12 December 2008


Bettie Page
Pin-up model

You may not recognize her name, but you surely recognize her. The only woman's image whom you could argue has been more reproduced and imitated than Bettie Page's is Marilyn Monroe's.


Like with Marilyn, Bettie worked a strange magic with the American virgin-whore dichotomy, knowingly sexy and innocently pretty at the same time. But Bettie could walk even deeper into the paradox; she did countless pictures that were a lot racier (and fetishier) than Marilyn ever did. Don't let that deter you from looking for them, though, as even the wickedest of her pictures are only wicked by ’50s standards—and more importantly in every one of them she radiates joy. I remember reading somewhere that the photographer best known for working with her, Bunny Yeager, said that she didn't have any unreleased photos, because Bettie had been so uncannily photogenic that she had never managed to take a picture that wasn't good enough to publish.

Life was not nearly so kind to her as the camera had been. How could it have been?

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