Saturday, June 11, 2011

American Cheesecake: Photos 1940s~1960s

One of the most popular, and unfortunately overexposed, collectibles in the girlie, pin-up, glamour photo genre are black & white, glossy 4" x 5" photographs from the 1940s, '50s and '60s. Sold via ads in the backs of magazines, under-the-counter in candy stores and in many cases, available for a quick peek in our father's "sock" drawers, these images were part of the smut hidden away by the average guy, rarely seeing the light of day.

In the 1970s, when I became interested in these wonderful photographs, it was via very public local flea markets in lower Manhattan and at regional paper shows. Although I did have my sock drawer experience as a boy, I remained unaware of the amazing scope and abundance of this photo genre. Years of discovery and purchasing, eventually lead to my own drawer filled with hundreds of photographs, discretely hiding a few pairs of socks. Everything had come full circle and turned upside down!

Now, many years later and after eBay buyers pushed the prices of this material higher and higher, the collector's market for glossy 4" x 5" has all but collapsed. The economy and the efforts of unscrupulous dealers, selling fakes in the place of the "vintage" photographs they promised, has evaporated most buyer's interest. It has been a road well traveled: from magazine ads, to adult bookshops, to the sock drawer, to the flea markets and to the world wide web. And no matter how the value or interest is gauged, a small fraction of these images still work their bit of magic today.

Todays' post flashes forward through my ten year accumulation of these digital images, making a selection of some my favorite photos and models. A random selection follows; model's are identified when known. 

A second post will be needed to do justice and will follow soon.

Shirley Kilpatrick

Donna "Busty" Brown

Jackie Miller

Terry Higgins

Brenda DeNaut on the left

Terri Barton

Bettie Page


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