Recommended Reading

"Ruth Harriet Louise and Hollywood Glamour Photography"

by Robert Dance and Bruce Robertson (University of California Press, 2002, 285 pages)

Ruth Harriet Louise - who is that? One look at this book, and you'll want to know more about this super-talented photographer. We've all heard the names of the famous photographers of the silent era - Evans, Witzel, Bull, Steichen and others - but take one look at this book, and you'll see that MGM staff photographer Louise deserves her place in history. Her photos of Garbo alone may possibly be the best ever taken, and the other photos in this book - Blanche Sweet, Mae Murray, William Haines, Vilma Banky, Marion Davies, Renee Adoree, Ramon Novarro, John Gilbert, Lon Chaney, Lillian Gish and a host of others - ain't bad, either. Louise served at MGM from 1925 to 1930 took about 100,000 negatives during that six-year period, and our greatest misfortune is that this book contains only 100 of those - but these 100 are superb! Art dealer Robert Dance and University of California professor Bruce Robertson provide an aborbing text, too, that not only delves deeply into the life of Ruth Harriet Louise, but also talk about methods of other photographers and discuss fan culture of the period, as well as background on the photos included in the text. One particularly interesting chapter is strictly on photographing Garbo. Some of the other chapters are entitled "The Publicity Department and the Fan," "What Is a Star?," "Looking at Men" (Novarro, Gilbert, Haines and Johnny Mack Brown), "Telling Stories" (Gish, Chaney, Keaton, Dressler), "Queens of the Lot" (Shearer, Davies, Crawford) and more. A perfect marriage of stunning photographs and absorbing reading that gives us a unique silent era chapter and keepsake that no fan of the era would want to be without.

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