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Friday, 25 November 2016

Vintage Pin-ups: a thing of the past? New guest blog by Penny Dreadful!

I'm excited to introduce a guest blog this week from modern-day pin-up girl Penny Dreadful, who kindly agreed to share her perspective on retro glamour modelling with us. If you are a photographer in the North of England who could use a curvaceous 5'10 model who self-styles, you can browse her full portfolio and make bookings >here<.

For the rest of us, I'm happy to share Penny's feelings on what the true essence of pin-up really is. Let us know your responses in the Facebook comments, and let me know whether you would be interested in seeing more guest blogs from carefully selected relevant industry figures in the future!

Penny: When one mentions Pin-up photography or Pin-up modelling, people automatically think of 1930s-1950s styled shoots. This era has become synonymous with the idea of Pin-up because of Bettie Page, whose photos had a resurgence of popularity from the 1980s, and artists such as George Petty, but the first Pin-Up calendars actually go as far back as 1889. Really, “Pin-up” is a concept that emerged alongside suffrage.

Penny wearing Shhh! Couture.
Hair & makeup by Louise Shepherd.
© Gary Clutterbuck
From the advertising of Brown & Bigelow, the Gibson Girls, Vargas and Elvgren, all the way through to artists like Olivia de Berardinis and Dita Von Teese, the fascination with the Pin-up has always been strong. Feisty and fearless, she has always been a joy to behold, a symbol of both women’s independence, and their right to be sexy for themselves.

So, what approach to take when attempting to photograph Pin-up images yourself? First off, if you are attempting to recreate a Pin-up style from a specific era, research, research, research! For photographers – there can be different lighting techniques that were popular in each era, for example “Hollywood lighting”, and for models – there are lots of different poses to look for and attempt, some of which may require a little practice! Not to mention wardrobe – there has been a resurgence of vintage clothing, which can be helpful for stylists, and also no shortage of online tutorials for hairstyling and makeup from those specific eras.

Photography still holds with the ideal of independent, strong women, looking and feeling fierce, happy with themselves and their bodies. Who wouldn’t want to photograph a modern day Pin-up? Pick up any magazine on the stands today, and you will find pages brimming with examples- the only things that have changed are the fashions on display. It is not the mood that has shifted, only the trimmings.

The Pin-up is here to stay.

© Keith Snell
Penny Dreadful has been a model and artist for 13 years. If you would like to see more of her work, head over to

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