January 02, 2014

George Hurrell: Stars of the Silver Screen Immortalized By Master of the Hollywood Glamor Photo



By Jessica Jerreat

Top picture: Shirley Temple, George Hurrell and Veronica Lake.

Bottom picture: Carole Lombard.

Photographer George Hurrell not only captured stars such as Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, he invented the Hollywood glamor shot that helped propel them to fame. 

From 1929 to 1944 he was known as the Rembrandt of Hollywood, thanks to his ground-breaking use of light and contrast that sparked a new stylized era.

As the head portrait photographer for MGM, Hurrell could command a $1,000 sitting fee, and his eye for the perfect shot had everyone from Greta Garbo to Clark Gable clamoring for his services.

His mix of sharp focus and seductive poses created what has become known as the Hollywood glamor portrait.

The photographer's work kept movie fans - and his star subjects - clamoring for more.
Actress Joan Crawford enjoyed being photographed by Hurrell so much that she had 36 sittings in 16 years with him. 

He was a 'master of light, elegance, and glamor', Sharon Stone, the last star to be photographed by Hurrell before his death in 1992, said.

A collection of images taken over his long career are included in George Hurrell's Hollywood - the new book by Mark Vieira.

Vieira, a photographer and historian, described him as: 'bigger than life - brilliant, mysterious and mythic'.

The book follows Hurrell from the moment he was discovered after shooting a portfolio for Ramon Novarro in 1929, to the giddy heights of his fame in the 30s and 40s, and his comeback when he was in his 70s.

Even in the twilight of his career Hurrell remained respected and could command a $5,000 sitting fee for his portraits of new stars such as Diana Ross and Liza Minnelli. 

Pictures and story with thanks to Mail Online. 

I wonder if he took any of these:


George Hurrell's Hollywood, published by Running Press, is available now.

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