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A Day with George Hurrells Last Assistant

How to Make Hollywood Portraits

Back in December 2009, I was given one of the best Christmas Presents I think I have ever gotten. I was given the opportunity to spend the day with George Hurrells Last Assistant, Richard Settle. Not only did I get to spend the day talking with Richard about George Hurrell and his techniques, I was able to watch never before seen footage of George Hurrell Shooting some big time celebrities and musicians, in the last part of his life.

Richard served in the U.S. Navy 1967 to 1971 as the unofficial ship’s photographer, and then worked at Capitol Records from 1973-1980.  From 1980 to 1992 Richard and his partner ran a photographic rental studio, in which photographers could come in and rent space for a day and photograph their subjects. I was at this time when George Hurrell came into contact with Richard and the rental studio.

Visage, a photographic agency that represented Hurrell at that time, contacted Richard and told him they needed a studio for George to shoot in. Richard was a little struck, but shortly after the phone called George Hurrell pulled up in his station wagon with his gear, and proceeded to unload.

George Hurrell shot at the rental studio from 1981 up to just before his death in 1992. At this time George has just finished filming a documentary about his work and life called “Legends in Light: The Photography of George Hurrell”. Richard also was a part and can be seen in another documentary called the Hollywood Fashion Machine: George Hurrell. Legends in Light can sometimes be gotten through Amazon, but the Hollywood Fashion Machine is not in print and can only be gotten through certain channels.

I sat and watched about an hours worth of Never-Before-Seen edited footage of Richard assisting George Hurrell shooting movie stars and musicians such as John Sedler, Emilia Crow, Glen Scott, Natalie Cole, Jeff Fahey, Ry Cooder, Ed Harris, Michael Biehn, Jefferson Wagner, David Duchovny, Bryan Murphy, Tony Peck, Dean Stockwell and Mario Van Peebles. It was funny to listen to some of the stars talking to the camera and to George, their just ordinary people, doing a movie stars job. “uhh, what’s the camera for?” hahahaha.

Below is a video I took of Richard and I at the end of the day, I wish I could share the video with the rest of the world but I can’t, hopefully some day Richard will get the releases to create a video for the world to see one of the best Hollywood Glamour Photographers of all time, George Hurrell.

I want to thank Richard Settle for his generosity and gift of memories.

Thanks Richard!!!

Richard can be reached here: http://home.earthlink.net/~resettle


Natalie Cole Shot by George Hurrell


The Oscar shot in the rental studio of Richard Settle


George Hurrell surrounded by his work


George Hurrell shooting Ann Sheridan


George Hurrell Shooting Ann Sheridan and James Cagney


Richard Settle Standing next to his photo of George Hurrell and his photo BY George Hurrell.


Richard Settle Photo by George Hurrell

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