12 April 2018

Garbo by Clarence Sinclair Bull

Portrait photographer Clarence Sinclair Bull (1896-1979) was 'The man who shot Garbo'. In 1919 producer Samuel Goldwyn hired him to make publicity stills of the stars of Goldwyn's studio. When Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer was founded in 1924, Bull was appointed as the head of their stills department and stayed there until retiring in 1961. He was responsible for managing MGM's staff of photographers and the large support crew of technicians needed to develop, re-touch print and collate the hundreds of thousands of prints distributed annually by MGM's publicity department. He is most famous for his photographs of Greta Garbo taken during the years of 1926-1941. Bull's first portrait of Garbo was a costume study for The Flesh and the Devil, in September 1926. Bull was the ideal collaborator for the sensitive Garbo. From her last silent film The Kiss (1929) until Two-Faced Woman in 1941, Bull was to take all Garbo's portraits with the exception of the film Romance (1930) for which George Hurrell took the portraits.

Greta Garbo in The Kiss (1929)
French postcard by Europe, no. 1022. Photo: Clarence Sinclair Bull / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for The Kiss (Jacques Feyder, 1929).

Greta Garbo
British postcard in the 'Picturegoer' Series, London, no. 2836. Photo: Clarence Sinclair Bull. Publicity still for The Kiss (Jacques Feyder, 1929).

Greta Garbo
British postcard in the Picturegoer series, no. 283p. Garbo wears the dress from her lesser known film Inspiration (Clarence Brown, 1931). Photo: Clarence Sinclair Bull, 1930.

Greta Garbo in Inspiration (1931)
British postcard. Photo: Clarence Sinclair Bull / Metro Goldwyn Mayer. Publicity still for Inspiration (Clarence Brown, 1931).

Greta Garbo
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 5924/1, 1930-1931. Photo: Clarence Sinclair Bull / Metro Goldwyn Mayer. Publicity still for Inspiration (Clarence Brown, 1931).

Greta Garbo in Inspiration (1931)
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 5924/2, 1930-1931. Photo: Clarence Sinclair Bull / Metro Goldwyn Mayer. Publicity still for Inspiration (Clarence Brown, 1931).

Greta Garbo
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 6213/1, 1931-1932. Photo: Photo: Clarence Bull / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for Susan Lenox, Her Fall and Rise (Robert Z. Leonard, 1931).

Greta Garbo
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 6392/2, 1931-1932. Photo: Clarence Bull / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for Susan Lenox, Her Fall and Rise (Robert Z. Leonard, 1931).

Greta Garbo
German postcard by Ross-Verlag, no. 597. Photo: Clarence Bull / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for Susan Lenox, Her Fall and Rise (Robert Z. Leonard, 1931).

Greta Garbo
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 649. Photo: Clarence Bull / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for Susan Lenox, Her Fall and Rise (Robert Z. Leonard, 1931). Sent by mail in the Netherlands in 1934.

Greta Garbo in Mata Hari (1931)
Dutch postcard by JosPe, no. 299. Photo: Clarence Sinclair Bull / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for Mata Hari (George Fitzmaurice, 1931).

Greta Garbo in Mata Hari (1931)
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 659. Photo: Clarence Sinclair Bull / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for Mata Hari (George Fitzmaurice, 1931).

Greta Garbo and Ramon Novarro in Mata Hari (1931)
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 701. Photo: Clarence Sinclair Bull / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for Mata Hari (George Fitzmaurice, 1931) with Ramon Novarro.

Greta Garbo in Mata Hari (1931)
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 6522/1, 1931-1932. Photo: Clarence Sinclair Bull / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for Mata Hari (George Fitzmaurice, 1931).

Greta Garbo
Italian postcard by B.F.F. Edit., no. 3616. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer / Clarence Sinclair Bull. Publicity still for Camille (George Cukor, 1936).

Sources: Garbo Forever, The Eye of Photography and Wikipedia.
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