Friends in high places: social networks and creative labour in queer Hollywood

Activity: Talk or presentation typesPresentation


From 1953-1963, the photographer George Hoyningen-Huene worked as a colour consultant in Hollywood. Most famous for his pioneering work for Paris Vogue and Harpers Bazaar in the 1930s and 1940s, Huene’s move to Hollywood was the result of a long-standing desire to shift his career into filmmaking and his close friendship with director George Cukor. Drawing on archival material held in the George Cukor Collection at the Margaret Herrick library in LA, this paper will situate Huene as a case study for highlighting the significance of social connections in facilitating access to work in film. More particularly, by focusing on the friendship and collaboration of two gay men, both of whom were members of highly influential ‘gay cultural orbits’, to use Thomas Waugh’s phrasing (1996: 105), it will underline the importance of queer artistic cultures to creative labour above and below-the-line in Hollywood. Given that much of the detail of these networks and cultures is embedded in personal correspondence, rather than professional documents, the paper will further consider the close connection between creative labour and intimacy, and the question of how to capture this in academic research.
Period5 Apr 2024
Event title12th BAFTSS Conference: Labour and Screen Media
Event typeConference
LocationBrighton, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • George Hoyningen-Huene
  • photography
  • film
  • colour film
  • film aesthetics
  • queer history
  • archives