George Hurrell

George Hurrell, born in Ohio in 1904, was a member of a very Catholic family and had several brothers and sisters. Most of his siblings decided to undertake a religious path in life, studying to become priests and nuns, although all of them decided against it and chose to marry and have children instead. Due to the very religious background, young Hurrell was pushed towards a future as a priest as well, but just like his other brothers and sisters opted for a future that truly mirrored his hopes and dreams. Therefore, he decided to take another path in life and focus on what made him happy: art. Ever since he was a child, he was always fascinated with paintings and art in general, a passion that eventually led him to attend the Chicago Art Institute where he first came across the art of photography.

George Hurrell developed a passion for photography, although he still loved painting. After receiving an invitation to spend summer time in Laguna Beach, he soon understood that taking pictures could lead him to earning much more money, and in a much quicker way, than painting portraits which were becoming hard to sell. His popularity became known to MGM who decided to offer him a well paid contract to have him work at their studios. However, due to the very independent nature of the photographer, he refused at first. When the Great Depression hit, Hurrell changed his mind in the face of terrible economic conditions and decided to sign the contract which MGM was still very interested and pleased to offer him.

Hurrell became popular among Hollywood stars for the very unique way he had to make sure that his subjects would relax and feel comfortable during photo shoots. In fact, aside from having jazz music play in the background, he also hired acrobats to entertain his models. Among his famous subjects there were Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, Greta Garbo, Wallace Beery, Marie Dressler, Humphrey Bogart, Errol Flynn and James Cagney.