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Friday, 22 April 2011


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That seems like an odd choice, but it is all a matter of opinion.

The photo of Elizabeth Taylor that I remember most was a magazine cover (Life?) of her in full costume as Cleopatra with the surgical scar from her tracheotomy.

That said, the camera loved Elizabeth Taylor and so did we.

Gosh! ET looks splendid, but the skin smoothing, my dear!!! Photoshoppery avant la lettre.

It's a good thing that I'm not a picture editor. In that photograph, she looks desperately ill to me: at the height of a nasty fever. Just goes to show how off-beam I am.

Her necklace looks violet (on my color calibrated screen), but not her eyes. Wonder if anyone captured them the way we've been told...or was there some hype involved?

I also don't think she looks real in this photograph; almost mannequin-like. But, gosh she was beautiful.

MIke - thanks for filling in the details about the Frank Worth photo - I guess I need to own up to a touch of laziness in not having followed it up enough. Yes, it is also "manufactured", it comes out of an industry, a culture, a society that demands access to, and visions of it's celebrities. But at least it shows us a "movie star" and maybe something of what it means to be a movie star - not a mannequin



I agree with Richard: I like Frank Worth's picture more. By today's standards, Bull's colours are quite frankly bad. A bit of decent photoshopping would help.
Zatopek wouldn't be an exceptional runner today. He was ahead of his time in training methods but not an enormous talent.

And I might add - what a woman! Young enough to be my grandchild in this photo, of course........

"By today's standards, Bull's colours are quite frankly bad."

I must disagree--the colors are very much "period" and are associated for me with the materials of the era.

...Although your statement is correct, because you preface it with "by today's standards"...and what I'm saying is that I'd rather look at it by the standards of the era in which it was made.


Surprising choice..I've seen many pics of Liz that beat that one...Man, she was something seriously sexy/beautiful and challenging looking in her day..amazing.

Yes Richard's selection is fantastic. I like Bull's shot but right off it hit me as a bit artificial and "doll-like" as well.

For my money, it's Avedon's photograph:


...look at her ear...

I also love Worth's photo in same take of Elizabeth Taylor. She's twirling a lasso. Her body language is awesome, her frame all curves, managing to look sexy and wholesome at the same time.

Is there really a "bad" photo of her? I think not :)

There's hardly a clearer example of the difference between "taking" a picture and "making" a picture than the C.S. Bull shot. Bull - and Hurrell, and the other great Hollywood studio portraitists - were IMO always better in black and white than in color, but in either medium they never "took" pictures. They knew their job was to "make" Gods and Goddesses.

Love Worth's shot. It captures a spark the others in the Chi Tribune miss.


Ha! That's funny. I like that one too.


The colors are very much "period" and are associated for me with the materials of the era

Normally I love the look of old colour materials: the Kodachromes, of course; the sweet candy look of old Agfacolor; the splendour of Technicolour, and how much would I give to be able to imitate the colour palette of Paul Outerbridge http://artblart.wordpress.com/category/paul-outerbridge/
Yet, in this special case of Bull's portrait of Liz Taylor, I don't like the colours. A matter of taste, of course, but I find them "too crying".
I have already downloaded the file and made some nice prints of it. It is an interesting experiment to try to find out whether, with the reduced information such a file for the web contains, a more suitable look can be achieved in Photoshop.

Cecil Beaton caught something pretty good in this shot - http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_1EDafL1qUqg/S0po2pSI4WI/AAAAAAAADZA/mmplnAAtHoA/s1600-h/74091-e9aaa-19923860-.jpg

Great image. I like it because it shows what a natural beauty she had... she doesn't look all made-up.

Her best picture was the one I had on my basement darkroom wall in the late 50's. Absolute love.

To me, one of the most striking features Liz Taylor possessed was those blue eyes, and her eyes look black in that picture.

I'm not sure about the best photo but there is no doubt she was a stunner.

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