Photographs Do Not Bend Gallery
February 23 through May 11, 2013
On February 23, 2013 Photographs Do Not Bend Gallery (PDNB) Gallery will open an exhibition by legendary pin-up photographer, Bunny Yeager (b. 1929 Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania). This will be her first solo show at PDNB Gallery, and first solo show in a major photography gallery in the United States.
In 1953, US Camera Magazine named Bunny Yeager “The World’s Prettiest Photographer” and rightfully so. She was a 5’9″ bombshell and former model who loved exotic animals and tiny bikinis. At the age of 17, Yeager moved from Pennsylvania to Miami to live out her fantasy. “I loved glamorous actresses like Dorothy Lamour, or anyone in a sarong or hula skirt. I was in love with the tropics, and found it here in Miami.” said Yeager in an interview with Huffington Post Miami in 2012.
Yeager flourished into a successful pin-up model winning several beauty pageants in Miami, quickly becoming one of the most photographed models capturing the hearts of men worldwide.In the 1950’s, Bunny Yeager changed roles from model to photographer. The sexy and fun style she developed along with her own bikini and lingerie designs helped create her popularity as a significant “cheesecake” photographer. Her photographs were not stale studio shots. She preferred to go outside the studio to photograph in nature or on the beach, something her male counterparts were not doing at the time.
Bunny worked with notable models including the famous pin-up queen, Bettie Page, “The temptress of Tennessee”. Bettie Page’s story was recently made into a film in 2005, The Notorious Bettie Page, starring Gretchen Mol as Bettie.
Bettie Page became Bunny’s muse in 1954. She photographed Bettie along the beaches of Miami or in her studio. Page was “Miss January 1955”, one of the earliest Playmates of the Month for Playboy magazine featuring Yeager’s photograph of Bettie nude in a Santa’s hat decorating a small Christmas tree and winking into the camera (included in PDNB show). Her photographs of Bettie have now been featured on more magazine covers than those of Marilyn Monroe.
Bunny also photographed Nadine Ducas, an actress who played many roles in major movies, including Fellini’s 8 ½. Bunny also had friends from Hollywood including Sammy Davis Jr. In fact, she taught him photography.
Bunny Yeager’s career expanded from the 50’s pin-up style. She took the well-known still images of Ursula Andress on the beach in the 1962 James Bond film Dr. No. And in 1968 she played the role of a Swedish masseuse opposite Frank Sinatra in Lady In Cement (1968).
Bunny’s photographs have been published in many magazines including National Enquirer, Playboy and numerous ‘old school’ gentlemen’s magazines like Rouge and Wink that are no longer published.
Over 30 books have been published on her photography including, How I photograph Myself, published in 1964 by A.S. Barnes & Co. This particular book featured hundreds of self-portraits in which Yeager assumes many different looks, styles and moods. Her unique self-portrait techniques certainly foreshadow the work of contemporary artist, Cindy Sherman, who actually read this book.
The exhibition will include vintage contact sheets (see above image) that reveal her model’s many poses before the editing process. This exhibition will run in conjunction with the 90th birthday of Bettie Page (April 22, 1923 – December 11, 2008).
Bunny Yeager currently lives in Miami Shores, Florida. She recently collaborated with Bruno Banani to create a playful swimwear line for women.
Photographs Do Not Bend Gallery will be offering signed copies of her most recent book, Bunny Yeager’s Darkroom: PinUp Photography’s Golden Era, published by Rizzoli in September 2012.