George Hurrell produced the definitive Hollywood glamour shot, codifying the style during his decades long career—his later work included album covers for Queen and Paul McCartney. Marlene Dietrich had already cemented her superstar status, crafting a persona as an exotic German seducer (1901-1992) through her many film roles, and Hurrell’s photography heightens and reinforces this image through her confrontational gaze and the sleek texture of her flowing dress. But Hurrell did not simply aim to record the stars; he collaborated with them to produce their ideal public image. Hurrell found working with Dietrich a particular frustration, stating that she posed for every shot, making it impossible for him to capture a candid portrait. This photograph then is not just a glamorous shot with a famous star and famous photographer, but a product of contrasting authors, each with diverging opinions on what made a star a star.
David Kuhio Ahia, PO ’18
Getty Multicultural Undergraduate Intern