Ruth Harriet Louise (American, 1903-1940)

Louise became the first woman photographer active in the Hollywood film industry. Working as Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s head portrait photographer from 1925-1929, Louise captured beauty and nuance in her work, using portraiture to help her clients reach fame. Louise stamped her name on the back of each photograph which solidified her position in a male-dominated industry. Her photos were soft and ethereal; the photographs of actors Marceline Day, Ernest Gillen, and Marion Shilling reveal her skill for capturing the essence of actors and creating an image of Hollywood allure for MGM that traveled around the world.

Some of Louise’s most famous clients include Lon Chaney, Joan Crawford, Greta Garbo, Herbert Hoover, and Buster Keaton. Her work has been exhibited at major museums such as the Museum of Modern Art and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; and The National Gallery of Art and The National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC.