The Hollywood stars pictured in Southampton
Her dad is one of biggest pop stars on the planet.
Now former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney's photographer daughter Mary McCartney has the assignment of curating pictures of Hollywood stars and members of the Royal family – including Edward and Mrs Simpson – who were A list passengers in the luxury ocean sea going liners sailing from Southampton.
Cunard is celebrating 100 years of its first round the world voyage and photography on the ocean waves with a special centennial Sea Views Exhibition featuring never before seen imagery from the famous shipping line's archives.
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Snapper and filmmaker Mary will have the huge task of sifting through more than 14,000 images stored in the Cunard archives in Liverpool – the founding home port of Cunard – and picking the 100 most iconic.
Warming to the challenge she says: “I am pleased to curate an exhibition within this treasure trove of 100 years of onboard photography.
“I am looking forward to exploring the archives and the crowdsourced images to handpick a portfolio of iconic images that will reflect a century of luxury travel.”
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Sam Wilks, Cunard archivist at the University of Liverpool Library added: “With over 14,000 images stored in the Cunard archives we have a wealth of memories from the 1920s to the present day to choose from.”
As well as showcasing Hollywood mega stars like Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant and Bing Crosby, not so famous passengers are being asked to dive into their albums or camera phones for their own cruise memories.
A spokesperson said: “In addition to the archives we are calling on past and present guests, along with anyone connected with Cunard, to delve into their old photo albums, search out holiday scrapbooks and flick through their phones to find special moments they've captured when travelling on board and submit them for a chance to be included in the centennial Sea Views Exhibition."
Being launched this year, it will capture the very essence of life on board Cunard's fleet of ships from the 1920s to the present day, reflecting the changing styles from fashion to food, interior design to activities and telling the story of guests who voyaged with the iconic shipping line.
It is 100 years since onboard photographers were introduced to the ships and since the first ever round the world cruise on the Laconia.
One of those onboard photographers who snapped the Hollywood stars as well as Edward and Mrs Simpson, was Southampton born photographer, the late Frank Eaton.
Through his camera lens he captured the A list celebrities who made up the star studded cast of passengers criss crossing the Atlantic from Southampton to New York.
They included Hollywood royalty and our own royal family like the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, who were the Harry and Meghan of their day.
Mr Eaton was part of the team who worked for Ocean Pictures which had the sole concessionaires on board the Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth for whole of their maritime service.
It was a photo passport to the rich and famous who enjoyed the luxury of many days at sea before life got a whole lot faster and the jet plane was the favoured mode of travel. With so many famous faces on board each voyage became a photographer's dream.
In an earlier interview, Mr Eaton – father of former Daily Echo journalist Duncan Eaton, recalled: “There was always a buzz when you picked up the passenger list because so many famous names bounced off the page.”
Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson became regular A list passengers on transatlantic liners like the Queen Mary and enjoyed mixing with Hollywood's royalty.
The controversial royal couple were among a tantalising list of subjects which included Noel Coward, Elizabeth Taylor, Clark Gable, David Niven, Laurel and Hardy, Bing Crosby, Gracie Fields and Winston Churchill.
Photographers worked around the clock in challenging conditions. The constant roll of the ship at sea was not ideal for developing photos but the photographers still produced work of the highest calibre.
Now a daughter of one of the Fab Four will be putting together the best of those Fab Cunard photos to mark a major milestone in the shipping line's history.
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