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June 1, 2020

55 Gorgeous Portrait Photos of the 1930s Beauties Taken by Ernest Bachrach

Born 1899 in New York, American photographer Ernest Bachrach was one of the most influential and admired of all the Hollywood portrait photographers. He headed the photographic department at RKO from its inception in 1929 until his retirement in the late 1950s.

(L-R) Lupe Velez, Carole Lombard, and Katharine Hepburn taken by Ernest Bachrach in the 1930s

Bachrach shot and custom printed most of the portraits of the stars employed by RKO during these decades, among them Dolores Del Rio, Fred Astaire, and Katharine Hepburn. He was also a frequent contributor to American Cinematographer and International Photographer.

Bachrach explains that, as a rule, it is advantageous to know his sitters relatively well. Like a director, he plays upon their emotions and induces the mood and expressions he desires.
“Portraiture is very closely akin to cinematography. The cinematographer has very little need for accessories in the making of close-ups; all he needs is a face and some lights and shadows. And that is all the portrait artist needs. Occasionally – but only occasionally – minor props are useful.”
Bachrach died in 1973 at the age of 73 in Los Angeles, California.

These gorgeous photos are part of his work that Ernest Bachrach took portraits of classic beauties  the 1930s.

Ann Harding

Ann Harding

Ann Harding

Ann Harding

Ann Harding

Ann Harding

Betty Furness

Carole Lombard

Dolores Del Rio

Dorothy Lee

Dorothy Lee

Eleanor Post

Eleanor Post

Fay Wray

Fay Wray

Ginger Rogers

Gloria Swanson

Gloria Swanson

Gwili Andre

Gwili Andre

Gwili Andre

Gwili Andre

Gwili Andre

Gwili Andre

Gwili Andre

Harriet Hagman

Harriet Hagman

Harriet Hagman

Helen Twelvetrees

Helen Twelvetrees

Helen Twelvetrees

Helen Twelvetrees

Ingrid Bergman

Katharine Hepburn

Katharine Hepburn

Katharine Hepburn

Katharine Hepburn

Katharine Hepburn

Katharine Hepburn

Katharine Hepburn

Katharine Hepburn

Katharine Hepburn

Katharine Hepburn

Katharine Hepburn

Katharine Hepburn

Kitty Kelly

Kitty Kelly

Kitty Kelly

Kitty Kelly

Lucille Ball

Lupe Velez

Lupe Velez

Mary Astor

Mary Astor

Mary Astor

Maureen O’Hara

(Photo © Ernest Bachrach)

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