The cynosure of celebrity and a swish of high society for the life story of Cecil Beaton, the photographer whose soft effects have made lovely ladies even lovelier. Overcome at the early age of three by a passion for photography which was engendered by the picture postcard of an actress, he became an assiduous amateur photographer, used his sisters- draped in sheets and dustcloths-as models. A ""rabid aesthete"" at Cambridge, he never settled down to a more conventional profession, and as a protege of the Sitwells, had his first entree. A later, long contract with (its cloudy cancellation is omitted here), the years of contacts with stellar and royal names, and the serious pursuit of his profession makes up his story. The deliberate cultivation of the exquisite, the elegant, the ""enchanting"" effect this panders to a snob following.