Pinup History XVIIII: Photo Pinups

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Wink Magazine 
Photo pinup magazines - like Wink - gave men sweet dreams at night.

Sure, a sultry siren drawing can get a guy's engine purring, but there's something about looking at a real photograph that gets the blood pumping and hearts racing. In the 1940s and 1950s photographic pinups were swiftly gaining in popularity. During World War II, lonely, homesick soldiers would "pin up" photos of sensual movies stars and girls next door to remind them of what was waiting for them when they got home. Betty Grable and her million dollar legs and Rita Hayworth rolling in a haystack were popular images among the GIs.

Norma Jean Baker                        
A young Norma Jean Baker posing before she became Marilyn Monroe.

Fresh-faced models with an air of innocence about them were a photographer's dream. Young starlets like Norma Jean Baker and Kim Novak posed for cheesecake shots, proving to men around the world that their dream girl next door was living and breathing and not an artist's fantasy woman.

Bettie PageBettie Page's willingness to push boundaries made her one of the most memorable pinups of the 1950s.

Not only were the camera lenses able to capture models expressive faces but provocative angles and lighting highlighted the curvaceous hourglass figures popular at the time. Bettie Page quickly rose to become known as the "Queen of Pinups" for her fun and flirty cheesecake shots, nudes, and now notorious black and white underground bondage shots. With whips and chains in hand, she became a sexual pioneer without even trying.

Betty BrosmerModel Betty Brosmer appeared on more than 300 magazine covers. What a body!!

Another bombshell Bettie from the 1950s was Betty Brosmer. The camera loved her 38-18-36 frame and she appeared in all of the popular magazines of the decade. With her blonde locks and stunning curves, she was a favorite among photographers and the American public.

The first cover of Playboy                        
The first issue of Playboy featured nude photos of Marilyn Monroe.

Everything changed forever in 1953 when a young and ambitious editor named Hugh Hefner published Playboy. The first issue featured nude shots of Marilyn Monroe that were taken back when she was Norma Jean Baker. Playboy was a hit and started a sexual revolution. It continues to churn out fantasies today.

First cover of Penthouse                                  
The first cover of Penthouse magazine

In 1969, the men's magazine, Penthouse, was introduced to American's audiences. It also depicted girls next door in provocative photos but was considered taboo at the time for showing a woman's entire body.

Dita Von Teese        
Dita Von Teese brings classic pinup glamour to modern audiences.

Classic pinup photography took a back seat in the 1980s and early 1990s. However, with the neo-burlesque movement of the late ‘90s and ‘00s came a renewed interest in classic pinups and photography. Now everyday women around the world are getting dolled up to recapture the glitz and glamour of these pinup legends.