Photographer Cornel Lucas, credited as one of the pioneers of movie portraiture in the 1940s and 1950s, has died aged 92.


Picture credit: Cornel Lucas, courtesy of Chris Beetles Fine Photographs

The London-born photographer first made his name through a portrait session with actress Marlene Dietrich (see above).

Other famous names in Cornel’s star-studded portfolio include Brigitte Bardot (pictured below), Katharine Hepburn and David Niven.

Describing the Dietrich assignment, London’s Chris Beetles gallery – which staged an exhibition of Cornel’s photographs last year – says: ‘After a nervous start to the photo shoot it ended well when Marlene famously said to him “Join the club Mr Lucas”.

‘He was not sure what she meant at the time but, soon after, the commissions started flooding in and Lucas became the photographer of choice for the British Film Industry.’

Cornel studied photography at Westminster University and went on to work at the RAF’s school of photography in Farnborough, Hampshire during World War Two.

He started his career as a portrait photographer at the Denham Studios in 1945, having been introduced to the movie industry by his brother who worked at a film-processing lab.

The Rank Organisation suggested he set up a specially-equipped studio at Pinewood. It featured a swimming pool with a mirror, allowing Cornel to add a Hollywood feel to his images.

‘He was the master of the 12×10 large format plate camera, but also of light and shade,’ adds Chris Beetles on its website.

‘It is prevalent throughout his work, creating stunning, rich portraits which are full of life and luminosity.’

The photographer turned freelance in 1959, widening his work to cover advertising and fashion shoots, for example.

Cornel Lucas died on 8 November 2012. The funeral is expected to take place at 11am on 23 November, at St Barnabas Church, 23 Addison Road, London W14, according to an obituary published by The Times newspaper.

 


Picture credit: Cornel Lucas, courtesy


of Chris Beetles Fine Photographs

 


 Cornel with camera, courtesy of the Cornel Lucas family


Marlene Dietrich, 1948, copyright Cornel Lucas