The lure of Pinups have lasted through history for over 70 years. Since the first pinups became popular in the 1920s to they outbreak of their fame in the 1940s, they’ve represented not just fantasies but symbols of an ideal time and the celebration of the female form. While the pinups of today don’t quite have the same classy clean fun as the art of yesterday, the main idea and love of the playful pinup lives on in various forms. The Pinup of yesterday was created from the brush on an artist, usually being inspired by real life models for the artist. Today, the pinup is most often found in photographs in favor over the airbrush or watercolor. A resurgence of the style has emerged from the photography form and continues to be very popular. I’ve been shooting Pinups for a number of years now, mainly focusing on the style of the 1940s and early 1950s. I’ve had honor and pleasure of working with several talented and beautiful models over the years for Pinup shoots of all shapes and sizes. Until now, most of the photos haven’t been largely seen by the public from these shoots with these wonderful models. This series of posts will spotlight many of the models I’ve worked with and showcase some of the best images from the pinup sessions. So let’s get on to meeting this post’s featured model!
FEATURED PINUP MODEL: ALISHA
When I first met Alisha many years ago, I’d already thought she’d be a great Pinup model. She perfectly fits the classic pinup look with stunning beauty and a sense of classiness. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until a lot of time later and Alisha had become a very close friend that when one day on the subject of retro and pinup styles, we both realized we had mutual interests. It was then we said we must have a photoshoot sometime. She loved the classic styles of the 1940s and 1950s, and mentioned how much she’d love to do a pinup shoot. She’d done some modeling in the past for various mediums, and I was excited to work with her for what seemed like a perfect fit of model and pinup style. I’d already photographed her in many different occasions at the theme park location where she works, so I’d already had some experience seeing how she’d do behind the camera, which never ceased to surprise me! Finally setting a date to shoot, she came to the studio well versed in Pinup style homework she’d done from makeup and hairstyles to many different poses. It was because of this the shoot went so incredibly smoothly, and it was also at this point that I realized just how amazing Alisha was at the pinup style! Often times, Pinups are like putting on a glove, it either fits or it doesn’t. Each person has styles that work for them, and pinups (I honestly believe) are one of the hardest to achieve for a lot of people. But once you find that perfect marriage of model and retro style, the result is stunning! Even beyond all that she had researched before the shoot started, Alisha’s wonderful personality and passion for the retro times told me she was going to embody the perfect look I was going for.
Interview with Alisha
As I will with all of these features, I asked Alisha some questions relating to Pinups in history and her being a pinup model:
Some great answers from Alisha! At the writing of this post, I’ve had the pleasure of shooting with Alisha for two separate pinup shoots. The difference between the two shoots is pretty evident, the first shoot done for more of a simplistic approach and the second shoot with more ‘sets’ and props. Now I’ll share some of the best photos from Alisha’s two shoots and a little bit of commentary on the photos.
Pinup Shoot #1
The first shoot I did with Alisha back in 2007 was my first time studio shooting with Alisha. We decided for this Pinup shoot to just go crazy and let ideas for different styles lead us as we just started shooting. The main goals for the shoot were to get a mix of vintage swimsuit, various dresses, and several different military pinups, but how we’d achieve those goals were made up as we got to them. Basically, we brought enough clothing, props, and ideas to shoot a room full of models in different styles for a few days! And while we didn’t bring the kitchen sink, we at least made sure to bring a machine gun! Starting right into it, we decided to go for the more fancy dress style pinups, using Alisha’s beautiful blue dress. We went for the more party gal style, a fancy night out on the town. I wanted to keep these more mid-40s style, around the time World War 2 was ending. Using all sorts of various props from vintage playing cards to newspapers from the end of the war, the photos came out a lot more classy than I thought.
Next up we switched gears to the all so famous swimsuit and Hawaiian style for a few shots. Using Alisha’s own 1950s style one piece swimsuit and a red sarong, the idea here was for a more relaxed fun beach-going style. We kept the backgrounds and props to a minimum because of the type of photo we wanted to achieve. Most of the shots from the shoot were taken with a pure white background and digitally altered later to either remove the white completely or put various background colors on them. One of my favorite shots of this shoot is the first image below of Alisha.
Next, we dove into the US Military. For this I wanted to experiment with various types of military uniforms. All the uniforms were authentic, most of them World War 2 era. Whenever doing Pinup shoots, I always try to fit in at least one part of the shoot devoted to military pinups. I always loved the classic look of vintage military outfits on pinup gals in the art of the 1940s during the war, and recreating them in photos is always a blast! First up with a Tank/Infantry inspired outfit with a movie prop .50 Caliber Machine gun from the TV show ‘Band of Brothers.’ For this I wanted to create a sort of ‘The Pinup goes to war’ trying to figure out different ways to showcase the classic pinup with weapons, as if thrust upon a world she’s not used to.
Next, Alisha put on a more formal military outfit, known as a ‘Class A’ Uniform. While I realize the Class A is enlisted and she’s wearing an officer’s insignia, the idea was for more of a fun officer style rather than accuracy at the time. I really ended up liking how these photos turned out, especially with the Toy P-51 Mustang fighter. Call it a twist of Top Gun meets the 1940s Pinup gal.
Finally, to end this shoot and switching branches, next up I wanted to bring in some Navy which I’d not really done up to that point. Alisha was more than happy to throw on a sailor’s outfit and have some fun out on the high seas of a studio shooting room! One final touch was to bring in some modern Navy with the inclusion of a toy F/A-18C Hornet Naval fighter jet. The Jet was nearly as big as Alisha, which made it a big to a challenge to get shots with both of them!
Pinup Shoot #2
Flash forward to early 2010 for the second round of pinup shoots with Alisha, this time we decided to do things a bit different. We’d been talking about doing another shoot shortly after the first one, but it took a little while for us to get around to it. After pre-planning out the shoot outfits, we decided to have more of a ‘themed’ look to the shots rather than just pinups on a white background. For this, the heavy use of props, colored studio gel lights, and themed backgrounds all played a roll. Alisha participated in the Petty Project Pinup series to start off the shoot, and then we launched into some various themed shots. I really like how this shoot turned out with all the various gels and themes, but to compare them to the first shoot would be like comparing apples to oranges. Both shoots have their own flavor and color, each one with many things the other doesn’t have. This shoot for sure was more colorful, and Alisha was able to draw on the experience from the first shoot to help with her posing and expressions. Once again, Alisha proved that she’s a master Pinup model making the entire shoot a breeze and a lot of fun.
First up on the agenda was a late 40s style outfit which we tried to use in various situations. Focusing a bit on the upcoming Valentine’s Day, we used several different props including a oversized candy heart box, 1940s Bell telephone, and a 1930s Philco radio. Call it a ‘girl next door’ in the 1940s type of shoot, she’s the all American sweetheart everyone would want to get to know!
Switching gears and revisiting the classic Military look that I really liked with the first shoot, Alisha tried out a few various uniforms including a 1940s Naval Nurse uniform, the same type of uniform that the nurse was wearing in the famous Times Square Kiss photo that marked the end of the war. A fun bit to note, the Nurse uniform came in it’s original package never opened nor used since being issued during World War 2. Alisha is the first person in 60 years to put on the uniform! Along with a Nurse, Alisha transferred from the Navy to the Army with an authentic Women’s Army Corps enlisted uniform. Finally, trying something new, we tried out a few with an Army Air Force enlisted IKE Jacket and a 1930s propeller. I really love how these came out!
Finally, we decided to head back to the beach int he late 1940s as Alisha put on a one piece swimsuit and finished out the second pinup shoot with so much beach going photos!
I’m very honored to have worked with such a great model as Alisha, and I can’t wait to work with her again on another Pinup collaboration hopefully in the future! I hope you enjoyed following along on this spotlight on Alisha. Check back for more features on these wonderful Pinup models!
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