Worth a look especially considering that you can buy back issues of Fiesta and Knave, where all these photos originally appeared, at ludicrous prices on the net. The three hundred (mostly in colour) photos would be the equivalent of several issues of these two magazines.
Though the title says the 1950s I think the contents really run from the mid-fifties and well into the sixties, Knave magazine wasn't published until 1966. The photos come from the studios of Russell Gay and Harrison Marks and these two seem to have cornered the market back then for this magazine glamour work.
Both photographers had their regular models, especially Marks with Pamela Green. Other names that appear throughout the book are Margaret Nolan and Lorraine Burnett but annoyingly no Paula Page! While not expecting to see anything too strong I thought the photos strangely absent of any kind of tease. The poses are all very predictable and unimaginative, no doubt Gay and Marks churned out what the magazine editors wanted and they in turn thought this is what the readers wanted.
Perhaps the problem was that this was studio photography. Where would these places be without their brick-wall wallpaper, plaster columns, bullfight posters (always torn and stuck up at an angle) bits of bamboo and checker-board backdrops. The models are just placed on these props and told to look coy. In particular they never do anything with their hands.
This style of fake arty studio photography seems encourage a bland slightly sexless appeal unlike the down-market pin-up mags like Spick & Span and Beautiful Britains which really did feature the girl next door with amateur shots of them posing, mostly in their underwear, in the living rooms, kitchens and bedrooms across the country. The fact that there was no nudity in these titles didn't seem to matter. On pages 214 and 215 there are four shots unlike others in the book. They are taken in the countryside with a model and a car that won't start. This situation requires a quick disrobing down to her underwear and heels so she can pose by the car to attract a passing motorist. The whole thing is contrived but seems a lot more teasing than pages and pages of the other photos throughout the book.
The title is a neat square format, nicely designed and printed and excellent value at the Amazon price. The publishers have issued three other decade long glamour titles for the 60s, 70s and 80s.
***LOOK AT SOME INSIDE PAGES by clicking 'customer images' under the cover.
on 13 November 2010
A beautiful book in the series, nothing to offend the modern eye, outstanding black and white shots with a similar amount of colour photographs as well, i will admit to some mouthwatering moments as i looked through, this wont be a book that will sit gathering dust on a shelf.
The only issue that i have and feel would of made the book complete would of been some detail if it had been availible, year of picture, models name, measurements etc, but that is a personal issue and does not distratc from the book or what it represents in relation to our ever changing tastes, the more things change the more they stay the same.