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August 22, 2022

40 Gorgeous Portrait Photos of Classic Beauties Taken by John Engstead in the 1940s and ’50s

Born 1909 in California, American photographer John Engstead assumed the position of studio portrait photographer at Paramount, despite having never previously photographed anyone in 1932.

Classic beauties photographed by John Engstead in the 1940s and ’50s

In 1941, Paramount Pictures fired Engstead, and Harper’s Bazaar hired him for freelance advertising and portrait photography assignments. From 1941 to 1949, he took fashion photography assignments from numerous other magazines, including Collier’s, Esquire, House Beautiful, Ladies Home Journal, Life, Look, Mademoiselle, McCall’s, Vogue, and Women’s Home Companion.

In the 1940s, Engstead photographed many celebrities, including Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Maureen O'Hara and Shirley Temple. Unlike other photographers, he often shot his subjects at home or outdoors. During this decade, he built a studio in Los Angeles that became a gathering place for celebrities.

Engstead continued to photograph movie stars and other celebrities through the 1950s (Marilyn Monroe or Marlene Dietrich) and 1960s. He also shot cover photos for albums recorded by singers such as Peggy Lee and Connie Francis, as well as society portraits. His work extended into governmental figures in the 1950s, including then-Second Lady Pat Nixon.

Engstead closed his studio in 1970 but continued to accept special portrait and television assignments until his death in West Hollywood, California, in 1984 at age 72.

These gorgeous photos are part of his work that John Engstead took portraits of classic beauties in the 1940s and 1950s.

Anne Baxter photographed by John Engstead, circa late 1940s

Anne Baxter photographed by John Engstead, circa late 1940s

Ava Gardner photographed by John Engstead, circa late 1940s

Carole Lombard photographed by John Engstead, 1940

Ginger Rogers photographed by John Engstead, circa 1940s

Lauren Bacall photographed by John Engstead, circa 1940s

Lauren Bacall photographed by John Engstead, circa 1940s

Loretta Young photographed by John Engstead, 1940

Loretta Young photographed by John Engstead, 1940

Loretta Young photographed by John Engstead, 1940

Patricia Morison photographed by John Engstead, circa late 1940s

Zsa Zsa Gabor photographed by John Engstead, circa late 1940s

Loretta Young photographed by John Engstead, 1941

Lauren Bacall photographed by John Engstead, 1943

Lauren Bacall photographed by John Engstead, 1943

Ann Miller photographed by John Engstead, 1944

Joan Fontaine photographed by John Engstead, 1944

Lauren Bacall photographed by John Engstead, 1944

Myrna Loy photographed by John Engstead, 1944

Myrna Loy photographed by John Engstead, 1944

Elizabeth Taylor photographed by John Engstead, 1948

Elizabeth Taylor photographed by John Engstead, 1948

Elizabeth Taylor photographed by John Engstead, 1948

Anne Baxter photographed by John Engstead, circa late 1950s

Marilyn Monroe photographed by John Engstead, 1950

Marilyn Monroe photographed by John Engstead, 1950

Shelley Winters photographed by John Engstead, 1950

Audrey Hepburn photographed by John Engstead, 1953

Audrey Hepburn photographed by John Engstead, 1953

Audrey Hepburn photographed by John Engstead, 1953

Marlene Dietrich photographed by John Engstead, 1953

Marlene Dietrich photographed by John Engstead, 1953

Audrey Hepburn photographed by John Engstead, 1954

Marlene Dietrich photographed by John Engstead, circa 1955

Marlene Dietrich photographed by John Engstead, circa 1955

Marlene Dietrich photographed by John Engstead, circa 1955

Audrey Hepburn photographed by John Engstead, 1956

Judy Garland photographed by John Engstead, 1956

Marlene Dietrich photographed by John Engstead, 1957

Marlene Dietrich photographed by John Engstead, 1957




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