Reflections on modern culture, America, the progress of reason and freedom, and on any other subject of interest to me.
Friday, July 17, 2009
Glamour Photography: Hedy Lamarr
In the old days Hollywood photographed actors and actresses in ways that made them look stunningly beautiful. The stylish clothes, the hats, the lighting, whatever techniques they used, the result was a Romantic style of photography, showing people as they could be and ought to be, at their best. It was most effective in black and white photographs. Modern color photography just doesn't have the same glamourous look as black and white.
This photograph of Hedy Lamarr (downloaded from the website Dr. Macro's High Quality Movie Scans) is a perfect example of the old glamour photography. Thin, arched eyebrows and long, curved eyelashes draw attention to and enhance the beauty of her eyes. The round, very wide brimmed, black hat acts as a virtual picture frame for her face. The hat is rakishly slanted to one side to throw a dramatic shadow across her face, one eye in shadow, the other in light. Her shining black hair has enough light focused on it to make it stand out, even against a black background. She wears a strapless dress that exposes her soft, fragile shoulders, and a black velvet choker that circles her slender white neck. A pair of black lace evening gloves extend above her elbows, for added feminine delicacy and allure. There are three pieces of jewelry: two large, pendant pearl earrings contrast with her black hair; a thick bracelet (I can't tell if it is silver or gold, in this black and white photograph), adorns her left wrist; and what appears to be a diamond encrusted ring sparkles on one of her fingers. Her hands are clasped gracefully together in front of her right shoulder, putting her slender lace-gloved arms and the bracelet prominently on display.
The overall impression is of a woman of great beauty, with an elegant and alluring sense of style, a bit of mystery, and the confidence to display herself to the world. And that is the way glamour photographers tried, generally speaking, to make all of their subjects appear. Which is why I like old Hollywood glamour photography so much.
The views expressed on Edelweiss are my own, and do not represent an official position of Objectivism or of Ayn Rand. I recommend Ayn Rand's writings to learn about her philosophy first hand. You will be amply rewarded for your efforts.
"Edelweiss, edelweiss, Every morning you greet me. Small and white, Clean and bright, You look happy to meet me. Blossom of snow May you bloom and grow, Bloom and grow forever. Edelweiss, edelweiss, Bless my homeland forever."
"It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace--but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!" Patrick Henry, 1775