Vintage Erotica the 1920’s-70’s
The artistry of erotic photography since the 1920’s
“Vintage Erotica” is the term I am giving for the mesmerizing artistry created by the master level photographer’s of the past. The entire premise of the Soft Screams Magazine is for the artistry of Erotic and Fine Art photography. Soft Screams magazine does primarily remain focused on the future of these artistic photography expressions. My “issue” (pun intended) with this philosophy is how can we really appreciate just how great Erotic and Fine Art photography is, without understanding where it all came from? Vintage Erotica laid the foundation to what this magazine is all about and I wanted to begin a series of articles, educating people on just how talented our founding Erotic photography and Fine Art Photography fathers were.
Technically speaking, the concepts of Vintage Erotica goes back thousands of years prior to the advent of photography. Ancient Egyptian Hierogluphics depicted various acts of sexuality in an artistic and non-pornographic way. The concepts back then were the same as today. The ancient Egyptians didn’t have photography or canvasses in which to paint, so they expressed artistic sexuality on the mediums of their time such as walls, and pottery.
Most people believe that the infamous “Karma Sutra” was the first real sex manual or as I am loosely using the term “Vintage Erotica” magazine. Yes, the Karma Sutra is very old. Written by Vātsyāyana sometime between 400 B.C, and 200 B.C. and it is very graphic and take it from me personally, a true piece of literary and imagery art. If you haven’t tried the positions in the Karma Sutra yet I sincerely have no idea why you are subscribing to this magazine because that is what we are all about at the end of the day. Forgive me, I digress. The Karma Sutra is very old but it is NOT the first of its kind, much to popular belief. The Turin Erotic Papyrus, was created roughly 1150 B.C. putting it almost 1000 years older than the Karma Sutra! That makes the Turin Erotic Paypyrus the worlds’s oldest erotic photography magazine and the oldest form of Vintage Erotica to date. The Turin Erotic Papyrus measures over eight feet tall and it’s only about 10 inches wide but the information and images within this Vintage Erotica magazine is priceless when it comes to depicting ancient sexuality.
The history of Vintage Erotica goes back too many years and represents too many mediums to summarize in any one article. Soft Screams Magazine is an Erotic and Fine Arts Photography Magazine. Therefore, this article will be focused on Vintage Erotica photography since around the 1920’s. I trust you will find the images by these photographers to be just as awe inspiring as I do. All of these Vintage Erotica images were taken with real film cameras. All of these Vintage Erotica images were processed in dark rooms without the use of software of any other form of sophisticated digital equipment. These masters of photography utilized their creativity and talents to sculpt with the light and shadows, the most beautiful expressions of female nudity and sexuality since the Turin Erotic Papyrus.
Betty Page – The Queen of Vintage Erotica, 1950’s Pin-ups and Fetish Erotica.
The queen of all Pin-Ups, Erotic Photography and Fetish Photography. Who photographed this image and when this image was taken is unknown. However, Betty Page is without a doubt the most famous Vintage Erotica model of all time. Betty Page became a pop icon for her “Pin Up” styled images of the 1950’s but people such as myself are in love with her for her fetish work, especially her BDSM art work. Betty page was brazen, beautiful and ambitious. Betty Page overcame so many horrors to become the icon that she is today that I felt the only way this article would have an ounce of legitimacy in it would be to start off with her.
Photographer: Harrison Marks
Model Ann Austin shot by photographer Harrison Marks. The exact date of this shot is unknown but believed to be around the 1960’s and shot in the UK.
Photographer: Edward Delong
The model is Arline Hunter and this image was for Playboy, August of 1954. What makes this image so iconic is that it was the first nude image for the magazine that was not shot by Hugh Heffner. This image was photographed by Edward Delong. In addition, this was the first magazine that was sold through a legitimate distributor.
Photographer: Albert Arthur Allen (Censorship Pioneer)
The model is unknown however this was photographed by the famed photographer Albert Arthur Allen some time in the 1920’s. Albert Arthur Allen was a brilliant man for the most part. While his photography wasn’t extremely creative, his use of the female form in natural surroundings was well ahead of its time. In fact, it wouldn’t be for another 10 years before Europe’s “naturalist” movement would really take place in this country and Albert Arthur Allen had already been shooting in this style as you can see by these examples. Albert Arthur Allen was one of the first anti puritanical and Censorship crusaders, paving the way for photographers like Hugh Heffner and yes even the infamous Larry Flynt.
Photographer: Andre De Dienes – Celebrity Photographer and Exclusive photographer for Marilyn Monroe
This is a gorgeous and glamorous nude shot by the internationally famed Andre De Dienes. Andre is most noted for his exclusive photography work with Hollywood icon Marilyn Monroe. This was believed to have been photographed somewhere between the 1950’s and 1960’s. We always perform our due diligence with our articles and this model is rumored be famed Hollywood Actress, the Swedish Anita Eckberg. Anita Eckberg was a blonde in all of her Hollywood films however, so was Marilyn Monroe and she clearly was not a naturally born blonde.
Photographer: Frantisek Drtikol.
The models are unknown. The photographer is the brilliant Czech, master photographer Frantisek Drtikol. It is believed that this image was photographed around the 1930’s. Considering the age and the equipment, this Saphic themed erotic photography is an incredible piece of art. Frantisek Drtikol besides creating a lushes body of nude and erotic portraiture was also a teacher. One of his most famous pupils was the world renown avant-garde photographer Jaroslav Rossler.
Photographer: Gerhard Riebicke – German Sports, Dance and Nudism Photographer
The model in this piece is unknown. The photographer is Gerhard Riebicke. Between the years of 1925 and 1935, Riebicke made his mark as the most influential Sports, Dance and Nudism photographer in Germany.
The models are unknown in this Gerhard Riebicke image. Gerhard Riebicke’s images were printed all over Germany as well as internationally. His greatest creative accolades at the time were his multiple publishing images in the famous German photography yearbook “Das Deutsche Lichtbild”. The vast majority of his archived works were destroyed during the war which is why I felt compelled to add at least two of his images in this article. The preservation of these works of art must be carried out by anyone that can in any way they can.
Photographer: Forman G. Hanna – Southwest USA landscape and nude photographer
The model for this artwork is unknown. The photographer is by world famous master photographer Forman G Hanna. and shot outside in the 1930’s. The location is believed to be in the desert of Arizona. Once again, considering the time, and the limited technology this is a classically beautiful and technically executed piece.
Photographer: Walter Bird
The model is Rosemary Andree. The art piece was photographed by master photographer the British, Walter Bird in 1938. By today’s standards, this piece might not seem very complex or difficult. However, this was shot on film in 1938. This piece was created without any digital editing software, pixel manipulated graphics or any other high tech gear of today. This was created by a man, his model, perfect lighting techniques and his camera. This is a true work of erotic photography art.
Photographer: Elmer Batters – The master of Foot and Leg Fetish Photography
There was absolutely no way, I could create an article about Vintage Erotica and not feature one of my personal faves, Elmer Batters. So many of us Erotic and Fetish photographers owe our livelihoods to the artistry he dared to create that it is almost scandalous. Many photographers such as myself love the work of Steve Meisel. However, we rarely acknowledge the photographer who inspired him, which is this photographer Elmer Batters. Although this photographer’s contributions to the world of Vintage Erotica is fairly in comparison to some of the other artists above, his work in the 1970’s was just too important and influential