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Art History - Pinup and Glamour

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 8:13 AM

Welcome to the Art History Project, brought to you by your Community Relations Team on dA.
We hope to bring you interesting articles about the origins of the Art you love today.
:iconarthistoryproject: :iconcommunityrelations:

The History of Pinup & Glamour Photography

Glamour Photography, in its purest form is romantic, sensual and often erotic in style and impact, which has been used by models, performers and movie stars for many years.
Part of the incredible allure of such shots make the genre so flexible and useful for advertising that it has become a staple part of the products of bygone times and the icons of fondly remembered memorabilia.
Glamour Photography is ever being redefined by the times and each decade has had something different to offer to shape the style.

 Old Hollywood by MissBreton Jessamyn by viamarie Old Hollywood by fatallook :thumb143679242:

Willow vintage 1001 by thejuicelab

1920s and 30s - The Golden Age of Illustration

By the 1920s, the golden age of illustration was in full flower. The new film industry fueled the public's appetite for magazines devoted to their celluloid heroes, with the likes of Mary Pickford, Gloria Swanson and Betty Grable.
The 30’s saw Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, Ginger Rogers, Joan Crawford and of course Mae West, become international icons.

Old Jazz by girltripped  1930s Starlette by OfficialSerenaStar 1920's Flapper Shoot 2 by jndphotography 1920's by jukeboxjive The Glamourous Life by Halohid

1940s - Pinup's Heyday

Though the origins of Pinup can be documented back at least to the end of 19th century, where the images could be cut out of magazines or newspapers, or be from postcard or chromo-lithographs, and so on, it would be 1940’s America that would be known as the heyday for Pinup girls.
They were depictions of very beautiful women with a sensual and ingenuous air.  Even the government of the United States gave pin-up photos and illustrations as a present to their soldiers during the World War II. Pictures of Betty Grable, one of the most popular glamour photography models, were carried to war by hundreds of soldiers.  Specifically, Glamour photography from the war era featured models either fully clothed or wearing swimsuits.
 The  pin-up look is very precise. Pin-up girls are very feminine. Their lips  use to be paint in red, their eyelashes are very defined, using false  eyelashes in the photographs. The eyebrows are very pronounced, skin  colour uses to be very fair, and hair uses to be wavy or softly curled.
The  pin-up poses are very suggestive, in casual attitudes, always  surrounded with glamour, using fetishisms like women dressed as sailor,  waitress, nurse..

Flying... by HellAngelBaby Old Hollywood Glam by jaytablante Purrilicious by Silverrr-official Life's a beach by SpookySally Hollywood Land by ScottMetts

1950s - Bettie Page & Marilyn Monroe

No overview of Pinup & Glamour would be complete without mentioning Bettie Page.
She brought Fetish modelling out of the seedy, dark reputation that it had gathered and made it all together  more mainstream and recognisable. In 1955 she was the center-fold in Playboy's January issue and won the title "Miss Pin-up Girl of the World”, yet her trademark jet black hair, blunt fringe, porcelain skin and sky-blue eyes are still mimicked and emulated by women today. She has become a living legend, a modern icon, a symbol of beauty and femininity that transcends ordinary standards.
Similar accolade must be given to Marilyn Monroe.
What was it in this particular woman that makes heads turn around till this day? What was it in her looks or character that still inspires the creation of Marilyn Monroe art 50 years after her death? She was a reasonable actress and wasn’t an amazing singer, but till this day, 80 years after she was born as “Norma Jean”, every child still knows her name.
When she died she left behind her nothing but the wondrous shadow of her image that even in the most sexual photographs, including some completely nude, there was still a quality of innocence. Good Marilyn Monroe art will always express this quality.
She has become the ultimate blonde bombshell and perhaps the thing that makes her so amazing is that no one can quite put their finger on why.
 The Modern Marilyn by viamarie Ancilla Monroe by AncillaTilia Marilyn Monroe Transparency by RogerLima Hollywood Glamour by viamarie hollywood by SommerPhotography


1960s and 70s - Playboy era

During the 60's and 70's we see glamour became more risqué. Through the likes of Playboy (although actually founded in 1953) we started seeing and hearing the term 'Glamour Model' and again more skin was shown, at times all of it.
The demand had moved on from the unobtainable Hollywood starlet to ‘the girl next door’, with popular shoots depicting wanton nudity in more public places- such as garages, fields and even the office!

  Playboy 1938 by walker1812 Cowgirl by Saju90 Marlena - Mechanic - 2 by bcheung hello, city boy by julyshewolf Sexy Mechanic by ParkLeggyKorean

1980s and 90s - "Sex Sells"

Now we see Glamour and Pinup playing more of a part in advertising towards the end of the 20th Century, with its influences in fashion, design and products.
Notable Pinups from these decades include Samantha Fox, Joan Jett, Pamela Anderson and Jenny McCarthy.
 Bad Marilyn I by Riko-Misery :thumb272633614:

Mature Content

Drink Wine by ammanda
Wonder-Cream by chris-laitz Let Them Eat Cake by Laura-Ferreira

2000s onwards - 'Modern' Pinups

So what is now Modern Pinup & Glamour?
And where does it keep it’s similarities and where does it differ from its roots?
And does nude = Glamour?
Absolutely not
- in fact quite the contrary, the more modern types of artwork tend to predominantly echo their more traditional origins, opting for the subtle tease, carefully placed hands or props and the hint of something further.
Pinup specifically keeps the styling, the soft waves in the hair, bodies and faces are usually in profile, rather than front on. Modern pinup models, with their tasteful yet alluring outfits and an aesthetic that embodies style and sophistication, stand out among the seedier aspects of today’s erotica.
Master by miss-mosh Pin up girls 5 by mariannaphotography Deville by Tiffany-Ann Act like a Woman should by CarolineMadison Baby PinUp V by PhantomOrchid
As you’ll see from the photos, they share the same aesthetic appeal, which is the ability to appear both sexually alluring and slightly innocent and coquettish.
Similarly Glamour is a very groomed look. Nothing is left to chance and finished to a high level of styling, sophistication and beauty.

Steampunk by Helleana Sexy Radio by Mima-R :thumb120751347: Angela - DD by grodpro Danse noire by Ophelia-Overdose

Questions for the Reader..

  • What does Pinup & Glamour mean to you?
  • Do you have a preference of the time period, or do you enjoy all that the varying decades have to offer?
  • Who is your favorite Pinup?

Hope you enjoyed!

DistortedSmile :peace:


References & Further Reading

Glamour History | Pinup Girls | Wikipedia | The Origins of Pinup | Pinup Art

Baby it's cold outside, so warm yourself up with some History of Art, from the #ArtHistoryProject and your Community Relations Team - specifically the History of Pinup & Glamour Photography!
Add a Comment:
jukeboxjive Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
thanks for featuring my portrait! great article, all the photos you've chosen fit each era really well :)
AwesomelyAimless Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2013   Traditional Artist
I would have to say that the 20s to the 50s are my faves. I love the classics. It just seems more feminine to me.
DistortedSmile Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Very classic, I love the styling :nod:
mariannaphotography Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2013
Great feature thank you so much for featuring me! :)
FANTASIX Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
I like "1950s - Bettie Page & Marilyn Monroe " !!!!

These icons of feminine beauty are still very current and imitate :)
tvlookplay Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
:thumbsup: classic
slephoto Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Good stuff!
SAVALISTE Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2013   Photographer
awesome :nod:
pica-ae Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2013  Professional Interface Designer
I always loved pin up photography :la:

It is a perfect combination of elegance and erotic :nod: Also perfection and beauty, as it always feels very "controlled" and static. But there is always a lot of composition and posing going on, that really amazes me.

Personally I like anything up into the 1960s, probably because it takes you further away in time when things were different. Also being able to be sexy without showing all your skin is some sort of talent (not saying that nudity is not tasteful, just a different thing).

I don't have a favourite model, if there is one, probably I am lame enough to love Marylin Monroe :la:

Oh and I just thought someone from the 1990s who is missing is definetely … and now I can't recall her name… she was on the H&M dessous posters, which are said to have caused traffic accidents and were stolen a lot of times :lol: Can't believe I actually don't remember :stare: She is not my fave tho, just thought of her :P (She has died already… goddammit what's the name…)
DistortedSmile Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
I adore the stylisation, the attention to detail and the fine tailoring. It's so beautiful and perfect! :love:

I'm trying to think who you mean about the ad campaign, the only one that springs to mind is the Wonderbra "Hello Boys!" one :paranoid:
pica-ae Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2013  Professional Interface Designer
Yes, not everyone can "just do" a Pin Up shot and make it look good! There goes so much into it, it's a real art form, if done right :nod:

Now I remember, I was thinking of Anna Nicole Smith… she kinda screams 90s Pin Up to me, for good and bad reasons unfortunately
moloko Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
EXCELLENT article.

What does Pinup & Glamour mean to you? I think pinup is excelling posing that is sexy yet classy. Very suggestive in nature. I always think of the WW2 pin ups. Glam is so much and can be defined different ways by different people. It is very strict in posing, makeup, lighting, everything planned. It is the perfect look.

Do you have a preference of the time period, or do you enjoy all that the varying decades have to offer?
I love the modern take of glam. It is just so sharp. The colors, the poses, it is really sexy, and stands out.
DistortedSmile Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
I like the attention to the classy aspect - for me that's always been something important when I'm looking through the galleries and finding stuff to share with the wider community :nod: Anyone can find some greased up chick on the internet, what's harder to find is sophisticated sexuality, and it takes a real skill to do it right.
TehAngelsCry Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2013  Professional Interface Designer
It really is cold outside! (And inside at the moment...)

Do you have a preference of the time period, or do you enjoy all that the varying decades have to offer?
I didn't know much about Pinup and Glamour before, but I honestly find the old stuff more appealing. It's nice seeing a woman dressed-up and STILL sexy.
DistortedSmile Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
I know what you mean about the clothing, however don't think for one second that the earlier ones were all clothed! :aww: Alfred Cheney Johnston’s Ziegfeld Girls were pretty racy and some of the Vargas center-folds verged on the explicit.
moloko Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
What I do like about todays glam though is the diversity. All over the world we get a chance to see peoples vision of glam.

Some of vargas poses are still considered adult. Cheney lots of nudity but I do not find it explicit. In the day is was almost vulgar but it has aged well and in my opinion should be studied for people doing boudoir photography

deviantART muro drawing Comment Drawing
TehAngelsCry Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2013  Professional Interface Designer
Ah I appreciate that not all were back then =p but I assume that more were than are now?
(I've never studied the history of art ^^;)
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