Spotlight on: Murray Garrett

Marilyn Monroe at GraumanĂ¢??s Chinese Theater - 1953

I was having a bit of a browse around the web today, looking for something inspiring to write about, when I came across Murray Garrett’s website.

Even if you’re not familiar with the name Murray Garrett I’m certain that you’ll recognize at least a few of his photographs. His shots of celebrities in 40’s, 50’s and 60’s Hollywood are legendary. To call them merely iconic is to do them a disservice.

Though his posed shots are stunning, I’m particularly fond of his candid work. His portraits are beautifully elegant and portray the subject in such a way that, even if you didn’t know who they were, you would be sure that they were a star. Somehow he maintains their glamorousness (I’ve checked and apparently that’s not a made up word) while managing to peel away a layer, allowing us a brief glimpse of something more than just the public persona of the celebrity, something deeper, real. What’s more, every picture emanates a real sense of reverence – something that in this era of paparazzi and in a culture where we’d rather see celebrities at their worst is really refreshing to see.

Dean cracks-up Kirk & Nancy

Garrett started his photographic career as a teenager, working after school as an assistant to the famous Broadway photographer, Eileen Darby. His first professional assignment was to cover Eleanor Roosevelt and Phillip Murray, president of the CIO, attending a play in New Jersey. Since that impressive start he has photographed literally hundreds of the most famous names in show business, sports, politics, the arts and sciences; often becoming the photographer of choice for the celebrity in question. Perhaps most interestingly so for the legendary Bob Hope. In Hope’s words, “His photographs were so great that from then on I didn’t leave home without him. And for 25 years he not only covered all my radio and TV activities but, he laughed at all my jokes. Now, that’s a major talent.”

In 2000 he published his first book, a collection of his photographs accompanied by an anecdotal commentary, Hollywood Candid, A Photographer Remembers. This was followed up in 2002 with Hollywood Moments. Both books are published by Harry N. Abrams, Inc. and are available to buy from Amazon.

I simply love looking at his photographs and If you haven’t already visited his website I strongly urge you to:

http://www.murraygarrett.com

You can see another, larger collection of his work here:

http://www.photographersgallery.com/by_artist.asp?id=12

Enjoy.

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