Pin-ups, the pictorial reproduction of the Female Form Divine,
are nothing new. The cave drawings of the early stone age might
very well be considered the forerunners of the modern pin-up
girls who "bewitch, bother and bewilder" us on calendars,
magazines and billboards.
The evolvement of pin-ups as an art form, however, is of
recent date, and is due mainly to their liberal use in
American advertising. All advertising boils down to the
stimulation of certain wants, and, once they are established,
channeling them in one direction - the house of the advertiser.
Small wonder, then, that the smart American huckster has
recruited the services of the ravishing pin-up creature,
who calls upon our basic hunger for love which is best
stimulated by beauty.
Feminine allure has been ingeniously used to make us buy
anything from socks to racing cars, from good to girdles.
Our dream girl won't kiss us unless we shave off our
whiskers with some particular shaving cream, and once she's
kissed us, we risk losing her instantly unless we happen
to be using the right kind of mouthwash.
The foremost exploiters of the pin-up have been the Hollywood
movie publicity men. The imagination of the heads of the art
departments and studio galleries works overtime when it comes
to getting a pair of gorgeous gams and a come-hither look
in ever new variations on an advertising poster. No matter
how little bearing it has on the story content - the
provocative display of the perfect feminine figure has always
been used as a sure-fire bait to lure the public to the box
Motion picture exploitation has made "Cheesecake" (Hollywood
lingo for glamorized leg art) as typically American as
apple pie. Pressed into the services of the multi-billion-dollar
industry, or innocent little pin-up cutie has now the double
function of turning not only our heads but also the big wheels
of our economy. "Noblesse Oblige," as the Frenchman says, and
with its new importance, the pin-up is subjected to certain
requirements of the graphic arts.
Let it be emphasized at the outset that in this book we are
concerned with the photographically artistic rendition of the
pin-up. The borderline between a mere vulgar display of
the feminine body and a legitimate work of commercial art
cannot be found in the margin of what is revealed to the
eye and what is left to the imagination. No one in his right
mind will dispute the artistry of the master painters and
sculptors in depicting nudes. It is up to the artistic
integrity and ability of the artist whether his work merely
arouses the animal instincts, or transmits aesthetic values.
The author hopefully submits that his collection of pin-ups
falls into the latter category. Each picture has been the
result of careful study in composition and lighting, costuming
and backgrounds as well as purposeful direction. While the
different art elements are discussed with each individual
picture, let us attempt here to summarize what gives the pin-up
Obviously, every one of us has a different idea of what
constitutes beauty. However, motion pictures, magazines, and the
different advertising media have crystallized certain
standards of modern beauty. With the proverbial grain of salt
contained in all generalizations, it is safe to say that the
classic shape of Venus and the buxom ideal of Rubens have
given way to the lissom, curvaceous, long-stemmed American
beauty as the almost-universally accepted beauty ideal of
the Western world.
If an enterprising archeologist, several thousand years from
now, should find no other trace of our civilizatio than a
capsule containing pin-ups, he could not only deduce from them
the beauty ideal of the mid-century Jones and Smith, but could
easily reconstruct from them a large sector of our present-day