; Copeland called Kraft his, "pupil, companion, secretary and friend." He went on to contribute photographs to many of the most prominent publications of the day, he worked as a photojournalist during the Spanish Civil War, and became known for his portraits of leading figures in the world of music. All this time, though, he was also paid by Copland as his secretary and chauffeur, and the two lived together and traveled extensively. All through their relationship Copeland had a series of affairs or brief relationships with other handsome young men, much to Kraft's distress. And after a retaliatory affair with Leonard Bernstein, he married writer Pearl Kazin in 1951; only a few months later he returned to Copeland. Nine years after that, though, he married again and settled in Croton-on-Hudson, nearby to Copeland. The couple had a son - Copeland was the godfather - but the child was mentally handicapped. In 1968 Kraft, long upset about his son's condition and the state of his relationship with Copeland, kidnapped the then seven-year-old Jeremy and left the country for several months. Copeland remained in contact though, even meeting with Kraft in England and Israel. And only a few years later when Kraft died of a heart attack in Maine at the age of sixty, Copeland looked out for Jeremy, paid his tuition at a private school, and later helped him get training to become an auto mechanic.

By George Platt Lynes, 1936.

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