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November 2, 2019

Glamorous Photos of Jayne Mansfield Taken by Peter Stackpole in 1956

Born 1913, American photographer Peter Stackpole worked for Life magazine from 1936 to 1960, joining Alfred Eisenstaedt, Margaret Bourke-White and Thomas McAvoy as the magazine's first staff photographers. His work also appeared in Time, Fortune, U.S. Camera and Vanity Fair.

During his tenure at Life, 26 of Mr. Stackpole's pictures were on the magazine's cover, many of them shots of the Hollywood stars of the period. He told interviewers, though, that the stars were not his favourite part of the movie world. "What I like about Hollywood is the sidelights and the extras, not the celebrities," he said.

Besides taking a series of pictures showing the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, Stackpole covered World War II in the South Pacific and efforts to bring electricity to rural America. One of his specialties was chronicling the trends and fads that came out of California, from dance marathons to bathing beauties.

Stackpole won a George Polk Memorial Award for news photography in 1954 for a 'dramatic and unprecedented picture, taken 100 feet underwater', of a diver's attempt to set a new record for aqualung descent.

After leaving Life's staff, Stackpole taught photography at the Academy of Arts College in San Francisco. For 15 years, he wrote a column for U.S. Camera called '35-mm. Techniques'.

In 1991, a fire at his home in Oakland, California, destroyed most of his negatives. Friends said Stackpole had less than 20 minutes to save what he could and managed to salvage only the work that established his career, showing the building of San Francisco's great bridges. He continued to work up until his death in 1997.

These glamorous photos of Jayne Mansfield are part of his work that Stackpole took for Life magazine in 1956.


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