The Photo Behind the Iconic Columbia Pictures ‘Torch Lady’ Logo

by | Feb 22, 2022 | Member Spotlight, PetaPixel

Featured image: Photograph Kathy Anderson / Columbia Pictures logo illustration by Michael J. Deas

Editor’s Note: New Orleans-based Kathy Anderson is an ASMP Professional Member. Her work has been honored numerous times in national and regional photography contests, including the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for The Times-Picayune’s coverage of Hurricane Katrina.

Cross-posted from [by Phil Mistry]

The iconic logo of the lady holding the torch that you currently see at the beginning of every Columbia Pictures movie was born in the apartment of Pulitzer Prize-winning New Orleans photographer Kathy Anderson in 1991.

The final version is a painting, but few people know that it was based on a photo of the photographer’s colleague, captured during a portrait shoot in a small space using very simple props.

The Story Behind the Photo Shoot

It all started when Anderson’s friend, the talented illustrator Michael J. Deas, who has designed 16 commemorative stamps for the US Postal Service, asked the photographer to shoot a reference photo for a painting. At the time, she had no idea how iconic the artwork would eventually become.

“Michael had a vision for the piece,” Anderson tells PetaPixel. “I created a soft light that would accentuate every fold in the material and flatter the model…

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