Saturday, 8 October 2011

The epitome of glamour

Marlene Dietrich on the set of Manpower, 1941 by Laszlo Willinger © John Kobal Foundation, 2011

In a special series this week, I intend to add as exhibits to The Museum of Camp some of the iconic images we went to see at the Glamour of the Gods exhibition yesterday.

Laszlo Willinger was a Hungarian photographer during the 1930s and 40s who took photographs of celebrities including Marlene Dietrich, Sigmund Freud and Hedy Lamarr. Marlene cemented her androgynous appeal with several images such as the above.

The second photo of Miss Dietrich in the collection is by George Hurrell. Recognised as the "Grand Seigneur of the Hollywood Portrait", he photographed every star at M-G-M, from Joan Crawford, Clark Gable and Greta Garbo to Wallace Beery and Marie Dressler. His work set a new standard for Hollywood portraits. It even inspired a new name for the genre - glamour photography.

The Glamour of the Gods is provided courtesy of the John Kobal Foundation:
John Kobal was a pre-eminent film historian and collector of Hollywood film photography. The author of over 30 books on film and film photography, he was known for his creative and exuberant personality, as well as his voracious knowledge of the minutiae of film and photography lore. He is credited with essentially 'rediscovering' the great Hollywood Studio photographers - George Hurrell, Laszlo Willinger, Clarence Sinclair Bull, Ted Allan et al - who were employed by the movie studios to create the glamorous, iconic portraits of the most famous and intriguing stars of the day that now epitomise Hollywood. Kobal's mission in the 1970's and 80's was to reunite these forgotten artists with their original negatives and produce new prints for exhibitions he then mounted worldwide.

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