Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Master Of Light

That's how legendary photographer George Hurrell is remembered.
With Lights! Camera! Glamour!, the California Heritage Museum proposes a fantastic retrospective of Hurrell's work -- from 1930s Hollywood to his death in the 1990s. Hurrell started out as a painter in a Laguna Beach arts commune in the 1920s, before moving to photography by chance and necessity. He quickly became MGM's in-house photographer, sculpting the faces of Greta Garbo, Jean Harlow, Joan Crawford, Clarke Gable, Douglas Fairbanks and the like in light and shadow. WWII and the advances of amateur/color photography killed the taste for glam and black and white, but Hurrell's je-ne-sais-quoi experienced a revival in the 1970s with portraits of Aretha Franklin, Natalie Cole, The Queen, Fleetwood Mac and other musicians that became album cover icons. He also dipped into fashion photography, and erotica for Hugh Hefner's Playboy.

The exhibit includes a one-hour video which underlines the show's delight: Hurrell's masterful use of light, texture and composition. Like a true painter -- which he always was.
photo ©
The Estate of George Hurrell