Film Noir - A Classic Era 

9th July 2020 - Ian Shuttleworth 

The American film noir era from the early 1940s is associated with low key, dark, dramatic and an often-menacing style, visually portrayed in black and white.

Hollywood Film Noir

A style that is packed with uncompromising shadows and high contrast, created by film makers, frequently on limited budgets, is now considered as the “classic period” of American film noir, best seen in Hollywood crime dramas.

A common thread for film noir is low key lighting “Chiaroscuro” an Italian term used in the artworld, meaning light–dark, using prominent shadows and harsh lighting to create a sense of depth and volume in paintings. A style that has been adopted by photographers to this very day.


Hollywood Film Noir

A modern approach is for social photographers to blend modern fashion styles with the classic Hollywood or film noir lighting. A new genre using a hard, sharp lighting setup which enhances and radiates the skin but it can over emphasise skin texture, resulting in blemishes and skin textures having to be rectified in post-production.

Overall, a unique portrait that draws from the glamour of the golden era of Hollywood that conveys a classic and timeless style with a modern approach.

Have you got something else in mind?

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For more information on our Retro Photography sessions or promotions, please contact us on 01642 984535 or 0345 257 5300 or by email:

Imaginethat Photography

Stokesley Studio - 5 Leven Close, Stokesley, Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire. TS9 5AU
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