Marlene Dietrich: A Legend in Photographs

  April 2000

Image of Marlene Dietrich in ‘The Blue Angel’ featured in the exhibition at the Gallery of Photography

In today’s world of instantly manufactured celebrities, Marlene Dietrich stands almost alone. She has been a legend for over sixty years, the quintessential embodiment of cool, enigmatic, ambiguously erotic glamour.

Image of Marlene Dietrich in Hollywood in 1937 by Cecil Beaton featured in the exhibition at the Gallery of Photography

Image of Marlene Dietrich in Hollywood in 1937 by Cecil Beaton featured in the exhibition at the Gallery of Photography

This exhibition includes images by famous photographers such as Edward Steichen, Horst P Horst, Eugene Robert Richee and George Hurrell. It provides a chance to examine the role that photography has played in the promulgation of the Dietrich legend. Though often ascribed to the directorial – if not dictatorial – genius of Joseph von Sternberg, Dietrich’s lasting allure also owes much to her own canny understanding of the camera. On one occasion, during a shoot with George Hurrell Dietrich literally called the shots. As Hurrell noted: “She would demand a body-sized mirror in the studio, right next to the camera…and strike her own poses. ‘Shoot, George. Shoot’ she’d say. And if you didn’t get it, then all hell broke out!”

Image of Marlene Dietrich during filming of Morocco,1930 featured in the exhibition at the Gallery of Photography

Image of Marlene Dietrich during filming of Morocco,1930 featured in the exhibition at the Gallery of Photography

The images are selected from Dietrich’s estate which includes over 15,000 photographs due to be housed in the newly erected Museum of Cinematography in Berlin.

The exhibition will be opened by Mr Robert O’Byrne, The Irish Times, on Wednesday 5th April at 6pm.