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1953-Julius-Caesar-Marlon-Brando News & Insight

Rare Contact Sheets From Hollywood’s Greatest Films

By Michelle Bird on October 14th 2014


Julius Caesar featuring Marlon Brando, 1953 – Photo by Peter Stackpole

Back in the ‘classic’ Hollywood days, still photography went hand-in-hand with filmmaking, to the point that photo negatives were just as important as the reel of the film being produced. Publicity shots made the film and its stars eternally shine. Photographers had to show a keen flattering eye for capturing the stars of the film, as the public’s perception, and success of the film, heavily depended on them.

Karina Longworth– author of the book Hollywood Frame By Frame— is shining the spotlight on old Hollywood photographers, by putting together a collection of contact sheets from 1951 to 1997, that show famous actors on-set of some of Hollywood’s most famous movies.


Rear Window featuring Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly, 1954 – Michael Ochs Archives

In 1910, cinematographers were often the ones snapping photos on set for magazines, ads, and production. Then in the 1930’s, a special “unit photographer” position was created to help feed the media frenzy for celebrity news. The output of these photographs was highly edited, any extras that weren’t chosen would never be released to the public, and were kept private to help preserve the image of the Hollywood stars.

[REWIND: The Photographer Who Ignored Segregation, And Saw The Person Instead Of The Color]

It’s sad to say that many contact sheets were trashed after the movie released or had public run. Longworth notes in the book, “as photographer Bruce McBroom, who shot stills on the sets of films such as What’s Up Doc?, The Godfather Part II, and 48 Hours puts it: ‘Most of Hollywood history has survived because someone dug it out of the trash.


Bus Stop featuring Marilyn Monroe, 1956


Giant featuring James Dean, 1956


Breakfast at Tiffany’s featuring Audrey Hepburn, 1961- Photo: Howell Conant

1961-Breakfast-At-Tiffanys-3 1961-Breakfast-At-Tiffanys-2 1961-Breakfast-At-Tiffanys-4


Once Upon a Time in the West, 1968 – Photo: Bill Ray


Raging Bull featuring Robert DeNiro, 1980 – Photo: Christine Loss


Raging Bull featuring Robert DeNiro, 1980 – Photo: Christine Loss


[via] Gizmodo

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Michelle Bird is a Southern California based freelance photographer and writer, with a strong focus on music, editorial and portrait photography. She is the founder and creative force behind the music+culture online blog Black Vinyl Magazine, and can often be found in the photo-pit shooting the latest concerts in town. She has a strong passion for art, exploring, vintage finds and most of all animals. Connect with her through Email,
Instagram , or Facebook

Q&A Discussions

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  1. David Hall

    Love these images

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  2. Raoni Franco

    Awesome, thanks!!

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  3. Clare Havill

    These are quite magical, we’re so used to seeing the iconic photos from these movies it’s lovely to see alternative view points.

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  4. Ian Moss

    There is something truly amazing about the quality of contact sheet prints.

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  5. Ipek Amdahl

    These are beautiful! I’m definitely going to check the book out!

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