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Photographer Shares Story Behind The Iconic Columbia Pictures Logo Photoshoot

A photographer shares story behind the iconic Columbia Pictures logo photoshoot. In 1992, a young woman named Jenny Joseph had a brief but memorable moment in the spotlight when she posed as the model for the Columbia Pictures logo.

Author:Dr. Felix Chaosphere
Reviewer:Xander Oddity
Jun 01, 20233.1K Shares223.7K Views
A photographer shares story behind the iconic Columbia Pictures logo photoshoot. In 1992, a young woman named Jenny Joseph had a brief but memorable moment in the spotlight when she posed as the model for the Columbia Pictures logo.
At the age of 28, she became one of the most recognizable figures in contemporary film, representing the iconic studio with her majestic pose. Although Joseph never pursued a modeling career, her role as the Columbia Pictures logo model left an indelible mark. Now, a photographer shares story behind the iconic Columbia Pictures logo photoshoot.
The Columbia Pictures logo, featuring a woman holding a torch, has been an integral part of the studio's branding since its inception. However, in 1992, the decision was made to update the logo and give it a more modern and dynamic look. The responsibility of finding the perfect model fell on veteran photographer Michael Deas.
Michael Deas embarked on a search for a woman who could embody the strength and grace necessary for the updated Columbia Pictures logo. After an extensive casting process, he discovered Jenny Joseph, a then 28-year-old aspiring actress. Impressed by her presence and classic beauty, Deas knew she was the ideal choice for the iconic role.
During the photoshoot, held on a studio set, Joseph posed with a torch in her hand, draped in a flowing robe. Deas captured multiple shots, experimenting with various angles and lighting techniques to capture the essence of the logo. The collaboration between Deas and Joseph resulted in a series of photographs that would become an integral part of film history.
It's an amazing tale of how they managed to secure Jenny Joseph for the filming. Deas hired Anderson for the position, and she soon discovered the improbable model employed by the same publication. Now, let's have a look at the detailed story.

Behind The Scenes Of The Columbia Pictures Logo Photoshoot

You've seen it a hundred times: the Columbia Pictures film's opening sequence and the woman, Jenny Joseph, in the statuesque position. Model Jenny Joseph didn't exist. She wasn't a performer. She has never before or since taken a professional photo. But after a chance shooting, the doe-eyed British woman rose to become one of modern cinema's most recognizable faces.
As you can see, Joseph is instantly identifiable as Miss Liberty, the torch-bearer in the Columbia Pictures insignia that appears before each of the studio's motion pictures.
The 1992 version of the studio's logo, which is still in use today, was painted by artist Michael Deas using reference photos taken by Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Kathy Anderson."We are both amused by the attention it gets, even to this day," Anderson said of her and her husband.
Deas was hired by Columbia Pictures to update its iconic logo, which features a draped woman holding a torch aloft like the Statue of Liberty and has appeared at the start of every Columbia Pictures film since the early 1990s. Deas' paintings of famous people like Abraham Lincoln and Marilyn Monroe hang in museums all over the world and have been featured on several U.S. postage stamps.
Prior to being modified in 1928 to a lady holding a draped flag and torch, the film studio's original lead image was a female Romansoldier wielding a shield in her left hand.
The actresses Evelyn Venable (who also provided the Blue Fairy voice in Disney's Pinocchio) and Jane Bartholomew, whose likeness served as the inspiration for the final logo that Columbia used from 1936 to 1976 and for which she was reportedly paid $25, were both used as sources of inspiration over the course of the following several decades.
Jenny Joseph in the Columbia Pictures logo photoshoot
Jenny Joseph in the Columbia Pictures logo photoshoot
When the studio asked Deas to paint a contemporary Miss Liberty, he was aware that he would require a talented photographer to take pictures that he could use as references. At that point, Anderson was immediately enlisted by him.
She said:
Over the years, I have shot many reference photos for Michael, including book covers and commissioned portraits. So, when he contacted me about shooting a reference for the project, I immediately said yes.
When it came time to hunt for models, Anderson, who was at the time working as a photographer for the local daily The Times-Picayune, reveals that Deas wasn't having much success. Joseph, who was a graphic artist for the Times-Picayune at the time and was 28 years old, was recommended by one of her Times-Picayune coworkers.
Joseph was present at the appropriate moment. During an unplanned lunch break, the rookie model consented to assist Anderson.
When asked about that day in 2012, Joseph said, “They wrapped a sheet around me and I held a regular little desk lamp, a side lamp.”Joseph, who stopped modeling altogether, declined to comment toYahoofor this article. “I just held that up and we did that with a light bulb.”
When asked about Joseph, Anderson tells Yahoo Entertainmentthat "she turned out to be perfect,"remembering the day she prepared her New Orleans house for the shoot.
She explains:
After moving my dining room table out of the way and converting the living room of my apartment into a studio, I set up a mottled gray backdrop. I placed a couple of boxes on the floor to let the fabric drape. I put a Polaroid back on the Hasselblad camera to start with some test shots.- Kathy Anderson
Deas' vision for the piece includes a lighting design that Anderson frequently employed. She claims that the task was a wonderful fit for her preference for huge softbox light modifiers, highlighting the "soft lighting" decisions that highlighted "every fold in the material" and enhanced Joseph's appearance.
Deas arrived with a "box of warm croissants from his favorite French Quarter baker, and various props," Anderson recalls, including "sheets, fabric, a flag, and a small lamp with a light bulb sticking out of the top." Deas also brought "sheets, fabric, and a flag."
Anderson, who placed blue fabric on top of a white sheet that had been draped over Joseph's body, recalls that the lamp "vaguely resembled a torch."
The materials were carefully arranged. We began a fun-filled and creatively fused couple hours of shooting, studying Polaroid test prints and rearranging the bed sheet wrapped around Jenny.- Kathy Anderson
Deas remembers the friendliness Joseph emanated on the day of the filming during the interview with 4WWN.
He said:
At some point she just started listing a bit and she very politely said, in her beautiful British accent, 'Do you mind if I sit down?' And she sat on the edge of the dais and announced that she had just discovered that she was pregnant.- Michael Deas
When Joseph recalled the incident to 4WWN, he couldn't help but laugh, “Now my daughter is able to claim that she was there too. ... You never know how paths cross and what’s going to come out of events. I always tell my kids if something comes along, just go for it.”
Deas acknowledged that he never imagined the image would be on a movie screen. Actually, Anderson didn't either.
She tells, "I was amazed when I first saw the logo appear in a movie theater. Seeing the image come to life on the big screen seemed surreal. After a while, the image took on a life of its own, which completely surprised me. Decades after its creation, people are still fascinated with the image."
Anderson and Joseph, who remain close friends today, enjoy thinking back on what they contributed to the development of cinema.
“We were both surprised at the notoriety of the logo,”she explains. “To this day, Jenny occasionally sends me funnyGIFs that people have made from the logo.”
In spite of the fact that the picture has endured the test of time, Anderson, a married mother of two grown children, has found an even greater gift in it.
“When my children learned that I made the reference photo, they thought I was cool,”she says, “which is priceless.”
The Columbia Pictures logo is steeped in symbolism, representing the spirit of the studio and the world of cinema. The torch that Joseph holds symbolizes enlightenment and artistic inspiration. It pays homage to the ancient Greek and Roman goddesses, such as Columbia and Libertas, who were depicted holding torches as symbols of freedom and creative energy.
Following the release of the updated Columbia Pictures logo featuring Jenny Joseph, the image quickly became iconic. It adorned countless movie posters, home videos, and the beginning of each film produced by the studio. Audiences around the world were captivated by the powerful yet elegant presence of Joseph, associating her image with the quality and grandeur of Columbia Pictures productions.
Despite the recognition and fame brought by her role as the Columbia Pictures logo model, Jenny Joseph chose not to pursue a career in modeling or acting. Instead, she focused on her personal life and career outside the entertainment industry. She remained a private individual, cherishing her unique connection to film history while maintaining her anonymity.
The Columbia Pictures logo model has become an enduring symbol of Hollywood's rich cinematic heritage. The image, featuring Jenny Joseph, represents the creativity, inspiration, and timeless nature of film itself. It serves as a reminder of the impact that a single photograph can have on popular culture and the lasting impression it can leave on the minds of audiences worldwide.

Who is the Columbia Pictures Lady?

The Photographer's Perspective

Decades after the photoshoot, photographer Michael Deas recently shared his perspective on the memorable session. He expressed his admiration for Joseph's ability to embody the spirit of the logo and how her presence brought a sense of authenticity to the image.
Deas also highlighted the significance of the collaboration, acknowledging that the success of the photoshoot was a result of their shared vision and dedication to capturing the essence of the Columbia Pictures brand.

People Also Ask

Who Was The Model For The Columbia Pictures Logo In 1992?

The model for the Columbia Pictures logo in 1992 was Jenny Joseph.

What Is The Significance Of The Columbia Pictures Logo Model?

The Columbia Pictures logo model represents the spirit of the studio and the world of cinema, symbolizing enlightenment, artistic inspiration, and the grandeur of Columbia Pictures productions.

Did Jenny Joseph Pursue A Career In Modeling Or Acting After The Photoshoot?

No, Jenny Joseph chose not to pursue a career in modeling or acting and instead focused on her personal life and career outside the entertainment industry.

Who Was The Photographer Behind The Columbia Pictures Logo Photoshoot In 1992?

The photographer behind the Columbia Pictures logo photoshoot in 1992 was Michael Deas.

What Is The Cultural Significance Of The Columbia Pictures Logo Model?

The Columbia Pictures logo model, featuring Jenny Joseph, has become an enduring symbol of Hollywood's cinematic heritage, representing the timeless nature of the film and leaving a lasting impression on audiences worldwide.


A photographer shares the story behind the iconic Columbia Pictures logo photoshoot. Jenny Joseph's role as the Columbia Pictures logo model in 1992 transformed her into an icon, capturing the essence of one of the most prominent film studios in history.
Her collaboration with photographer Michael Deas resulted in an image that has stood the test of time and become an integral part of the cinematic landscape. Joseph's decision to step away from the spotlight only adds to the enigmatic allure surrounding her portrayal. The story behind the creation of this iconic image serves as a testament to the power of collaboration, symbolism, and the lasting impact of visual storytelling.
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