Bob Willoughby

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Robert Hanley “Bob” Willoughby (June 30, 1927 – 18 December 2009) was an American photographer. Popular Photography magazine called Bob “The man who virtually invented the photojournalistic motion picture still.”

His photographs transformed the images of Hollywood's biggest stars, and he was a true pioneer of 20th century photography. Bob was the first “outside” photographer hired by the major studios to create photographs for magazines, and was the link between the filmmakers and major magazines of the time, such as Life and Look.

He was responsible for a number of technical innovations, including the silent blimp for 35mm cameras, which became common on film sets. He was the only photographer working on films at the time to use radio-controlled cameras, allowing him unprecedented coverage in otherwise impossible situations, and he had special brackets built to hold his still cameras on or over the Panavision cameras.

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences in Hollywood honored Willoughby with a major retrospective exhibit of his work. He was awarded the Lucie Award for Outstanding Achievement in Still Photography in 2004.

His photographs are in the permanent collections of: The National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C; The National Portrait Gallery, London, UK; The National Museum of Photography, Bradford, UK; Bibliotheque National de France, Paris; The Museum of Modern Art – Film Department, New York; The Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences, Beverly Hills; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Tate Gallery Collection, London; and Musee de la Photographie, Charleroi, Brussels.

All images © Bob Willoughby

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