What a boring place the world would be if every woman looked the same as the next. Make the most of what you have and enjoy being female; enjoy being YOU. I’m not doing it to titillate anybody’s interests. I want to show off how beautiful my subjects are, That’s more important to me than anything.
I like to see a model who has meat on her bones. For fashion, maybe you need to show off the clothes, but if you want to show off a beautiful woman, you need her to be shapely, to show that she is a woman.
Bunny Yeager 1929 – 2014 .
Born near Pittsburgh, the teenage Bunny Yeager moved to Miami where she soon became one of the most photographed models in Florida. But she had a problem; it was expensive to hand out pictures to prospective clients, and photographers charged extortionately for prints. Undefeated, she took herself to college discovering that she was far more talented at wielding the camera than most of the men she had posed for!
In 1954, Yeager met Bettie Page, who had come to Miami from New York, where she was known for her bondage imagery. During their brief collaboration she took over 1,000 pictures creating what American Photo magazine described as “a body of imagery that remains some of the most memorable and endearing erotica on record”. After shooting Page as a naughty Santa, Yeager sold the pictures to the fledgling Playboy for $100.
She continued to work extensively with Playboy shooting eight centerfolds in addition to covers and pictorial spreads. Being a woman in a traditionally male profession didn’t feel that ground breaking to Yeager, but her previous modelling experience certainly helped her get work and come up with striking material. She said:
They all wanted to model for me because they knew I wouldn’t take advantage of them. And I wouldn’t push them to do nude if they didn’t want to do nudes. It wasn’t a day when nude photography was prevalent.
She was one of the first to photograph her models outdoors with natural light but perhaps the most crucial element of Yeager’s work was her empathy with her subjects. She focused on the personality of her subjects, as well as their physical beauty.
Her photos were also published in mainstream magazines and in 1962, she took the famous publicity pictures of Ursula Andress in that white bikini on a Jamaican beach during the making of the first James Bond film, Dr. No.
In the 1970s, as men’s magazines became more anatomically graphic, Yeager largely stopped photographing for them, saying “The kind of photographs they wanted was something I wasn’t prepared to do.”
Her work fell out of fashion for decades but a renaissance was fuelled by Bettie Page’s emergence as an icon who had inspired performers like Dita Von Teese, Beyoncé and Katy Perry. The pair’s status was cemented by The Notorious Bettie Page – a 2005 biopic starring Gretchen Mol in the title role and Sarah Paulson as Yeager.
Her book Bunny Yeager’s Darkroom: Pin-up Photography’s Golden Era came complete with an introduction by Von Teese.
Bunny Yeager’s Darkroom” gathers more than 250 lens-fogging photographs embodying the naughty girl-next-door eroticism of pin-up culture. Culled from Yeager’s extensive archive, the collection includes her most iconic shots of the legendary Bettie Page as well as many previously unpublished images, some of which have never even been scanned. Yeager’s pioneering self-portraits and excerpts from her charming 1960s how-to manuals are featured alongside dozens of wholesome beauties shot in the studio and on location.
In recent years, as Yeager published more retrospective books and exhibited around the world, the emphasis she placed on the “natural look” seemed to resonate in an era dominated by photoshop and the “skinny” model.
Bunny Yeager’s Beautiful Backsides was published in 2012.
Booty from Bunny Yeager’s treasure trove of a photographic archive graces the pages of this rare vintage look at the female derriere. Uncovering the posteriors of Bunny’s top models from the 1950s to the 1970s, this playful and sexy collection features 213 images shot on location at exotic beaches, in fancy hotel rooms, on yachts, and at poolside. From butts in bikinis to butts in lacey lingerie to butts in the buff, Bunny’s gorgeous models bare it all in this nostalgic collection of the female form.
Still working into her eighties, Yeager photographed a model who has appeared on this blog, Sabina Kelley, a number of times, first in 2004 and most recently in Miami in 2013.
Bunny Yeager died on May 25, this year. A few weeks later Sabina Kelley attended the exhibition Bunny’s Bombshells – a Bunny Yeager Retrospective in Las Vegas to pay tribute to the esteemed photographer whom she had come to view as a friend. She describes her experience working with Yeager, “She really knew how to direct, how lighting works on a woman’s figure, and how to make her models feel comfortable.”
Bunny Yeager Pinup who moved behind the camera to take influential iconic shots of Bettie Page and Ursula Andress
Bunny Yeager Photographer of Bettie Page Dies at 85
Bunny Yeager’s Vibrant Legacy Lives on in Las Vegas
How Bunny Yeager invented the Pin up