American photographer John Engstead was born in 1909 in California. He became Paramount’s studio portrait photographer in 1932. Engstead was fired from Paramount Pictures in 1941, and Harper’s Bazaar hired him for freelance advertising and portrait photography assignments. He also worked for numerous other magazines, including Collier’s, Esquire, House Beautiful, Ladies Home Journal, Life, Look, Mademoiselle, McCall’s, and Vogue during the 1940s. Engstead photographed many celebrities, including Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Maureen O’Hara, and Shirley Temple. In contrast to other photographers, he often photographed his subjects at home or outside. He built a studio in Los Angeles that became a gathering place for celebrities.
He photographed movie stars and celebrities throughout the 1950s and 1960s (Marilyn Monroe and Marlene Dietrich). Additionally, he shot cover photos for albums recorded by singers such as Peggy Lee and Connie Francis. In the 1950s, he worked with governmental figures, such as then-Second Lady Pat Nixon. Engstead closed his studio in 1970 but continued to accept special photoshoots and television assignments until he died in 1984 at age 72 in West Hollywood, California.
He took these pictures of classic beauties in the 1940s and 1950s as part of his work.