Re-creating Old Hollywood Glamour: Marlene Dietrich

Marlene Dietrich Strength I ©FrogDIva Photography

Part of the learning curve of this Old Hollywood Glamour project is to push ourselves out of our comfort zone. This goes for the model and her styling, as well as myself as photographer. Those of you who have been following the series here, on Instagram or on the FrogDiva Photography website, know that I feel anything but at home in this murky world of portraiture. Nevertheless, onwards we march, with copious amounts of poetic license , self-confidence, and a sense of humour, hoping the the cats won’t interfere, or that the final results are close to what we envisioned. Keep in mind that our aim is never to replicate, but to capture a mood, an attitude that reflects the actress, that enigmatic aura that these Hollywood divas of yesteryears wore like a second skin.

It not just the fact that Maike as my model and muse is enjoying this as much as I am, but she is like a chameleon and can adapt and adopt any look she sets her mind to, as long as we have the right accessories. That’s the other thing that is characteristic of the project, no money is spent for the images, we just scrounge around the closet and use whatever we find. So we won’t be doing a Cleopatra shoot anytime soon!

Marlene Dietrich Strength II ©FrogDIva Photography

Our take on Marlene Dietrich was anything but easy. She was gritty, gutsy, unafraid to constantly re-invent herself, openly bisexual, and had no qualms about speaking her mind on humanitarian and political issues. How to capture all this in a photograph? By pushing the limits and honouring the memory of this quintessential Berliner icon.

Of all the divas we have re-created thus far, Marlene Dietrich was the most significant one for my daughter, as Dietrich remains one of the most revered Hollywood figures of the LGBT community. Like I said, this was a major learning curve, not just on the photographic level but also as an LGBT parent.

For the photographs: ND +2, ND +4 filters, UV filter, and this time I used a flash as well instead of natural light. Because Marlene Dietrich rose to fame in the 1920, I chose to process the images high key – all elements waaaaaay out of my comfort zone. Not only do I dislike using a flash per se, but I really wasn’t sure what the final results would be like.

What’s next on the list? No clue. I stopped planning in advanced because last time we said we were going to re-create Rita Hayworth, we ended up doing Sophia Loren! Today Marlene Dietrich was not really top of the list, but ended up being the final choice. Tune in tomorrow and find out. like us, what diva lands in front of our lens!

Click HERE for the full set.

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