Hedy Lamarr

Photographer. Bert Si* (?). 1944 Degree of difficult/: Quite eaiy (3 light»)

Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler had an admirable grasp of Hollywood essentials. As she put it: 'Any girl can be glamorous; all you have to do is stand still and look stupid.' She arrived in Hollywood in 1937, already notorious from her appearance nude in the Czcch film lixtjse ('Ecstasy'). Although %he made comparatively few films after that, her look* made her a star, and %he was very popular.

Despite the exoticism of Ms Lamarr's outfit, and her striking looks, this is almost a textbook example of how to make the wife of the Chairman of the Board look good. The only departure from the formula is the inclusion of a little background before it fades to black.

The cropping of the (gloved) hand could be critici/cd. but had you really noticed before it was pointed out to you? The slightly different heights of the shoulders and the fact that the left shoulder is slightly closer to the camera - both natural consequences of the pose - are at least as important a lesson to learn: shoulders at the same height can very easily look all too much like a police mug shot.

Once again this is 'loop' lighting, with the key somewhat to camera left and the fill much closer to the camera, lower down, on the right: as so often, the catchlights in the eyes give a vers- good idea of where the lights are. There seems also to be a kicker, principally for the background, to camera left. The odd woolly agglomeration in the lower left-hand comer of the picture may be the remains of unsuccessful retouching designed to knock back an overly 'hot' area from this light. Otherwise, it is entirely inexplicable.

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