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Vintage pin up photography – the history of naked beauty



Notice that this article contains erotic images.

“Nu” or “Nude”? It is hardly possible to find people that have not heard these simple words. Still, not everyone knows what they definitely mean and how or why has vintage boudoir photography appeared. Nowadays lots of appealing photo restoration samples are observed everywhere starting from internet to famous magazines.  In order to get down to the right atmosphere of retro boudoir photos, watch this video and get amazed with pin up picture from the past made at home.

Nu is an artistic genre in sculpture, painting, photography, and so on. The same word "nude" or “nu” can be observed in the French language that means "stripping” or “striptease”. Actually, these words have won so immense popularity, maybe due to the vogue of vintage pin up photography, that even without translation they can be understood almost everywhere and in all countries. The genre Nu now is undisputedly international one, but was it so all the time? 

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The genre of photography has always disturbed people`s minds creating new and new methods of using or admiring it. Sure thing, nu pictures were fated to become popular. From the very moment of photography appearance, the photo industry could not remain completely aside from the tempting image of the naked human body. It appealed eye with some secret that is hidden somewhere inside

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Therefore, already in 1840 in Paris, when the genre of photography only made its first unsure steps making people get admired with it, the first primate samples with a non-professional depiction of naked nature appeared. 

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They were called "academy" or "academic sketches" and used as manuals for artists that were eager to repeat the beauty of human`s body on canvas. 

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The first little exhibitions of images of naked people were held in Paris in the early 40's of the nineteenth century. The speed with which they started to win crazy popularity can shock everybody. From small and not-visited exhibitions, they turned out to be crowded ceremonies and soon it was really hard to get tickets to such photo events.    

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After some time painters and just artists began to make extensive and quite profitable usage of photographs of naked painters and stateless. Such images helped them a lot while tediously creating new paintings, especially when the main target was to underline person`s body beauty. We can say that for some time, painting and photography in the genre of nude went hand in hand. Sometimes they even were used interchangeably as they pursued the same goals, which were to shows off all beautiful curves and lines of naked body. Still, soon retro boudoir photos started to dislodge paintings. The reason for such changes is simple. Only photos were able to reveal the real beauty and uniqueness of person`s beauty. That was the simple and short history of the establishment of vintage boudoir photography.

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Specialties of retro pinup photography

Again to plunge into the atmosphere of old nude pictures and to feel their exceptional beauty we present you a very atmospheric video along with calming and relaxing music that only underlines the loveliness of displayed pictures.

Sure thing, many years ago, to be more precise more than century ago, no professional studios with required equipment for making appealing retro boudoir photos existed. Thus, captured naked images looked a bit different than we are used them to see. 

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The first known pictures in the genre of appealing nude were created in studios that were not appropriate for taking pictures or even outside. Thus, the problem of wrong lightning or, on the contrary too illuminated pictures, was common for the first years of existence of vintage boudoir photography.  The background for such images was ordinary and very often chosen accidentally.  Usually those were popular classic decorations and buildings. Among them we may name ancient sculptures or their parts, capitals, curtains, painted or decorated walls so on. Such backgrounds made the first named image a little bit similar with image from the epoch of Rome or Greece civilization. 

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Much attention was also paid to accessories that were visible on photos. Versatile mirrors, fans, pearls, scarves and stockings were present in almost all photos creating a feeling that all vintage boudoir photography ideas were thoroughly thought about. Actually that was true. Due to the photo making equipment that was extremely expensive, photo makers of that time could not afford to waste films for making bad and not appealing pictures. 

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Still, very soon simple pictures of naked bodies became not quite original and interesting for the public. That is why photo masters of that time started searching for some new trends and photo ideas that could trigger people`s interest to this branch of photo art that began to lose in popularity. After some years of non-resulted searching, their efforts were crowned with immense success. 

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Everything was changed with the devising of photomontage. Invented in the far 1851 year, it expanded the narrow possibilities of artistic nudes and definitely enriched this genius genre. The technology was to print one final image out from several negatives and to get an unusual picture with not ordinary effect. Thus, photos of girls with blue-green tails, sirens, or a girl who had just hatched from a huge egg were successfully created. And that amazed public giving nude photos a new wave of crazy popularity. Despite the obvious fact that now these photos seem to be quite naïve and even strange, they are interesting due to their non-standard approach to the genre of nude and to the vision of naked human body. All these opened new horizons for nude art and attracted new and new photographers that found their vocation in this sphere.

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The most important periods of old boudoir

Surely, every decade or period of popularity of naked images brought particular features to this photo art. Having started its history in the middle of the 19th century it has not lost in its vogue, but everything must be considered in the chronological order.

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 Starting from the end of the mentioned century nu photo session often took place outside. Besides, that is the first period when boudoir photography became widespread. For instance, erotic postcards appeared. Still, the whole style remained to be quite laconic and restrained and could not be named as vulgar.

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The next wave of popularity was at the beginning of 20th century. Nude style simply captured the whole Europe and America. Bright actors of cabaret, dancers and girls of uncertain behavior were the main heroines for such photo shootings. The nude genre has become popular so that many decent, married ladies with pleasure made such photographs for personal using. Still, the biggest part of made vintage pin up photography was done for public. 

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Further, every period of popularity of nude style was connected with the most significant events. For instance, with the revival of the Olympic Games brought vogue to wide-spread fashion on tensed, athletic girls and boys. This change made a lot of people consider their figures and go into sport. Thus, this tendency may be considered as positive one. Still, there was one more peculiarity concerning vintage boudoir photography ideas of that period. Despite the dissemination of sport tendencies, the poses of models in the photos are rather static and well-balanced. 

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The period of 40-ies is characterized with the prevalence of nude images in motion. Such pictures illustrated not only the beauty of human`s body, but the endless abilities of it. While viewing such naked pictures there is a feeling that captured models are challenging the capabilities of their bodies and definitely win. 

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Moreover, photographers from Germany became the most far-famed. That period is known thanks to such names as Gerhard Ribike and Diter Blum, as these photo makers became real auteurs in motion nude photo style. Additionally, the late 40-ies are known due to nude military pictures. That was so because of the Second World War. Images of smiled and carefree girls helped soldiers to remain in positive mood even during the most dangerous and sad events. Still, not all of them were as positive as we imagine them to be. Gloomy nude images also were quite popular. Such pictures reflected the real tragic atmosphere of the decade they were taken in. 

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After the ruthless military forties, reflected even in photos of naked girls with a noticeable sadness and tense, the world wanted a bit of romance, carelessness and certain love. At this time, photography was clearly divided into particular genres as documentary, fixing the real world with camera the lens, an art-photo that works with abstractions and illusions, and an applied photo that performs a specific function. It is interesting the nude style could be found in every of the enumerated genre. That proves the certain popularity and versatility of it. 

Playboy – a magazine that changed everything

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Even nowadays when people hear about boudoir photography the first that comes to their minds is Playboy, because this magazine is definitely a well-known. Actually, that is a very slight definition of this magazine as its contribution hardly can be exuberated. 

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It was established in far 1953 as a small and non-popular magazine mainly for workers. But soon, maybe due to the creativity of its editors or perfect taste of its designers, it became extremely known. We may claim that it legalized the whole tremendous layer of erotic photography. Besides, one of the most recognized nude photo sessions was shooting with naked Merlin Monro that soon became cult and classic concerning vintage boudoir photography ideas. 

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As we have already mentioned, in the 50ies and 60ies, Playboy was considerably different from the magazine that we are used to seeing these days. Naked images were not the main aim there.  But the most important thing remained unchanging. Certainly that is a girl from the turn, or as she is called the playmate of the month. Italian photographers Mario Casilli and Pompeo Posar, who worked in the years of the difficult formation and prosperity of the magazine, photographed together and separately about 100 postcard posters with the most seductive and alluring girls. The main revolution was in the idea that beautiful girls from covers were not always famous. And the thought that a tempting girl could live somewhere near really made man buy the magazine. Thereafter, at the end of the 50's Playboy was already published in a circulation of 1 million copies. That was a magnificent success. More than $ 6 million of annual revenue from retail sales allowed Hugh Hyefter to continue the theme of "girl living in the neighborhood" in a new creative way. Even now this theme is quite popular. 

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Soon Playboy became so popular and wanted that the USA turned out to be too narrow to it. Thus, in August 1972, the German edition of Playboy came out, and an Italian version was launched three months later. A little later, the French, Brazilian, Japanese, Mexican and Spanish editions were introduced to the public. 

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One more merit of Playboy is that it gave rise to one of the popular trends or styles in nude photography. 

Pin up style - a style that created an epoch

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Surely it is wrong to think that Pin up style was established only due to Playboy. It was created long ago in far 20-ies during the big American depression. In such tense and tragic conditions retro pinup photography arose, which surprised audience with its rampant energy and irresistible sexuality. Maybe that was the secret of its extreme popularity.

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Traditionally it is widely believed that the progenitors of this genre were creative advertiser artists of the famous Coca-Cola and Lucky Strike brands. They simply took the images of fairly well-build girls for their advertisements. Such girls with sincere smiles and alluring figures were soon noticed by men of various professions, for example sailors, soldiers or drivers. Most of them spent most  time far from women. So, they frequently dug relevant pages from magazines, mainly posters with playmates of month, and pinched them to the walls of their barracks and cubes, maybe truck cabins. Each of them knew that this girl smiled only to him alone. And that was the main secret of the renown of vintage pin up photography. 

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If you are a modern photographer that has deep interest in boudoir photography, we highly advise you to try Pin up style. That is a huge field for revealing creativity and imagination. If you are not motivated to organize shooting in this style, because of expensive equipment or necessity to find suitable models, then this video is just for you. Here you will be taught how to turn ordinary nude picture into a pin-up masterpiece. 

Besides, on our website you will find a detailed description of photo restoration services and photo restoration prices in case the liked picture is too old or even damaged. You will see that a tedious process of repairing images can do magic. If you still are not satisfied, read about Amazing historical photos colorized and brought back to life and get sure that old pictures can be brought to life and become even more beautiful than they were at the moment of shooting. 

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Masters of nude art

We know that photo maker has a unique perception of surrounding world and this conception can be definitely applied to retro pinup photography. Still, in the world of tremendous possibilities it is hard to find the own right way of developing talents. So, it is quite useful to get inspired by examples done by the most creative, motivated and talented. Therefore, if you want to connect life with photo restoring, start your professional way with Gear you need to start retouch old photographs

But if you plan to shoot in nude style, then get inspired with these auteurs of the chosen sphere. In the 20th century, a century of rapid development of naked photography, among the most prominent representatives of the nude genre Helmut Newton, David Lashapel and Jan Saudek can be named. They can be named as three whales of classic nude photo industry. 

Helmut Newton

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It is definitely a cult figure in an erotic photograph of the 20th century. Newton collaborated with the best glossy magazines - Playboy, Vouge, Harper's Bazaar.  His works are presented in art galleries in the USA, Australia, Europe. Newton's style is defined as "aggressive eroticism". He captured long-legged girls with high-heels that emitted sexual energy and complete confidence.

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David Lashapel

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He was an American star of nude photography. He forced celebrities to lie in mud or do extraordinary things. Still, with this he managed to select a bright image-cliché for every start that for a long time remains in memory.

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Jan Saudek

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A photo master from Check republic. He did not adorn or idealize anything, unlike most photographers working in the genre of nude. His shocking shots were reflections on the futility of the human body. This approach to the image of the naked body is completely different from everything created in the genre of nude since the time of classical examples of ancient Greek sculpture. 

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We hope that these examples were helpful for you and your knowledge in this style. Remember, that nude style still has not revealed all secrets and hidden benefits. Thus, the world is still expecting for new talents. 

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