Reflections

One of my favorite subjects to photograph are reflections.  Reflections are all abstract versions of life. Using water, mirrors, windows or any reflective surface can transform an image into something richer,  unique, and even artistic.

Tennessee Near Smoky Mountains

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New Hampshire

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Macy’s NYC Easter Window – 2008

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Skyscraper Reflection

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Sandhill Cranes Sunset

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Grand Tetons

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Ghost Ranch – New Mexico

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Dorothy

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Untitled

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Water Reflection #1

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Water Reflection #2

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San Juan Islands – Whales

The San Juan Islands consist of a string of islands (over 100) located in the northwest corner  between the mainland U.S. and Vancouver, B.C.  We stayed in the town of Friday Harbor, the big tourist spot on the island of San Juan. From there for three days we went out on the nearby waters, including the Strait of Georgia, to photograph Orcas and Humpback Whales, Seals,  Porpoises and Eagles. We also spent a few hours at the San Juan Island National Historic Park where we photographed Foxes.

This is the first in a series of photographs I will be posting. Enjoy.

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Visions of Maine – Part 3

Part 3 is the final post in the series of photos from my recent trip to Maine. You can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

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Main Street,  Bar Harbor

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View from Inside Ellsworth, Maine Library

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Flowers with Schooner

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Belfast, Maine 

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Opera House – Belfast, Maine

You can read a bit of history at this link.

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Bar Harbor Inn

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Visions of Maine – Part 2

Part 2 in my series of photographs from a recent trip to Maine. You can find Part 1 here.

Somesville, Maine

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Arcadia National State Park

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Somesville, Maine

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Bird Houses

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The First Church of Belfast (Maine)

The steeple bell of The First Church was made by the Revere and Son Co., as in Paul Revere. It was installed in 1819.

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Bar Harbor Schooner 

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Visions of Maine – Part One

A few photographs from a recent trip to one of my favorite states.

Arcadia National Park

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Bar Harbor Reflection

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Bar Harbor

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Bar Harbor Sunset

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Colburn Shoe Store (Oldest Shoe Store in America) – Belfast, Maine 

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Arcadia National Park

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From Real to Reel: Still Photographers at the Movies – Bunny Yeager

Bunny Teager

This is the 6th installment in this series.

Linnea Eleanor Yeager was born  in Wilkensburg, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Pittsburg. When Linnea was 17, she and her family moved to Miami. That was in 1946. A longtime movie fan, she somewhere during this period adopted the nickname of Bunny which she procured from Lana Turner’s character, Bunny Smith, in MGM’s Weekend at the Waldorf (1945). She developed an early interest in photography and began photographing friends. After graduating from Edison High School in Miami, Yeager registered as a student at the Coronet Modeling School and Agency.  Bunny won a few beauty contests including a ‘Sports Queen’ contest where she was crowned by a pre-Marilyn Monroe Joe DiMaggio. She began to receive modeling jobs and they kept on coming. At five foot ten, with a voluptuous figure, Bunny was perfect for modeling. She also had another not so secret weapon. She made her own bikinis. In those days, bikinis were rare. Models were still wearing one-piece swimsuits. Over the years, Yeager would make bikinis for herself and her models. Though Bunny continued to model, her interest was mainly for working behind the camera. In 1953, she signed up for some photography classes. For one of her class assignments she took a couple of friends to Boca Rotan’s Africa U.S.A. park, the same park one year or so later she would take Bettie Page and shoot some of their best-known photographs. When still an amateur, Yeager sold her first photo, a picture of local model, Maria Stinger, also known as Miami’s answer to Marilyn Monroe, to Eye magazine.

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Maria Stinger at Africa U.S.A in Boca Raton. Bunny Yeager’s first sale.

Bettie Page was already a popular model in New York’s seedy world of ‘camera clubs,’ men’s magazines, and for her work with Irving and Paula Klaw. On vacation in Florida, Bettie contacted a few photographers including Bunny Yeager. By this time, Yeager had some professional work to her credit, both in front and behind the camera, but was still new in the business.  The women worked well together. They did a wide variety of early morning shoots on Florida’s pristine beaches. The sunlight graced and exposed Page and Yeager’s other models for the natural beauties they were. Yeager designed many of the bikinis Bettie Page wore. During this period, Bunny asked if Bettie would mind working with animals. No problem, she responded. Bunny set up a photo session at Africa U.S.A. in Boca Raton. Bettie posed with a wide variety of animals: zebras, monkeys, ostriches, and cheetahs. Those photos became extremely popular, for Yeager her biggest sellers. Bettie’s skimpy outfit in the photos mirrored the wild animals’ fur. Yeager had another idea; a Christmas photo. She photographed Bettie kneeing next to a small Christmas tree wearing nothing but a Santa Claus hat and a smile. Playboy magazine, still in its infancy, and still accepting photographs from unknown photographers published the photo and used it as the centerfold for the January 1955 issue. Bunny received $100. Bunny has claimed to have taken at least 1,000 pictures of Page.

Bettie Page on the  each in Florida and Bettie and Bunny at Africa U.S.A. in Boca Raton 

The 1950’s and 1960’s were Bunny’s best years both as a photographer and as a model. She did a lot of her own modeling in front of the camera by using her camera’s timer. She did five photographic layouts for Playboy and even appeared in the magazine herself. Her photographs appeared in other girlie magazines of the day including Cavalier, Nugget, Escapade, Sunbathing, and the National Police Gazette, in addition to hundreds of pin-up calendars that men had hanging in locker rooms and elsewhere. Her work also appeared in more mainstream magazines like Cosmopolitan, Redbook, Esquire, and Women’s Wear Daily. Other work included working as a still photographer in Jamaica during the filming of the first James Bond movie, Dr. No. That famous white bikini shot of Ursula coming out of the water. Yep, that was photographed by Yeager.

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Ursula Andress on the set of Dr. No. Photograph by Bunny Yeager

In the 1970’s, times changed. Magazines like Playboy, Penthouse, and others wanted more graphic pictures, something Yeager was not willing to do. Her girl next door innocent, yet sexy look was out of style for magazines like the hardcore Hustler. It wasn’t until the 2000’s when Yeager’s photography began to regain its due fame. In 2010, the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh presented Bunny Yeager: The Legendary Queen of the Pin-up. The show was a collection of twenty-eight self-portraits. They were both artful and sensual and became an influence on modern-day photographers like Cindy Sherman. Other exhibits followed. Over the years there have been a series of books published on her work. One of the last before her death was Bunny Yeager’s Darkroom Pinup Photography’s Golden Era by Petra Mason. Bunny died in 2014 at the age of 85.

Books by Bunny Yeager

 

Bunny Yeager on Film

In the 2005 film, The Notorious Bettie Page, Bunny is portrayed by Sarah Paulson. It’s a small role as brief as her real-life collaboration with the model. The movie itself seems all too innocent; Page’s acting career, modeling, bondage photos and eventually her path back to religion. The film ignores Bettie’s later years of depression, a nervous breakdown, and her lack of compensation for the photos and movies she did. Gretchen Mol does an excellent job as Page; as expected Bunny’s career and accomplishments are ignored.

That said, Bunny had a diverse career in the movies mostly behind the scenes. In 1968, she appeared in a small role as a Swedish masseuse in the Frank Sinatra P.I. film, Lady in Cement. She also appeared in the Paul Newman film, Harry and Son (1984) and in an episode of the TV series B.L. Stryker (1989) in which she once again played a masseuse.

Bunny also appeared in a few low budget exploitation films mostly playing herself in films like Bunny Yeager’s Nude Camera (1963), Bunny Yeager’s  Nude Las Vegas (1964), Nudes of Tiger Beach (1965), all directed by exploitation maven Barry Mahon. Yeager also appeared in a series of documentaries, the most prominent included 100 Girls by Bunny Yeager (1999), Herschell Gordon Lewis: The Godfather of Gore (2010), and Bettie Page Reveals All (2012).

Bunny was also behind the scenes as a still photographer, most prominently as previously mentioned in Dr. No (1962). Other films were in the pre-porn exploitation film world of works like Nude on the Moon (1961) and Blaze Starr Goes Nudist (1962) both directed by the prolific Queen of Sexploitation, Doris Wishman.

You can read earlier installments in the From Real to Real: Still Photographers in the Movies by clicking right here.

Margot Kidder – RIP

CR Margot Kidder - Making of Willie and Phil2 -1978Some years ago, the combination of living in New York City and a growing interest in photography provided some unexpected opportunities.  There were times I took a day off from work, picked up my camera, and took to the streets of Manhattan. On one of those occasions, I went Greenwich Village and happened upon a movie location in front of the what was then the Waverly theater.

The movie was Paul Mazursky’s Willie and Phil. The stars were Ray Sharkey, Michael Ontkean, and Margot Kidder. Kidder who passed away on Sunday is today best remembered for her role as Lois Lane in four Superman films. I remember her best for roles in Brian DePalma’s Sisters, The Amityville Horror, Black Christmas, The Reincarnation of Peter Proud and a lot of TV shows including the short-lived James Garner series Nichols.

I recognized Kidder and Paul Mazursky right off. Like some other New Yorker’s, I stood around watching the filmmakers do their thing. Only I had my Pentax camera and a 125mm lens, enough to get some nice shots between the shoulders of the other gawkers.

I thought I would share a few today.

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Elvis and The Clash

In 1979, The Clash were still relatively new on the music scene. London Calling was their third studio album. The cover photo was shot by Brit photographer Pennie Smith. She caught Clash guitarist Paul Simonon  bending over smashing his guitar. Smith did not want to use the photo because it was a bit on the blurry side. However, the album’s Graphic Designer Ray Lowery liked the idea and convinced Pennie it caught the mood and fury of the band. It was Lowery’s decision to closely duplicate the style, lettering and colors of Elvis Presley’s debut LP symbolically linking the rock legend to the new guard.

The Elvis cover was photographed by Tampa’s  William V. “Red” Robertson during the second of two shows at Tampa’s Fort Homer Hesterly Armory. The date was July 31, 1955. The show’s headliner was Andy Griffith. Elvis was billed 6th. Below is the original uncropped photo.

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