Admittedly, I’m old school when it comes to glamour. I love the Golden Age of Hollwood and I’m always looking for new ways to recreate the excitement of those publicity stills shot by photographers like George Hurrell, that could catapult the career of a young actor or starlet. Greta Garbo, Gloria Swanson, Joan Crawford, Marlene Dietrich, and many others owe a great part of their star power to the photographers that transformed them into goddesses, creating a lasting mystique that translated into — BOX OFFICE!
These masters defined glamour in ways that still keep our eyes riveted to magazines and remain my wells of creative inspiration. I never get tired of looking at images from this era.
Of course, glamour didn’t stop with the women. Clark Gable, Cary Grant, James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart benefitted just as much from the Hollywood publicity machine.
For this shoot, I wanted to create a headshot that had a vintage Hollywood look – a publicity still; something that looks like it might have been printed on aged paper decades ago.
Josh Burns, an up and coming actor, had no trouble nailing the character I was looking for. He bears a slight resemblance to Joaquin Phoenix, intense and provocative but with the softness of a Montgomery Clift.
I used a fairly common lighting setup among portrait photographers, namely a large softbox as a primary light source just above the subject, a silver reflector placed under the chin and two black V-flats positioned on either side of the model, adjusted on the fly.