“Hurrell’s Hollywood Portraits” by Mark A. Vieira – Book Review

Hurrell's Hollwood Portraits, front cover, by Mark A Vieira, George Hurrell, Joan CrawfordHurrell’s Hollywood Portraits” © 1997 by photographer Mark A. Vieira is a 223 page hard cover out of print must have.

If you are a student of or an aficionados of the Hollywood glamour style of lighting and photography of the studio Golden Era publicity portraits.

Hurrell is one of the eras most well know practitioners of the style, which included Rembrandtesque lighting, accomplished with moody hot movie studio fresnel spot lights.

What is Rembrandtesque lighting?  For one, Rembrandt lighting casts particular forms of hard-edged shadows on faces, giving them form and character… It also makes skin look highly textured and harsh.

Unretouched Hollywood Glamour shot, Hurrell's Hollwood Portraits, George Hurrell, Joan Crawford

Joan Crawford before retouching, after 6 hours retouching final shot is stunning.

George Hurrell, Lois Moran, Hollywood Glamour

Lois Moran on Rear Cover

If not for heavy retouching of the 8×10 inch negatives during hours of work with pencil and eraser by talented artists, the likenesses of Joan Crawford, Jean Harlow, Jane Russell and countless others would have been much more mundane… much less other worldly… Much less the Hollywood Gods and Goddesses we took for granted.

Hurrell in particular shot Crawford over and over again through the years… Our memories of Joan are largely his creation.

Hurrell’s Hollywood Portraits” is 12 x 9 x 1 inches with a mix of about 50 / 50 words and images.  The text provides context, explanation and details of the images.  The images are both beautiful and often enlightening.  It’s a good mix for students of Hurrell’s and Hollywood glamour lighting.

Joan Crawford, George Hurrell, Hollywood Style Glamour Portrait, Hollywood Studio Promotional Portrait

Joan Crawford

If you are just interested in photo books of the stars… “Hurrell’s Hollywood Portraits” is a bit more didactic.  Of more interest to photographers and historians perhaps than pure image lovers… Though there are plenty of images to love.

Joan Crawford, George Hurrell, silhouetted in see through dress, Hollywood Style Glamour Portrait, see through sequinned dress, flowing train, Hollywood Studio Promotional Portrait, Back lit on stairs, Columns,

Joan Crawford silhouetted on stairs

Desiring a look behind the screen to learn how this magic was done, or just love the images and history of Hollywood’s Golden Era portraits?

Then reading  Vieira’s “Hurrell’s Hollywood Portraits” is for you.

You can buy a used copy of “Hurrell’s Hollywood Portraits” and or check out more details on Amazon by clicking here.


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