George Hurrell (American, 1904–1992)

Wishing to become an artist since a child, Hurrell enrolled at the Chicago Art Institute and Academy of Fine Arts to study painting. He moved to seaside California communities and joined groups of artists as a painter before getting behind the camera. Hurrell took beautiful pictures of his friend Pancho leading to her getting her pilot’s license. She went on to be the first female stunt pilot in Hollywood.

From there, word spread around Hollywood about how good Hurrell was at portraits. In 1929, he was offered a job as portrait photographer at MGM and photographed all their stars; these striking black-and-white images were used extensively in marketing. He later moved to Warner Brothers and Columbia. Hurrell helped to define the brushed and soft iconic Hollywood glamor popularized in the years before WWII. Falling out of favor during the grittier trends of the 1950s and beyond, he continued his work by shooting covers for albums of Cass Elliot, Fleetwood Mac, Paul McCartney, Queen, and Tom Waits.