Bunny Yeager met Betty Page in Miami in 1954, during one of Page's annual pilgrimages to the sun, sand and surf she adored. Page was the top pin-up model in New York at the time and Yeager an aspiring photographer. They hit it off and Page agreeably posed even when Yeager could only pay her $5. They had a lot in common. Yeager started out as a model herself, taking camera courses at a vocational school, for fun and to augment her portfolio with self-portraits. Both were expert seamstresses, sewing their own bikinis. Bunny Yeager never intended to become a top professional glamour photographer and Betty Page never intended to become a legend. The "Prettiest Photographer in the World" title was bestowed on Yeager by US Camera magazine in August of '53 and paid off in increasing prestige and opportunities. Her famous seasonal shot of Page wearing a Santa hat and a wink, decorating a Christmas tree, was bought by Playboy for their January, 1955 centerfold for $100. This was a more innocent time. Pin-up was not pornography and girlie pix were not gynecological. Full frontal nudity wasn't published and photos revealing pubic hair were prohibited from the US Mail. Buck Henry, who wrote the introduction, had to resort to under-the-counter transactions with Times Square newsies to acquire amateur camera club shots of the girl-next-door American icon in all her glory. Acting was Betty's dream. But Hollywood and then Broadway rejected her due to her immutable Nashville accent and maybe due to her powerful build. She never looked like she needed a leading man to lean on. She was more Daisy Mae than Marilyn Monroe. Her regimen was ascetic: natural foods, no tobacco or alcohol, frequent workouts at the health club, long swims. She once beat several Navy men in a swimming race, much to their chagrin. On a long despairing walk on a Coney Island Beach in 1950 or so, she stopped to admire the exercise routine of a handsome NYC cop and amateur photographer who asked her to pose for him and subsequently suggested she grow bangs to hide her prominent forehead. By 1957, when she inexplicably disappeared from the spotlight, she had become the hottest babe in the world. The arc of her fame led from the camera clubs to the men's magazines to Irving Klaw, whose Movie Star News still offers glossy 8x10s of the thousands of shots he and his wife Paula took of Betty. Some Klaw photos are included here to document Betty's alter egos as vamping dominatrix, spanker, spankee and burlesque victim of baroque bondage. Note: Madonna did not invent the cone bra. Yeager brought out the best in Betty Page in her ideal milieu, the beaches of Florida; her skin a flawless suntanned sheen, her infectious joy lighting up that thousand watt smile even brighter and her natural intimacy with the camera making you swear you were there. Betty cavorts about an amusement park and the shoreline, playful, puckish, clowning with some seaweed, mugging on some kiddie rides, blazing with energy and abandon. It's no act. The book's climax is eight shots from the famous boat series, Betty au natural on deck offshore. In several, her eyes are closed and she's reveling in the pleasure of the waves, the salt air and the sunlight warming her beautiful form. Betty once said that she was "happy as a lark, stark naked." These photographs are not about sex but about exuberance, the sheer, physical delight of corporeal existence. Betty is Eve before the apple. She has no shame. She is in her favorite place, doing what she loves best, her magnetic vitality transporting us all. The secret of Betty's appeal isn't mysterious. She found perfect pleasure in simply being alive. And she gave it to us.