Ï In July, it will be 25 years since a 16-year-old David Beckham signed trainee terms with Manchester United. As we know, he went on to become not only a useful footballer but one of the most photographed men on the planet, and perhaps the most potent symbol of masculine narcissism in the age of masculine narcissism. Beckham's image, and how it has been used and interpreted, is as crucial an element in his story as any goal (even the one for England against Greece), assist, transfer, fragrance range or tattoo.
This month, an auction of original photos, preceded by a two-week public viewing, at Phillips auction house in central London, will raise money for Beckham's Unicef fund, and showcase
the best of his portraits by leading photographers and artists.
New work has been commissioned from Damien Hirst, Nadav Kander and Tracey Emin. Annie Leibovitz, Steven Klein, Peter Lindbergh and 20 others also provide shots. Beckham likes taking pics, too. He is the most popular British man on Instagram (34th in the world; 18.2m followers), despite having retired from the game nearly three years ago, and he has said that his eldest boy Brooklyn is more passionate about being a photographer than being a footballer.
David Beckham: the Man runs from 27 February–10 March, Phillips,
30 Berkeley Square, London W1J