pinup as we know it today is radically different to its humble origins which can be traced back to the beginning of the 20th century, a time when sexuality was both scrutinized and suppressed. For instance a woman showing a bare ankle was considered risqué and the word "sex" itself was not even used publicly.
As ever people find a way round even the most stringent of rules and the desire for images of an erotic nature was overcome by the birth of portraying scantily clad ladies as an art form.
As art such images were deemed acceptable by the society of the time and many of these early drawings and illustrations that are considered the roots of the pinup genre used imagery of the burlesque striptease routines as their starting point.
Additionally magazines such as 'The Police Gazette' illustrated stories of murder and mayhem by showing the leading ladies in various states of undress, which was considered to be completely legitimate by the general populous as they were considered newsworthy.
during the 1920's society began to rebel against the repression of the previous decades with the energetic dancing, partying and fashions such as flap skirts that showed more leg than ever before.
It was at this time that underground 'pulp' detective magazines appeared using drawings and paintings of bondage and nudity to illustrate their stories of murder and kidnap.
Meanwhile a new genre of nudist publications also surfaced linking sex and humor again using drawings to illustrate their stories and jokes. It was from such publications that what we think of as pinup art began to evolve during the early 1930's.
Artists such as George Petty and Alberto Vargas created calendar girls that very soon adorned the walls of garages and workshops everywhere.
Additionally Esquire magazine was initially published in this decade and very soon it was regularly carrying pinup art and illustrations from many different artists.
However it was the 1940's and World War II that really saw pinup art explode into the phenomenon we know today.
There wasn't a G.I. who didn't have a painting of his favorite movie star such as Rita Hayworth or Bettie Grable on his locker door or stuffed somewhere in his kitbag so that he could be reminded of home during the long hours spent away from his family and loved ones.
Add to that the girls so painstakingly painted on to the side of military aircraft in order to bring them luck on their numerous missions and it was easy to see that pinup art had found a footing in mainstream society.
Post WWII artists such as Elvgren emerged as failing magazines and publishers tried to woo the public with risqué imagery. By this time the original artwork from the more popular artists was becoming much sought after by certain collectors and it was finally accepted that pinup had a place in the art world which was somewhat ironic considering it's origins.
During the late 1950's and early 1960's pinup began to surface in the form of photography as well as the now traditional art. Magazines such as the famous Playboy were published blending pinup style photography with well written lifestyle articles and the response was huge.
The magazines ripped through any remaining repression gaining acceptability in most parts of society in a matter of a few years.
At this time different models and artists began to mutate pinup across and into different genres such as fetish and even bondage, the most famous of these being the partnership between Bettie Page and Irving Claws.
Although some of this imagery could be considered much darker in style than that of the early pinup artists it was still invariably done with a sense of fun, tease and innocence that typifies the pinup genre.
During the 1960's Playboy and other magazines gained a huge circulation all the while moving pinup style imagery into the psyche of mainstream America.
nfortunately by the 1970's photography had just about taken over from art and most of the original pinup artists had retired from the genre they had so lovingly created.
With the advent of video the demand for adult material began to move towards far more lewd and graphic imagery depicting all manner of sex acts and it seemed that the playful innocence of pinup was lost forever.
However during the 1980's new artists such as Dave Stevens kept the genre going and with the arrival of the Internet in the late 1990's it soon became apparent that interest in classic pinup art and photography was still very much alive.
In the last few years there has been a real rekindling of mainstream interest in the genre with new art appearing from modern artists such as Olivia and many of the original Playboy pinup models using the Internet to sell their classic prints and images.
From this a new breed of Internet pinup models has emerged and although many of them cross over into other genres they owe at least part of their style to the classic pinup era.
Amongst them are several models who have attempted to solely recreate the classic pinup look with varying degrees of success.
All in all it seems strange that it should be something as modern as the Internet that will help ensure that classic pinup will be with us long into the 21st century.
Fortunately it seems that at least some people out there still enjoy the beauty and tease of the pinup genre over the much stronger and more explicit material that is now so freely available.
This is somewhat ironic when you consider that the latter in part way only exists due to pinup art and photography helping to make images with an erotic leaning more and more acceptable to American culture throughout the 20th century.
i had been thinking about pin up for quite some time. i am drawn to the innocents yet femininity of it. the glamor and flawlessness.
this was a project i had been toying with for quit a while. part of the concept behind it is that i would collaborate with a slew of different people and do multitude shoots. i soon realized how many amazingly talented people i was fortunate to know that were kind, giving, and excited for the project.
the first shoot was a present for michael's birthday.
photography: c.b lindsey
make up: marc shaffar
hair: Marina Fichera
i hope to have the second part of this shoot up soon. as well as planing another collaboration with more talented friends in the near future.