Born in 1904, George Hurrell moved to Long Beach, California in 1925 and began his photographic career. He gained success after the actress Norma Shearer showed Hurrell’s photographs to her husband, Irving Thalberg, who fortunately for Hurrell was the head of production at MGM Studios.
During the golden decades of glamour that were the 1930 and 40s, Hurrell had the opportunity to photograph every star that worked with MGM: Joan Crawford, Greta Garbo, Rita Hayworth, Humphrey Bogart, among many others. His black and white portraits, composed with sophistication, portray an unforgettable and iconic elegance. Unlike other “studio” photographers he printed his own work and had the highest standards for the quality of his images.
In the 1950s, Hurrell worked briefly in different photographic realms. First, he made training films for the Motion Picture Unit of the U.S. Air Force. Then, in New York, he did freelance work for fashion advertising campaigns. But in 1965, an exhibition of his work at MoMA revived his fascination with celebrities. He returned to portraiture of modern-day stars like Brooke Shields, Sharon Stone, and John Travolta. He continued to work in this original motif until the end of the career. Hurrell died in 1992.