Classic Hollywood Portrait Photographers

Discussion in 'Photographers' started by colinlane, Feb 1, 2011.

  1. colinlane

    colinlane Member

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    Pretty new to APUG, and have loved reading various threads. Thank you for this great resource!

    Just wanted to see if people had suggestions or favorites in this area: 1930s and 40s Hollywood portrait photographers. I have just lately started to investigate them in more detail (the photographers, lighting, technique, lack of technique, etc).

    So far, I've really enjoyed stuff by CS Bull and Roger Hicks, and a few compendium-type books edited by John Kobal... as well as a book on more general Hollywood lighting in film (Keating's Hollywood Lighting from the Silent Era to Film Noir)

    Do others have favorite photographers/books/resources about this era? Thanks!
     
  2. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Nicholas Murray I believe is a wonderful portrait photographer from that era
     
  3. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    George Hurrell was the master--

    http://www.hurrellphotography.com/

    Anyone who makes B&W photographs could learn something from his lighting and from seeing his prints in person, even if you have no interest in the subject matter.
     
  4. jeff.blackwell

    jeff.blackwell Member

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    Your research should start with George Hurrell, but should also include Bruno Bernard ( Bernard of Hollywood), and some of the Life magazine photographers like Cecil Beaton.
     
  5. jeff.blackwell

    jeff.blackwell Member

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  6. colinlane

    colinlane Member

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    thanks, jeff-- this looks like a really interesting resource; I just ordered a copy.
     
  7. Marcus S

    Marcus S Member

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    Edward Quinn photographed many Hollywood celebrities using a Rolleiflex TLR and a Leica.
    His wife was his talented darkroom technician. Prints from his original negatives are still available.

    www.edwardquinn.com
     
  8. Louis Nargi

    Louis Nargi Member

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    To me George Hurrell was the best
     
  9. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I saw a fine display of classic Hollywood portraits--original prints--today at the newly renovated American Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens, just a few stops from Manhattan. They are not all really displayed for close study, many prints being above eye level, but it's an impressive collection, with quite a few Hurrell 11x14's, presumably contact prints.

    Maybe I'll start a new thread about the museum.
     
  10. colinlane

    colinlane Member

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    thanks for suggesting it; when I lived in astoria, i used to walk by the MMI whenever I went to the movies-- never been inside, however, which is a shame.
     
  11. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    William Mortensen was in Hollywood, and did portraits, though he did a lot more than just portraits of stars. Though he has a pretty famous picture of Jean Harlow.

    His book "Pictorial Lighting" is a very interesting read and provides a pretty interesting, simple & logical method for lighting. He only uses 2 lights but can do a whole lot. I'd seriously recommend it; although some people don't like his work mostly thanks to slander from A. Adams, but don't let that dissuade you.
     
  12. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    Mortensen also wrote useful books on modeling, although illustrated in his occasionally grotesque style. He was also a painter, and couldn't resist manipulating some photos almost beyond recognition. No wonder Adams and Weston shunned him.
     
  13. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    I agree Jim, but one could look at those manipulations as his greatest feat. Certainly, he was not a fan of f/64, photo-realism; but I personally enjoy painting, drawing, and abstract art, so I find a place for it. A great example of this is his "Human Relations" -> http://www.flickr.com/photos/ajourneyroundmyskull/3169144660/

    Also, his nudes are quite... nice. :wink:

    It's like comparing apples to oranges I think; and both have their place. I can also appreciate Adam's and Weston's opinions, because they were setting out to do something new, and in order to do that one must have strong convictions about their art.
     
  14. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    the MMI is an AWESOME resource...went there for a preview of the king's speech
    the director and Claire Bloom showed up after for a Q+A
    Best, Peter
    Yes David you should start a new thread about it
     
  15. Sethasaurus

    Sethasaurus Member

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    Just outside your bracket of 30s 40s Hollywood is one of my favourite photographers, Alfred Cheney Johnston.
    He did portraits of the Ziegfeld Follies til about 1929. The shots are not complex, but I think he really knew how to make a woman look amazing.