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Bob Willoughby
Bob Willoughby

Bob Willoughby

Country: United States
Birth: 1927 | Death: 2009

Bob Willoughby, whose photographs transformed the images of Hollywood’s biggest stars, is a true pioneer of 20th century photography. He was the first “outside” photographer hired by the major studios to create photographs for the magazines, and was the link between the filmmakers and major magazines of the time, such as Life and Look.

Born June 30th, 1927 in Los Angeles, his parents were divorced by the time he was born and he was raised by his mother. Bob was given an Argus C-3 camera for his twelfth birthday, providing the catalyst for what would become the key to his future. After high school, he studied cinema at night at the USC Cinema Department and design with Saul Bass at the Kahn Institute of Art. At the same time he apprenticed with a number of Hollywood photographers; Wallace Seawell, Paul Hesse, and Glenn Embree, gleaning technical and business know-how. His first magazine assignments were for Harper's Bazaar in the early ’50s when famed art director Alexey Brodovitch became aware of his work.

His career took off in 1954 when Warner Bros. asked him to photograph Judy Garland’s final scene on the set of A Star Is Born. His portrait of the freckle-faced star became his first Life cover. From then on his production was phenomenal. His images were in print literally every week for the next twenty years. As the first “special” he covered the making of over 100 films, including the 1960s movies The Graduate, My Fair Lady, Rosemary’s Baby and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?.

His body of work, documenting this historic era of filmmaking, is unsurpassed. He captured with wonderful perception the most famous actors and directors of the time on and off the set, in unguarded moments of repose, vulnerability and high drama. He had a unique ability to capture what was essential to each film. Bob also had a remarkable understanding of the needs of each individual magazine; he could be shooting for seven different publications and know exactly what each one needed in terms of editorial content and design layout.

While Willoughby is most famous as the great chronicler of Hollywood, before he began covering film production he had already made an astonishing series of images of jazz musicians. Willoughby had a huge appreciation of jazz both in its technical aspects and its ability to raise the roof in performance. He had a masterful feel for the character of the artists, and he was able to convey it even in the difficult lighting conditions of recording studios and stage.

He was responsible for a number of technical innovations, including the silent blimp for 35mm still cameras, which became common on film sets. He was the only photographer working on films at the time to use radio-controlled cameras, allowing him unprecedented coverage in otherwise impossible situations, and he had special brackets built to hold his still cameras on or over the Panavision cameras.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Hollywood honored Willoughby with a major retrospective exhibition of his work. He was awarded the Lucie Award for Outstanding Achievement in Still Photography in New York in 2004. His photographs are in the permanent collections of the National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.; the National Portrait Gallery, London; the National Museum of Photography, Bradford, UK; Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris; the Museum of Modern Art, Film Department, New York; the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Beverly Hills; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Tate Gallery Collection, London; Théâtre de la Photographie et de l’Image, Nice; and Musée de la Photographie, Charleroi, Belgium.

In December 2009, Bob passed away at his home in Vence in the South of France, surrounded by his wife Dorothy and four children.

Source: willoughbyphotos.com


 

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Gisèle Freund was a German-born French photographer and photojournalist, famous for her documentary photography and portraits of writers and artists. Her best-known book, Photographie et société (1974), is about the uses and abuses of the photographic medium in the age of technological reproduction. In 1977, she became President of the French Association of Photographers, and in 1981, she took the official portrait of French President François Mitterrand. She was made Officier des Arts et Lettres in 1982 and Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur, the highest decoration in France, in 1983. In 1991, she became the first photographer to be honored with a retrospective at the Musée National d’art Moderne in Paris (Centre Georges Pompidou). 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Ocampo was at the center of the Argentinean intellectual elite, and through her, Freund met and photographed many great writers and artists, such as Jorge Luis Borges and Pablo Neruda." While living in Argentina, Freund started a publishing venture called Ediciones Victoria. She writes, "In reality, I started this for the De Gaulle government in exile where I was working in the Information ministry, volontairement without payment." She also founds a relief action committee for French artists and becomes a spokesperson for Free France. In 1947, Freund signed a contract with Magnum Photos as a Latin America contributor, but by 1954, she was declared persona non grata by the U.S. Government at the height of the Red Scare for her socialist views, and Robert Capa forced her to break ties with Magnum. In 1950, her photo coverage of a bejeweled Eva Peron for Life magazine caused a diplomatic stir between the United States and Argentina and upset many of Peron's supporters—the ostentatious photographs went against the official party line of austerity; Life Magazine was blacklisted in Argentina, and once again, Freund had to escape a country with her negatives. She moved to Mexico and became friends with Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Alfaro Siqueiros, and José Clemente Orozco. In 1953, she moved back to Paris permanently. Over the life of her career, she went on over 80 photojournalism assignments, primarily for Life and Time, but also Du, The Sunday Times (London), Vu, Picture Post, Weekly Illustrated, and Paris Match, among others. From the 1960s onward, Freund continued to write, and her reputation as an important portrait photographer grew with each successive exhibition. Gisèle Freund is now celebrated as one of the best portrait photographers of the twentieth century: Upon her death, "President Jacques Chirac praised her as 'one of the world's greatest photographers."Source: Wikipedia Ms. Freund was one of Europe's most prominent photographers and a pillar among French feminist intellectuals after settling in Paris in the 1930s. Born to a wealthy Jewish family, she became a student activist who battled the rise of Hitler's national socialism. She studied sociology in Frankfurt but was forced to flee in 1933, escaping as police were about to arrest her. In Paris, Gisèle Freund pursued doctoral studies at the Sorbonne, where her enthusiasm for photography was met with skepticism. She met militant feminist writer Adrienne Monnier while browsing at La Maison des Amis du Livre, Monnier's book shop on the Left Bank. The shop was frequented by the likes of Simone de Beauvoir, Andre Gide, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Jean-Paul Sartre and Paul Valery. Monnier became her lifelong mentor and companion, introducing her to the Parisian intellectual set and encouraging her to pursue photography. In 1935, Ms. Freund executed a widely acclaimed series of photographs, documenting the misery of British coal miners, and met Andre Malraux. Her portrait of the author of Man's Fate--wrapped in a trench coat with a cigarette dangling from his mouth--is among her most well-known photographs. Her use of color clashed with the prevailing style of retouched black-and-white studio portraits, but she persevered, saying color "was closer to life." Gisèle Freund specialized in conveying attitudes. She focused on hands, posture and clothing. Some of her most famous photographs appeared in Life and Time magazines. The Nazi invasion of France in 1940 interrupted her career. Gisèle Freund fled again, to southern France and later Argentina, where she worked until the war's end in 1945. She returned to France, where she earned an international reputation as the photographer of Jean Cocteau, De Beauvoir, Joyce, and Sartre, among others. Her works include Three Days With Joyce, a collection of black-and-white photographs showing the Irish writer with friends and family, and correcting proofs of his novel Finnegan's Wake. "Freund was involved in the lives of the artists and writers she photographed," said art critic Ann Cremin, who knew Ms. Freund. "She was more of a witness than a reporter." In later years, Gisèle Freund became well-known in her adopted country, winning the National Grand Prize for Photography in 1980. She took the official photograph at the presidential inauguration of Socialist Francois Mitterrand in 1981. She gave up photography in the mid-1980s.Source: Washington Post
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