National Portrait Gallery

Glamour of the Gods

Glamour of the Gods

Back before tabloid photography played such a major role in shaping the reputations of the Hollywood set, actors relied on real photography (i.e. the posed, carefully lit, artfully angled, softly focused studio portrait) to promote themselves. Far more than just a headshot, these portraits had a major impact on an actor’s career. Take Jean Harlow. She went from being an uncredited bit plater to a stunning leading lady opposite James Cagney in THE PUBLIC ENEMY – virtually overnight – as the result of a particularly good portrait. Harlow was just 20-years-old and fresh off the bus from Kansas City, but under the lens of master photographers like George Hurrell and Clarence Sinclair Bull, she was transformed into the blonde bombshell we know her as today.

Smithsonian locked in art controversy

Smithsonian locked in art controversy

The two works in question, the first by Wojnarowicz and the second by Bronson. Following the National Portrait Gallery’s controversial removal of David Wojnarowicz’s video from their “Hide/Seek” exhibition, artist AA Bronson requested his photograph be removed from the show as well. After Wojnarowicz’s video of ants crawling over a crucifix incited outrage in the…

Gay Icons: portraits selected by Elton John, Billie Jean King, Alan Hollinghurst and more

Gay Icons: portraits selected by Elton John, Billie Jean King, Alan Hollinghurst and more

Last week in London the National Portrait Gallery launched the exhibit “Gay Icons,” a collection of portraits selected by a diverse group of gay who’s who: Elton John, Billie Jean King, and Alan Hollinghurst among them. Their selections are broad, including “include artists Francis Bacon and David Hockney; writers Daphne du Maurier and Quentin Crisp;…