During Hollywood’s golden era studio photographers churned out thousands of photographs that created the iconography of glamour by which Hollywood stars were defined.
There was a library of poses and props that photographers used in order to create and refine particular images. Who can forget Hurrell’s shimmering portrait of Jean Harlow in a skin-tight white gown resting languidly on a white bearskin rug?
One of the more interesting genres of photos was the star-with-pet-shot, usually a dog. These photos are hardly glamorous. In fact, they seem designed to assure the adoring public that their favorite movie stars are just ordinary folk who love their dogs and dote on them just like real people. Usually, the stars are posed with prop dogs, but frequently the dogs looks like they belong with the star.
Classic photos of Hollywood stars usually reinforce a particular image. Lighting, composition, body language, wardrobe and the singular architecture of the face are the ingredients that create a glamorous narrative for audiences to internalize. Clark Gable is the man’s man who doesn’t give a damn; Carole Lombard, the girl next door who will drive you crazy with her zany brand of love.
But every once in a while a picture introduces an element that defines the glamorous image in unexpected ways. In the following photos, footwear emerges as more than just a casual accessory.