Vintage Pinup Photos

A look at vintage pinup photos proves they are more than just portraits of women in sexy and playful poses. Pinups can be considered a part of modern art because it depicts the fashion and lifestyle of women during the 1940s and 1950s. Pinups are created by artists specializing in this genre, and some of them became legendary names because of their fabulous illustrations. The origins of vintage pinup photos can be traced back to the end of the Victorian era. The first examples of what can be considered as early pinup art include posters of French artist Jules Cheret and the poster of actress Sarah Bernhardt, which was create by Czech artist Alphonse Mucha.


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Perhaps, the best known artist for pinups is Alberto Vargas. A native of Arequipa, Peru, Vargas learned photography from his father, portrait photographer Max Vargas. After moving to New York in 1916 and working as a painter commissioned to create lobby paintings and celebrity portraits, Alberto Vargas became an artist for Esquire magazine. This was when the Varga Girls, Vargas’ collection of calendar and centerfold artwork, gained vast recognition. Other influential pinup artists during that time include George Petty, Zoe Mozert and Earl Moran.

There are various sources for vintage pinup photos. The images can be found on newspapers, magazines, postcards and of course, posters and calendars. Majority of the vintage pinup photos were images of Hollywood sex symbols. Some of the well-known pinup girls during that time were Betty Grable, Veronica Lake and Ingrid Bergman. Grable’s pictures showed off her gorgeous gams ans earned her the reputation as having one of the best legs in show business. Of course, the best pinup girl of them all is Marilyn Monroe, often considered as the most celebrated pinup icon during the 1950s. Thousands of photographs have been produced bearing Marilyn’s image, which helped catapult her as the greatest sex symbol of all time. Her famous calendar photos were taken before she became a big star.

Another favorite model in vintage pinup photos was Betty Page. Her lush, full body, raven hair with the trademark bangs made her a pop culture icon and gained her a cult following among pinup fans. Page also became one of Playboy magazine’s Playmates of the Month. These vintage pinup photos helped boost the morale of soldiers during World War II. These cheesecake photos can be found hanging on the lockers of every soldier. The pictures served as an inspiration to these soldiers and make them remember what it was they were fighting for. They are also used to promote military duty among civilians. Marilyn Monroe’s first ever publicity photograph was taken while she was working at a factory which manufactures military airplane parts.

The art of the pinup is the inspiration for Playboy, which is probably the most famous men’s magazine in the planet. Playboy aimed to capture the glamor and natural sensuality of women. The magazine is still known for more tasteful displays on nudity, which sets it aside from it's competition. Vintage pinup photos have launched the careers of starlets, as well as brought comfort on the battlefield.

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