Vieira, Mark A. 1950-
VIEIRA, Mark A. 1950-
PERSONAL: Born 1950.
CAREER: Film historian and portrait photographer. Starlight Studio, Los Angeles, CA, owner.
Hurrell's Hollywood Portraits: The Chapman Collection, Harry N. Abrams (New York, NY), 1997.
Sin in Soft Focus: Pre-Code Hollywood, Harry N. Abrams (New York, NY), 1999.
Hollywood Horror: From Gothic to Cosmic, Harry N. Abrams (New York, NY), 2003.
SIDELIGHTS: Mark A. Vieira was born in 1950. He is a film historian specializing in the photographic legacy of Hollywood, and a portrait photographer. He is the owner of Starlight Studio in Los Angeles, California, which is located in the historic Granada Buildings and offers services such as film screenings and lectures. He is the author of three books focusing on film and photography in Hollywood.
Vieira's first book, Hurrell's Hollywood Portraits: The Chapman Collection, profiles Hollywood photographer George Hurrell, who was a close friend of Vieira's.
During his career he worked for MGM, Warner Brothers, and Columbia and photographed nearly every Hollywood star, including his favorite subject, Joan Crawford. Vieira's book features 275 photographs taken from 1929-1943, the beginning of Hurrell's nearly seventy-year career. Hurrell enjoyed playing with light in his photographs and often insisted his subjects go without face makeup, leaving it only on their eyes and mouth. Patricia Eliot Tobias of the New York Times Book Review noted, "Mr. Vieira attempts to define Hurrell's technique, but too often he merely describes, in condescending detail, simple technical terms like f-stops, while skimming over more unusual procedures." Kathleen Murphy of Film Comment commended Vieira, "The 'backstory' of Hurrell's Hollywood life and times makes for fascinating reading, but the real lure of this coffee-table book is its lavish offering of pictures selected from one of the most extensive archives of Hurrell originals, many published for the first time in over half a century." David Bryant of Library Journal stated, "Viera has collected and arranged the stars in this volume in an admiring way, turning Hurrell's incredible ability to merge glamour, creative lighting, star quality, and imaginative posing into a timeless book."
In 1999 Vieira published Sin in Soft Focus: Pre-Code Hollywood. Here he looks at an era in Hollywood when filmmakers where not restricted by codes of conduct. During the early 1930s movie studios, led by Presbyterian Will Hays, united to form a voluntary production code intending to limit salacious material in film. However, the code was virtually ignored and was therefore made more stringent. Vieira focuses on the films made between the code's original adoption and its amendment. Films made before the code had to be submitted retroactively and were spliced to accommodate the code's standards. Often these cuts where made to the original film, so today some films no longer exist in their original form. Vieira also looks at the role anti-Semitism played in the proceedings. The book includes 275 photographs of the period. Steven Bach of Wilson Quarterly described the book, "[The book] details pre-Code history and its no-longer-available films in a clear and lively text that inevitably pales alongside the 275 photographs." He found that the photographs "seductively evoke the period, shimmering with a black-and-white elegance so alluring, ironically, that it is easy to see what alarmed the bluestockings." Mike Tribby of Booklist wrote, "The informative text is entertaining, but the pictures are the big treat here." Stephen Rees of Library Journal called it a "fascinating look at an important though brief period in Hollywood history," and thought that its photographs "may surprise readers with their frank treatment of sex, nudity, and violence."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, December 1, 1999, Mike Tribby, review of Sin in Soft Focus: Pre-Code Hollywood, p. 666.
Film Comment, November-December, 1997, Kathleen Murphy, review of Hurrell's Hollywood Portraits: The Chapman Collection, p. 76.
Library Journal, September 1, 1997, David Bryant, review of Hurrell's Hollywood Portraits, p. 180; November 1, 1999, Stephen Rees, review of Sin in Soft Focus, p. 86.
New York Times Book Review, June 15, 1997, Patricia Eliot Tobias, "Goddesses Are Photographed, Not Born," p. 23.
Wilson Quarterly, autumn, 1999, Steven Bach, review of Sin in Soft Focus, p. 116.
Starlight Studio,http://www.thestarlightstudio.com/ (September 9, 2003), history of studio and events.*