She’s one of the most recognizable faces on screen, but she’s not a Hollywood star.
Columbia Pictures’ “Torch Lady” has been introducing us to movies since 1924, but in 1991, the movie studio’s artist Michael Deas was commissioned to update the logo and asked photographer Kathy Andersen to take reference photos for his painting.
And when Deas struggled to find a suitable model, Anderson suggested her colleague Jenny Joseph, who was a graphic designer for the New Orleans newspaper The Times-Picayune at the time.
Despite never modeling before, the British graphic designer agreed.
She’s one of the most recognizable faces on screen, but she’s not a Hollywood star. Jenny Joseph was hired as a model for Columbia Pictures’ ‘Torch Lady’
“We’re both amused by the attention it’s getting, even to this day,” said Anderson, who later won a Pulitzer Prize for her coverage of Hurricane Katrina. Yahoo Entertainment.
One of the most iconic images in cinema was captured during a lunch break at the photographer’s apartment.
“After moving my dining room table and converting my apartment living room into a studio, I set up a mottled gray backdrop,” Anderson revealed.
Deas’s vision came about with simple props like “sheets, cloth, a flag, and a small lamp with a lightbulb sticking out of the top,” Anderson told the publication.
Joseph was meticulously draped in white sheets to mimic a Roman goddess and the fabric was constantly rearranged for best results.
They tried a few looks with an American flag draped over one shoulder, but ultimately settled on the blue fabric.
She attached a Polaroid back to her Hasselblad camera to take some test shots, while perfecting the softbox lighting to accentuate the pleats in the fabric.
Anderson says the soft lighting created the soft sunrise light the painter envisioned, and was intended to evoke a sense of beauty and timelessness.
She has been introducing us to movies since 1924, but in 1991, artist Michael Deas was commissioned by the movie studio to update the logo, with Joseph taking the lead role
Photographer Kathy Anderson was asked by Deas to take reference photos for his painting
Joseph was meticulously draped in sheets to mimic a Roman goddess and the fabric was constantly rearranged for best results. She revealed she was pregnant during the shoot
Earlier, the photographer told DailyMail.com that she had “no idea how iconic the image would become.”
“During the shoot, Jenny asked if she could sit down for a minute,” Anderson said in the 2022 interview.
“I shot an image of her sitting, which is perhaps my favorite image from the shoot.”
After talking for a minute, Joseph, who has never modeled again, confided that she was pregnant.
In 1924, Columbia Pictures changed its name from its previous name Cohn-Brandt-Cohn Film Sales and opted for a new logo.
They chose the name “Columbia” in homage to the early American female personification of the United States who stood for ideals such as freedom and enlightenment (hence the torch).
Lady Columbia faded in popularity as the Statue of Liberty rose to become America’s new female symbol.
The photographer says she keeps in touch with Joseph (pictured), while Anderson says: ‘She’s as amazed as I am at the continued interest in it’
Some of them have been notable actresses posing as Lady Columbia, including Evelyn Venable, Claudia Dell, and Amelia Batchler.
Over the years, many notable women have impersonated Lady Columbia in various incarnations of the logo.
Some of them were notable actresses like Evelyn Venable, Claudia Dell, and Amelia Batchler.
When Sony Studios purchased Columbia Pictures in 1991, they decided they needed a brand refresh and hired Deas to update the logo.
“I believe the painting was custom,” Anderson recalled.
The image has since become a ubiquitous motif in American visual culture.
The photographer says she keeps in touch with Joseph and the two are happy to send each other memes of the logo online, adding, “Then we can both have a good laugh.”
“She’s as surprised as I am at the continued interest in it.”