Saturday, September 17, 2011

Glamour of the Gods

Now into its last month or so, the Glamour of the Gods exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery delves into the John Korbal collection to showcase the so-called golden age of Hollywood, when stars were STARS.

What is most striking, aside from the super-high production values of these portraits, is the extreme and, now, obvious artifice involved. Nothing was left to chance--not the clothes, the lighting, the framing and, of course, the correction.

In the pre-Photoshop age, this must have been quite labour-intensive, but as one example showing Joan Crawford pre- and post-retouched shows, it makes all the difference. Gone are those freckles, worry lines, and, indeed, anything that might show her actual facial features. Wouldn't want those to get in the way of the arched eyebrows that were her trademark. Odd how influential this look was.

Still, it's always welcome to see Marlene, Katharine, Greta and others splendidly turned out, looking down on all us little people.

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