Ruth Harriet Louise, the first woman photographer in Hollywood

Ruth Harriet Louise Self-portrait, c. 1928
Ruth Harriet Louise Self-portrait, c. 1928
January 13, 2016 /Photography News/ Born 113 years ago today, on 13 January 1903, Ruth Harriet Louise was the first woman photographer active in Hollywood. She also ran Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's portrait studio from 1925 to 1930.

When Louise was hired by M.G.M. as chief portrait photographer in the summer of 1925, she was twenty-two years old, and the only woman working as a portrait photographer for the Hollywood studios. In a career that lasted only five years, Louise photographed all the stars, contract players, and many of the hopefuls who passed through the studio's front gates, including Greta Garbo, Lon Chaney, John Gilbert, Joan Crawford, Marion Davies, and Norma Shearer.

Louise died in 1940 of complications from childbirth.

Vivian and Rosetta Duncan by Ruth Harriet Louise, 1928
Vivian and Rosetta Duncan by Ruth Harriet Louise, 1928

Greta Garbo in a publicity still for Wild Orchids by Ruth Harriet Louise, 1929
Greta Garbo in a publicity still for Wild Orchids by Ruth Harriet Louise, 1929
Joan Crawford by Ruth Harriet Louise, c. 1930
Joan Crawford by Ruth Harriet Louise, c. 1930
Renee Adore by Ruth Harriet Louise, c. 1930
Renee Adore by Ruth Harriet Louise, c. 1930
Aileen Pringle by Ruth Harriet Louise, c. 1930
Aileen Pringle by Ruth Harriet Louise, c. 1930
Norma Shearer by Ruth Harriet Louise, c. 1930
Norma Shearer by Ruth Harriet Louise, c. 1930
Dorothy Sebastian by Ruth Harriet Louise, c. 1930
Dorothy Sebastian by Ruth Harriet Louise, c. 1930


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    Considering the period when these images were shot the quality and technique are simply superb. So tragic that Ruth died so young.

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