According to his eponymous website, George Hurrell hailed from a religious family and was destined to be a priest, but his desire to be an artist was stronger than the pull of the seminary. During his studies at the Art Institute of Chicago he used a camera merely to help document scenes that could later be painted for his classes.
Eventually his skill as an artist afforded him the opportunity to relocate to California. The social circle he landed in grew to include the wealthy and well-connected, which soon led to commissions for portraits. Within a few years Hurrell had found a place in Hollywood, and a successful career, as a glamour photographer.
His portraits are a treasure trove of the gorgeously famous from Hollywood’s Golden Age. His mastery behind the lens is undeniable. Below are three of my favorites photos taken by Hurrell. From left to right are Gloria Swanson, Greta Garbo, and Marlene Dietrich.
The online gallery of his legacy also includes exquisite portraits of Joan Crawford, a young Katherine Hepburn, Paulette Goddard, and Jean Harlow. From lighting to placement, Hurrell always found a way to bring forth the most interesting features of his subjects.