The business of creating glamour was hard work.
And the Hollywood still photographers employed by the studios did a great deal of the heavy lifting. Thorugh their craft they helped manufacture stars by producing shimmering, glamorous images that hinted at beings who were human gods.
Who has not seen the stunning George Hurrell photo of Jean Harlow in a white silk gown lying atop a white bearskin rug? Harlow glows with an intensity that burns into our collective consciousness.
One of the most interesting poses used by Hollywood photographers was the mirror shot.
We all gaze into the mirror with a mixture of fear and fascination. We prepare our face to meet another face. But Hollywood stars prepared their faces for projection on a giant silver screen to be adored—or rejected—by millions of unseen voyeurs.
The following shots are carefully posed, but the photos are not completely successful as glamorous portraits because quite frequently the stars themselves seem strangely removed from their own reflections.
The photos make us wonder: Do they see what we see, or do they perceive an entirely different image, something hidden, something secret?
Above, Brigitte Bardot doesn’t even confront her double. Not surprising in that BB was deeply conflicted about her beauty. Thus stardom and inner demons nearly destroyed her. She attempted suicide several times, and finally, emotionally exhausted, retired from the screen in 1973, age 49. Ever since she has devoted herself to animal rights. Her only child Nicolas-Jacques Charrier said of the mother who did not raise him: “My mother loves seals and I love a Norwegian.” Nicolas lives in Norway with his wife.