With Cecil Beaton and Greta Garbo, the boundaries merge between image and reality, fact and fantasy, male and female and art and life. Garbo first met Beaton in Hollywood in March 1932. She flirted and danced with him, told him he was pretty, and at dawn, drove away in her black Packard and brushed aside his pleas to let him see her again. At the time of this meeting, they were both involved in turbulent same-sex affairs: Greta with Mercedes de Acosta, among whose lovers were Eva Le Gallienne and Marlene Dietrich, and Cecil with Peter Watson, a wealthy dilettante. When the pair met again, 15 years later, she asked him to go to bed. For her, it was an idle flirtation, for him it fuelled his ambition to photograph her, to be like her and to marry her.
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