Showing posts with label george hurrell. Show all posts
Showing posts with label george hurrell. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 03, 2017


I want to talk about George Hurrell the photographer who more than anyone else was responsible for inventing the Hollywood glamour portrait. 

Here's (above) a sample of Hurrell's disastrous first photo shoot with Joan Crawford. It was shot with orthochromatic film which Hurrell urged the studio to buy but then quickly grew to abhor.  

The session turned out horrible but Crawford had a good eye for talent and she could see what Hurrell was struggling to achieve. Although she bullied him in that first session she afterward located him in the studio cafeteria and...on bent knee...begged his forgiveness.

 Good for her! What the two would achieve together would be historic.

Hurrell also did good work with Jean Harlow. That was a real challenge because she wasn't naturally photogenic.  Despite her reputation, in real life she was quiet and even rather wholesome, which is not at all the image the studio wanted to project. 

Here she is after Hurrell got hold of her.

What a difference the right photographer makes.

I think we can say that the studio got its money's worth that day.

I love to read about the technical problems Hurrell surmounted. I find it interesting that Hurrell's retoucher actually darkened the busy chair pattern (above) to the left of Crawford's face. I'd have lightened it in order to make the face pop out... and I'd have been wrong.

Hurrell rightly chose the more dramatic alternative where the heroine seems to have a mission...where she bravely confronts the darkness.

There's lots more to say about this, but I'll have to save it for another time.