Film: BFI London Film Festival Guide


Audrey Hepburn: Beyond the Screen

Proud Galleries celebrates the movie icon with a collection of rare photographs.

It’s been 25 years since Audrey Hepburn died way too young at age 63, yet she remains, to this day, one of the most famous faces in the world. Her bambi eyes grace posters, mugs, t-shirts and inspirational quotes on Pinterest, there are coffee table and self help books called “How to be lovely” and “What would Audrey do?” In 2004 she was voted the most beautiful woman of all time, but more than just a beauty, Audrey was known and loved for her style and fashion sense, her grace, charm, dedication to philanthropic and humanitarian work and being the kind of class act personality anybody could agree on as a role model. A true icon.

This August, Proud Galleries London brings together a rare collection of Audrey Hepburn photographs taken by some of the world's most respected fashion photographers called Audrey Hepburn: Beyond the Screen. With portraits by Terry O'Neill, Douglas Kirkland and Norman Parkinson on display, this bijou exhibition in the heart of London honours Hepburn in true Hollywood style.

Mark Shaw, Audrey Hepburn Rides Her Bike to Set, 1953

That famous face in the photographs is instantly recognisable – yet also very multifaceted. There is the gamine girly ingénue of Roman Holiday, 1953, her first feature film for which she won an Oscar straight away. Here she is earnest and demure in Vogue, here exuberant for Italian Glamour. She was able to be both cute and sexy, waif and woman of the world, feminine and fragile, but never afraid to make fun of herself, do something silly and turn on that disarming megawatt smile.

Audrey Hepburn in her dressing room during the Broadway run of ONDINE, 1954.
Photo by Mark Shaw

Photographer Mark Shaw caught her cycling around Paramount Studios, where she would use her bike to get from make up to set everyday (she was of Dutch descent after all). He pictured her doing her make up at 46th Theatre on Broadway, where her face is reflected in two mirrors, both angles absolute perfection.
In 1989 Eva Sereny snapped her for her final role, only 4 years before her death. Her aged face is lined but still completely gorgeous. “All her life she tried to put on weight – and failed”, one gallery visitor whispers, astounded. Was this woman actually real? How could one person be so beautiful?

Terry O'Neill, Audrey Hepburn, Pool, 1966

During a shooting with the celebrated fashion photographer Terry O’Neil in 1966, a white dove landed on her shoulder. It wasn’t staged but Audrey held completely still so Terry could capture the moment. The final image makes you wonder if the woman was actually a saint.

Audrey Hepburn, St-Tropez, 1967, Terry O'Neill

In the basement, the permanent exhibition of Proud Central has more Terry O’Neil images of rock n roll icons such as Mick Jagger, David Bowie and the beautiful Debbie Harry, that are well worth visiting, too.
Audrey Hepburn: Beyond the Screen runs from August 17 to September 30 at Proud Central.