Photographer: George Hurrell's Hollywood Glamour Portraits


I just recently discovered the book, George Hurrell's Hollywood - Glamour Portraits, and was in awe!

In the past I had seen several of his photographs in various photography books, especially books that highlighted the work of Hollywood photographers, because as you all know...I love, adore and worship all things vintage Hollywood.

And as you also know, I have a fetish for black and white photography.

George Hurrell revolutionized Hollywood portraiture between 1925 and 1950 through his ability to capture and create the glamour, allure, and celebrity of his subjects. In many of his images, he renders them almost as living sculptures. Before Hurrell's time, promotional stills throughout the movie industry were in a homogeneous style, characterized by soft-focus, generic studio settings, and standard lighting placement.

Hurrell sculpted his subjects’ faces with light and shadow, using a movable boom light that he modeled on a boom microphone, to illuminate cheekbones and create shadows under the eyes and nose.


 “The most essential thing about my style was working with shadows to design the face instead of flooding it with light,” he said.

Hurrell’s work celebrated the human face.

He defined for all time the public image of many of Hollywood's greatest legends...























Bette Davis

Thank you, Mr. Hurrell, for your immense contribution to Hollywood glamour...


Have a great rest of your week, everyone!
X

*To see more of George Hurrell's work, go here.
*To watch a wonderful video about George Hurrell, go here.

30 comments

  1. Those ARE some beautiful portraits, Ron! Lauren Bacall and Norma Shearer's eyes are amazing! And I'm struck by the final picture of George, himself. He looks very 21st century in that shot.

    This will crack you up, but as a kid, James Cagney creeped me out! I must have seen him in a movie that frightened me. I still don't like him!

    Thanks for sharing your passion! I'm always excited to see your posts!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ron, like you I have such an attraction for the glamour of old Hollywood. I also love photography in black and white because I think its so emotionally dramatic!

    Love the photos of Clark Gable, Fairbanks Jr. and Norma Shearer. And that final photograph of Bette Davis is so beautiful. Is that from the movie Little Foxes?

    Fascinating post, Ron! Hurrell's work is amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Obviously I didn't think about how photographs should be taken, but I can see now that shadow and light play an important part in allowing the subject's beauty to shine through. I studied the photographs and am truly impressed. Thanks for sharing these, Ron, I shall go away and dream about George Brent... sigh.

    (Glad you got the hiccup sorted!)

    Have a nice rest of the week x

    ReplyDelete
  4. " Lauren Bacall and Norma Shearer's eyes are amazing! "

    Yes, aren't they AMAZING? They so piercingly beautiful.

    "And I'm struck by the final picture of George, himself. He looks very 21st century in that shot."

    OMG, I cannot believe you said that because I thought the same thing, I kid you not. In fact, when I first spotted the picture, I did a double take because I wasn't quite sure if it was him or a look-a-like. I think it's the way the overall picture looks, it seems timeless. Also, his haircut and clothing look like something you would see today.

    "This will crack you up, but as a kid, James Cagney creeped me out! I must have seen him in a movie that frightened me. I still don't like him!"

    HA! I bet it's because when he first started in movies, he always played the villain (the bad-guy). Later in his career, he got more into comedies and musicals. He was an amazing dancer.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have an awesome week!
    X

    ReplyDelete
  5. ". I also love photography in black and white because I think its so emotionally dramatic!"

    I feel the same way, Candice! Black and white photography is soooooooooo dramatic!

    "And that final photograph of Bette Davis is so beautiful. Is that from the movie Little Foxes?"

    VERY good! Yes, that photo is from her movie, Little Foxes! I actually have that movie (on VHS) and will watch it 1-2 times a year. GREAT film! She was so evil in it!

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a grrrrrrrreat week!
    X

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hello there Valerie!

    "but I can see now that shadow and light play an important part in allowing the subject's beauty to shine through. "

    Isn't it BEAUTIFUL? Hurrell had such an distinct and definable style. You can always spot his photographs by the heavy "shadow and light play."

    " I shall go away and dream about George Brent... sigh."

    HA! Wasn't he sooooooooo handsome? I loved him in the movie, Dark Victory, with Better Davis. It was noted that she and he had a huge love affair going on during the shooting of that film.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a superb rest of your week!

    X

    ReplyDelete
  7. What a glorious collection of Hurrell's work, Ron! They're all stunning! My husband and I sat in front of our computer screen and slowly scrolled through each one, examining how he used light to bring out their features. I especially love the first one of Lauren Bacall, but all of them are incredible. Fairbanks was such a handsome man, wasn't he? So was Gable!

    "Hurrell’s work celebrated the human face. He defined for all time the public image of many of Hollywood's greatest legends..." He most certainly did!

    Vivien Leigh was such a beauty!

    Great post, Ron. As always!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Ron, I often think that I was born in the wrong era because when I hear songs from decades gone by or see old movies and photographs, I feel a close connection. These portrait photographs are so BEAUTIFUL! Lauren Bacall was such a gorgeous lady. Those sexy eyes! Great one of James Cagney too!

    What really impresses me about these photographs is that they were created long before digital technology came along. Hurrell was so talented! And bet photographers of today try to copy his style.

    Great post, dude!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'm an old soul Ron, because I love the hair, fashion and overall style of the 30's and 40's. These pictures are vintage masterpieces!!!!! LOVE the picture of Rita Hayworth because it's so sexy but at the same time classy! Nothing back then was (like it is today) blatantly vulgar or offensive. It left things to the imagination. The photo of Douglas Fairbanks Jr. is breathtaking. What a hottie! LOL

    George Hurrell was a genius with the camera! When I get home from work tonight, I will checking out the video you recommended. Can't wait!

    Have a wonderful week, Ron x

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hey there Elaine!

    I had such a hard time selecting just these for my post because I SO MANY that I wanted to use.

    "My husband and I sat in front of our computer screen and slowly scrolled through each one, examining how he used light to bring out their features."

    I know what you mean because I did the same thing when I found the book (in Barnes and Noble). There were many in the book that I couldn't find online, but would have loved to share in this collection.

    "Fairbanks was such a handsome man, wasn't he? So was Gable!"

    Yes!!! They both were. I think that picture of Clark Gable is my absolute favorite picture I've ever seen. I love how the picture is composed, only showing part of his face. GREAT shot!

    "Vivien Leigh was such a beauty!"

    To me, she was (and still is) the most beautiful woman of that time!

    Thanks so much for stopping by, neighbor. Have a FAB rest of your week!

    X

    ReplyDelete
  11. "I often think that I was born in the wrong era because whenever I hear songs from decades gone by or see old movies and photographs, I feel a close connection. "

    Matt, I FEEL THE SAME WAY! I have such an affinity for various past era's.

    "What really impresses me about these photographs is that they were created long before digital technology came along. Hurrell was so talented! And bet photographers of today try to copy his style."

    I know, when you think of how all this was done with any advance technology, these images are even more impressive! They had ways of doing "touch-ups" back then, but nothing like digital photography.

    And I bet they even teach Hurrell's style in photography schools.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, buddy. Have a most excellent rest of your week!
    X

    ReplyDelete
  12. OMG! Ron! These pictures are awesome...especially in black and white! There are some photos that are just perfect for B&W. Thanks so much for the birthday wishes...I really appreciate it! Xo

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hola Denise!

    Funny, I've always thought of myself as an old soul as well. Even a child, I felt older than what I was. And I loved hanging out with people older than me. I too have a HUGE attraction to the style and fashion of those two decades. LOVED them!

    And I soooooo agree with you about sexiness THEN compared to sexiest NOW. " It left things to the imagination." Yes! Yes! Yes!

    I had seen pictures of Douglas Fairbanks Jr., but this one is sooooooooo good. Hottie, indeed! Did you know that he and Joan Crawford dated and then got married in the late 20's? They were considered Hollywood's "Golden Couple!"

    Hope you enjoy the video. I watched it several times and LOVED it!

    Thanks so much for stopping by, girl. Have a FABU rest of your week!
    X

    ReplyDelete
  14. Helloooooooo there Jeanne!

    Aren't Hurrell's photographs AWESOME? I had such a hard time deciding which ones to use for this post because there were so many to choose from.

    Have a HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY tomorrow, my friend! Cheers!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!
    X to you and the girlz

    ReplyDelete
  15. Oh my Ron, that was so interesting to hear about Joan Crawford and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. being married.

    Btw, when I got home tonight I watched the video on George Hurrell and really enjoyed it!

    ReplyDelete
  16. So glad to hear you enjoyed the video, Denise!

    Yes, they were married. Here is a link about it:
    http://joancrawfordma.tripod.com/douglasfairbanksjr.html

    Enjoy!
    X

    ReplyDelete
  17. As you know, Ron, photography is an ART, and George had talent in spades!! What lovely portraits he's captured here. Sure, he had a lot to work with in the first place, but I love his innovative use of shadows and light to play up his subjects' features.

    Sadly, so much of the true *glamour* of Hollywood is a thing of the past. Perhaps our celebrities just aren't as "gorgeous" (male or female) as they used to be? But then, that seems to be true of people in general, don't you think? (Barring certain exceptions, of course, ha!)

    Enjoy your week and hope you're avoiding that Hermine! xx

    ReplyDelete
  18. http://ladyfi.wordpress.comSeptember 08, 2016

    Those portraits are superb, aren't they? They don't make 'em like that anymore...

    ReplyDelete
  19. " They don't make 'em like that anymore..."

    You're absolutely right, Fiona! And aren't they SUPERB?

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a great weekend!!!
    X

    ReplyDelete
  20. yHello there Debbie!

    "Sure, he had a lot to work with in the first place, but I love his innovative use of shadows and light to play up his subjects' features."

    I agree! And he really had a special talent for using shadows and light to bring out the best features. He also had an amazing talent for composition.

    " But then, that seems to be true of people in general, don't you think? (Barring certain exceptions, of course, ha!)"

    Ha! Yes, I think your right. Some celebrities naturally have it, but it's rare. Also, it's a completely different "celebrity generation now compared to back then. Back then, celebrities were groomed to be glamorous and were "movie stars" and placed on a pedestal. However, today movie stars want to be viewed as more casual and down to earth.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a grrrrreat weekend!
    X

    P.S. Thankfully, we were not affected by Hermine as was expected. I was more concerned for my friends in Florida because I think they got more of it down south.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Fabuloso collection of portraits, Ron! I am a gihugic fan of vintage Hollywood so I really enjoyed this post. George Hurrell had an original style, didn't he? Being a photography buff, I'm sure you know the photographer, Herb Ritts? I think that he emulated the style of Hurrell because if you look at many of his pictures, they had the same black and white high contrast and shadowy feel.

    I love the photograph of Marlene Dietrich and Bette Davis. The one of Clark Gable and James Cagney are my faves of the men!

    What a special time in Hollywood, hu?

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hey ho Robert!

    "I'm sure you know the photographer, Herb Ritts? I think that he emulated the style of Hurrell because if you look at many of his pictures, they had the same black and white high contrast and shadowy feel."

    Yes, I do know of the photographer, Herb Ritts, and YES...you spot on about his photography having the same feel as Hurrell. I loved Herb Ritt's photography as well! He was very popular in the 80's and 90's. He did a lot of Madonna's photographs for her videos and pictures. He also did A LOT of editorial photography for some of the top fashion magazines. I LOVED his work!

    I love his composition of Gable in that photograph.

    "What a special time in Hollywood, hu?"

    It SURE was!

    Thanks so much for stopping by, buddy. Hope you had a grrrrreat weekend!
    X

    ReplyDelete
  23. Stunning work here. You forget just how glamorous "old" Hollywood was, and how beautiful black and white photography can be. If we had more of these things today, the world would be a better place!

    ReplyDelete
  24. " You forget just how glamorous "old" Hollywood was, and how beautiful black and white photography can be. If we had more of these things today, the world would be a better place!"

    AMEN, Mark! And when you realize that both photography AND movie-making were all created by using very basic techniques, it's even MORE impressive!

    Thanks so much for stopping by, buddy. Have a faaaaaaaaabulous weekend!

    X to you and Tara

    ReplyDelete
  25. Ooooo, I'm in love with the shadow play in these photos! It's an art form in and of itself. And the fact that they are black and white adds to their appeal. Thanks for sharing these magnificent shots! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  26. " I'm in love with the shadow play in these photos! It's an art form in and of itself. And the fact that they are black and white adds to their appeal. "

    I feel exactly the same, Lisa! He was a genius with lighting!

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a fantastic week!
    X

    ReplyDelete
  27. Thanks for sharing the link, Ron! Great read!

    ReplyDelete
  28. You are soooooo welcome, Denise! Glad you enjoyed!
    X

    ReplyDelete
  29. His photos, especially the portraits are amazing! Even with today's technology, nobody does this kind of work now. Love it!

    ReplyDelete
  30. "Even with today's technology, nobody does this kind of work now. Love it!"

    I TOTALLY agree, Pat! He was so incredibly talented.His portraits were not only beautiful, but they had an "excitement" about them.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, buddy!

    ReplyDelete

I moderate all comments before publishing. Thank you for stopping by.