We are now so used to stars being photographed on film sets – indeed it’s become the stock-in-trade for a certain kind of magazine – that’s it’s hard to grasp the fact that at one time it was a real novelty. But photographer Bob Willoughby is credited as the first “outsider” invited into the mysterious behind-the-scenes world of movie-making and his extraordinary images documented the biggest celebrities in their downtime across three decades. Think James Dean learning his lines on the set of Rebel without A Cause, Sophia Loren cuddling Elvis and Gene Kelly placing dancers on the set of Brigadoon.
Brought together for a new show in London, they’re not only beautifully shot but all the more enjoyable because of the naivety of these very personal, often unposed moments viewed from an age when we’re all very savvy about the fame creation process.
Bob Willoughby: The Silver Age of Hollywood is on show at Proud Chelsea from Thursday until January 13.
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