That's why photographs so often are disappointing-they show just what the eye sees. But take a photograph that has a definite atmosphere, that brings out a girl's elfin loveliness, her daintiness, her quiet, sweet charm, her spirit of gay camaraderie, and you've got a photograph that is going to mean something to her and her friends. | Alfred Cheney Johnston, in an interview from 1928.
Before the golden age of Hollywood, the Ziegfeld Follies were the darlings of Broadway between the years 1907 to 1931. The dancing chorus in the elaborate seasonal musical shows were called Ziegfeld Girls and the ladies were marketed as, "the most beautiful women in the world." Their opulent costumes were designed by famous designers.
Many of the Ziegfeld Girls launched successful acting and singing careers during the early years of Hollywood's Golden Age, including Barbara Stanwyck, Josephine Baker, Paulette Goddard, Marilyn Miller and Gypsy Rose Lee.
The Ziegfeld Follies' shows included entertaining performances by comediennes, including Fannie Bryce, whom Barbara Streisand portrayed on Broadway and in the film, Funny Girl. The role garnered MS. Streisand a best actress Academy Award in 1969.
The Ziegfled Follies inspired three motion pictures: The Great Ziegfeld (1937), Ziegfeld Girl (1941) and Ziegfeld Follies (1946). The first film won Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Actress. All three films feature song and dance extravaganzas similar to the Broadway shows.
Alfred Cheney Johnston was the official photographer of the Ziegfeld Girls from 1907 to 1931. Those must have been some great times during the roaring 1920s. I am inspired by his body of work, especially of his images where a follie is posing nude or semi-nude with a hoop.
From my research, Alfred was known as "Mr. Drape" due to his penchant for draping his models in shawls, fabrics and jewels. I too like to include draping in my images, so when I stumbled across his vintage photographs featuring hoops and drapes, I was hooked. The hoop is an ideal framing device, as you can see above in Avalon's beautiful, sensual portrait.
Black foamcore background | Studio Lighting
Make-Up by Erika Aguirre | Studio Wardrobe and Props
Bronze Award | Portrait Masters: September 2018
Location: Tucson, Arizona.