the circular runner

The Clothes Were Coming Off in Potrero Hill…

In Uncategorized on October 5, 2008 at 8:47 pm

getting ready for her close-up...

getting ready for her close-up...

it ain't as easy as it looks...

it ain't as easy as it looks...

hard at work...

hard at work...

The Return of the Pin-up

Camera shutters were clicking and clothes were coming off in Potrero Hill this weekend. Fifteen photographers from up and down the West Coast gathered at Blue Sky Rental Studios for an all-day bootcamp hosted by Zivity specializes in publishing pin-up photos, which from what I saw, ranged from Betty Page-styled portraits to stuff that was a good bit more graphic. With that range, it’s no wonder that a number of people I spoke to used different names for what was being shot. Some called their style glamour, others used the term erotica. Cyan, the founder of Zivity and a model in her own right, preferred the term glamour, but said that the regardless of what you call it, the photos she was interested in “all had to tell a story in which the woman’s form is the focus.” The people who shoot for us,” Cyan told me, “need to have a love of photography and of beautiful women.”

The phrase beautiful women, I noticed, was used a lot that day. And admittedly, I was thrown by it at first. Maybe I’ve had a few too many feminist theory classes, but for a moment, my PC Meter was going crazy. Should I object to what I was seeing? Was my silence somehow causing me to play some sordid role in the objectification of women? (OK, so maybe I’m exaggerating what I felt, but I was a bit uneasy.)

Mona, a participant and only one of three women at the bootcamp, told me she was hopeful that Zivity would open up the market to models who weren’t “all skinny and all white.” She added that she’d like to see women of other ethnicities get involved, and that Zivity seemed open to that. That made me feel better. And then there was also the fact that though I was walking around a room with women taking their clothes off for groups of men with cameras, the vibe was all-business.

That’s when it hit me: though the photos being taken were sexy and fun, the process of taking them was neither. In fact, and I know some friends of mine won’t believe me when I say it, the main lesson that the bootcamp was teaching those fifteen photographers was that sexy and fun are products of discipline and craft.

Who would’ve thunk it?


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