Master photographers

George Hurrell

George Hurrell

George Edward Hurrell (June 1, 1904 - May 17, 1992) was a photographer who contributed to the glamor image presented by Hollywood during the 1930s and 1940s.< /p>

Born in the Walnut Hills district of Cincinnati, Ohio, Hurrell originally studied as a painter with no particular interest in photography. He first began to use photography only as a medium to record his paintings. After moving to Laguna Beach, California from Chicago, Illinois in 1925 he met many other painters who had connections. One of those connections was Edward Steichen, who encouraged him to pursue photography after seeing some of his work. Hurrell also found that photography was a more reliable source of income than painting. Hurrell was apprenticed to Eugene Hutchinson. The photograph of him was encouraged by his aviator friend Pancho Barnes, who often posed for him. He eventually opened a photography studio in Los Angeles.

In the late 1920s, Hurrell was introduced to actor Ramón Novarro by Pancho Barnes and agreed to take a series of photographs of him. Novarro was impressed with the results and showed them to actress Norma Shearer, who was trying to mold her wholesome image into something more glamorous and sophisticated in an attempt to land the lead role in the movie The Divorcee. She asked Hurrell to photograph her in more provocative poses than fans of hers had ever seen before. After showing these photographs to her husband, MGM production manager Irving Thalberg, Thalberg was so impressed that he signed Hurrell to MGM Studios, making him head of the portrait photography department. But in 1932, Hurrell left MGM after disagreements with his advertising chief, and from then until 1938 he ran his own studio at 8706 Sunset Boulevard.

Throughout the decade, Hurrell photographed every star contracted to MGM, and the striking black-and-white images of him were used extensively in the marketing of these stars. Among the artists regularly photographed by him during these years were silent screen star Dorothy Jordan, as well as Myrna Loy, Robert Montgomery, Jean Harlow, Ramon Novarro, Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, Rosalind Russell, Marion Davies, Jeanette MacDonald, Lupe Vélez, Anna May Wong, Carole Lombard and Norma Shearer, who would have refused to be photographed by anyone else. He also photographed Greta Garbo in a shoot to produce promotional material for the film Romance. The session did not go well and she never used it again.

In the early 1940s Hurrell moved to Warner Brothers Studios photographing, among others, Bette Davis, Ann Sheridan, Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Ida Lupino, Alexis Smith, Lauren Bacall, Humphrey Bogart, and James Cagney. Later in the decade he moved to Columbia Pictures, where his photographs were used to help the studio build Rita Hayworth's career.

he briefly left Hollywood to make training films for the United States Army Air Forces First Film Unit. By the time she returned to Hollywood in the mid-1950s, her old style of glamor had fallen out of favor. Where she had worked hard to create an idealized image of her subjects, the new style of Hollywood glamor was earthier and grittier, and for the first time in her career Hurrell's style was not in demand. She moved to New York City and worked for the advertising industry, where glamor was still valued. She continued her work for fashion magazines and photographed for print ads for several years before returning to Hollywood in the 1960s. </ P>

After 1970, his most prominent work was as an album cover photographer. He recorded the cover photos for Cass Elliot's self-titled album (1972), Helen Reddy's Imagination (1983), Tom Waits' Foreign Affairs (1977), Fleetwood Mac's Mirage (1982), Queen's The Works (1984), Midge Ure's The Gift (1985) and Paul McCartney's Press to Play (1986).

Hurrell died of complications from bladder cancer shortly after completing a TBS documentary on his life. He died on May 17, 1992. </ P>

Since his death, examples of her artistic output can be found in the permanent collections of numerous museums around the world.

(Source Wikipedia)

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