Glamour photography is a genre in which females are portrayed in erotic or exciting ways ranging from fully clothed to nude, but in ways that either may conceal or may otherwise not especially draw attention to the subjects' breasts and buttocks. It is amongst the broadest genres of photography that could also include male models. The primary focus is usually on the model whose natural features are highlighted using make-up, accessories, and lighting in an artistic and a flattering manner. The image often illustrates the unique features and the natural beauty of the model.
Glamour photography dates back to the 1900s to France, where small erotic postcards were being sold on the streets by vendors. Pinups were also very popular in the early 1900s which depicted scantily dressed women who seemed startled by the viewer and with a playful pose.
In the 1920s, Ruth Harriet Louise, the Chief Portrait Photographer at MGM studios started taking photographs of Hollywood stars to make them more glamorous. The stars were the main studio product. The photographers captured the sex appeal of these stars although they did not show off much skin as is the case today. The photographs in that era were mainly in black and white and were greatly dependent on the lighting to bring the point across.
As time passed by, it became acceptable for models to show more skin. During the Second World War, pictures of scantily dressed stars known as pin-ups were very popular with the American servicemen and soldiers. Betty Grable was among the most famous models during that period. Pin-ups also included artwork that depicted how an attractive woman ought to look like.
The emergence of the Playboy magazine in the 1950s made a significant contribution to the Glamour genre with Marilyn Monroe as the centerfold. It was the first magazine ever to incorporate nude photography targeting mainstream consumers. The magazine did not feature famous models; instead, it used ordinary girls who portrayed innocence with a kind of naughtiness, a style that is still in use today.
In 1965, the sports illustrated swimsuit edition was born and brought a new style to the genre. The sports illustrated scantily dressed women who were not completely nude. In 1977, Roy Raymond created Victoria’s secret, which illustrated models in lingerie. The style was infused into Glamour Photography, and from there on, the lingerie style was born. The ’80s and ’90s saw the incorporation of glamour photography into the advertisement world as people believed ‘sex sells.’
The invention of the internet made Glamour widespread. It created an avenue for both photographers and models with full-time jobs but who enjoy Glamour as a hobby to exhibit their work. It has also made it possible for all the people interested in the genre to become participants.
Modern-day men’s magazines, the likes of FHM and Maxim, feature both celebrities and non-celebrities. They feature scantily dressed women and are very popular in our modern world.
In the world today, there are different kinds of Glamour photography, ranging from nude to fully clothed models, from high school portraits to models in magazines. The style all depends on the line drawn by the photographer taking the shot.
The theory behind glamour photography
Glamour photography mainly focuses on the model captured in the image by highlighting their natural features in flattering and artistic ways. The photographer achieves this through guiding the model through a series of stylish techniques that complement the model's body type. Although it’s associated with amatory, it doesn’t necessarily have to be erotic in nature.
One of the most important aspects of Glamour photography is the posing of the model. The type of location is the primary determinant of which poses work and which do not. For instance, in Boudoir photography, the intimate setting leads to the creation of sensual, romantic, soft, or naughty photos, which are influenced by the models’ pose. The interaction between the model and the photographer will also determine how great the poses are.
The lighting in the set influences the kind of mood and feelings portrayed in the photo. The right kind of equipment brings out the desired mood that can be lost if the wrong lighting is used. Therefore, it is important for the photographer to be able to master the many different types of lighting arrangements to project the desired messages in the shots.
The location of the shoot and the model should have a complementary look that works together. The location the photographer picks should also complement the mood and the theme of the shoot. The models’ makeup and clothing should also go hand in hand with the photo shoot location. Mixing the wrong clothes, makeup, and location can be compromising to the photos.
Glamour photography does not always depend on artificial lighting. It's possible for the photographer to manipulate the natural light of the location to produce unique shots without depending on artificial lighting.
Almost all the photos taken during a photo shoot require editing before they are published. This marks the final stage in the production of Glamour photography. Retouches are carried out to produce the desired effects.
Why glamour images are everywhere
Glamour photography depicts most of its models in an appealing manner that tends to be alluring to both heterosexuals and homosexuals. As a result of this, glamour images have been in great use in the past couple of years, mainly in advertisement and related fields. The reason behind this is the passing down of the belief that sex sells, which has been concluded to be true. Over the years, scores of women have shown their displeasure with the use of semi-nude women in billboards and magazines for advertisements. The inclusion of muscular and handsome men has, however, brought about a significant change to this opinion.
The passionate, suggestive, and provocative nature of Glamour photographs tend to attract many advertisement agencies. People, in general, are wired to notice sexually related information because it attracts attention. They are often duped into believing that if they buy the product, they will get or start resembling the models in the products. Glamour images are very appealing and, as a result, many companies manipulate this aspect to sell their products to people. For this reason, the advertisement sections in newspapers and magazines mainly contain pictures of beautiful and handsome models, both celebrities and non-celebrities alike, promoting the different products.
The use of lingerie images in the beauty industry is perceived as ‘sexy’ by both men and women alike. The sexy look of the models attracts people who aspire to look like the models in question and to attain the same level of sex appeal. Lingerie companies such as Victoria’s Secret are aware that women are comfortable with sex being portrayed in certain ways. They use this to their advantage to sell their products. It is, therefore, not a wonder they make millions of dollars in profit every year.
The use of glamour images has also become widespread in the print media industry. Glamour photos grace the covers of magazines and books. The more attractive the cover, the greater the number of viewers. The attractiveness is brought about by the beauty of the model in question. The nature of beauty depends on how much the photographer can capture, the setting, makeup, dressing, and the location. Glamour images are also used in school newspapers whereby they cover portraits of former students who have already graduated. Glamour photography is, after all, not all about nudity. The images are also used as covers to calendars. The principle of attraction is also applied here. The more attractive the cover, the more buyers it’s bound to attract.
Glamour images are not limited to the advertisement and print media. People also take glamour images for personal purposes. Especially women, take glamour photographs to appreciate a side of their beauty that they may not be aware of and to appreciate themselves in general. A great photo which shows all the beautiful aspects of the model does a lot in terms of boosting their self-esteem. People also take these photos to gift them to their loved ones or for decorative purposes in their homes. Others are used as pin-ups.
If you take the time to look around, you will realize that you are surrounded by glamour images, be it in your house, on your phone, on the internet or the roads.
Why glamour photography is the most popular modeling choice
Glamour Photography and modeling go hand in hand where fashion sells a product, glamour usually sells the model. This, however, is not always the case because photography promotes products as well, it is amongst the reasons why Glamour photography is preferred when it comes to modeling. In the modeling world, nothing sells a model better than a nice looking portfolio. In the portfolio, there should be a collection of the models best-looking photos as it shows clients how the model looks under different situations. It also proves that the model in question is not an amateur and shows that the model is photogenic. The photos should capture your unique and exciting qualities. If you have a great portfolio, you have a higher chance of attracting the attention of many clients who will want to have you representing them.
In glamour photography, the primary focus of the photographer is usually on the model. The photographers’ main aim is usually to highlight the natural features of the model in a flattering and artistic way. Using different settings, lighting, makeup, and clothing, a photographer can bring out different sides of the same model. Various poses are also used to generate different stories. The photographer goes a long way to creating different versions of the same person in various parameters. Through this, all the existing and artsy sides of a model can be explored, thus giving them an edge when it comes to getting recognition. The existence of an excellent rapport between the photographer and the model is crucial. Good photographs are taken when the model and the photographer can trust each other and where an understanding exists between them.
Some models have had significant breakthroughs in life as a result of glamour photography
One such case is the famous actress Marilyn Monroe. Marilyn was an important sex representation in America during the 1950s and 60s. This was a result of her public photos and modeling career. The two opened up a slot for her in the theatre world and paved the way for her to join the ranks of the most successful actresses in her time. Another example is Tyra Banks, who rose to fame after appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue and for working for Victoria's Secrets as one of the Angels. This paved the way for her in the television industry and made it possible for her to become the successful person she is today.
Glamour photography, therefore, plays a great role in the life of models. It has paved the way for the success of many models in the past and continues to do so. Great glamour images expose novice and experienced models to greater chances of expanding their modeling career. Glamour photography is an integral part of modeling. The photo shoots do not end with the portfolio. Once a model manages to get clients, they have to promote the clients' product while at the same time building their reputation in the modeling world. It would also not be incorrect to draw the conclusion that the majority of the famous models today rose to fame with a significant boost from Glamour photography.
Evolution of glamour photography
Before the 1960s, glamour photography was commonly referred to as erotic photography. It dates back to the 1940s after the creation of the daguerreotypes by Louis Daguerre. The technology made it possible for artists to depict the nude form of women in another way besides the traditional methods of painting, engraving, and drawings. The invention made it possible to produce images that did not fade with passing the time. It was adopted in French in academies where painters studied the nude forms of both women and men. The invention of the stereoscope made it possible to view these photographs in three dimensions. In the 1850s, erotic photographs were declared illegal and, as a result, the production of nudes was stopped, and the business went underground.
The French then started producing postcards that depicted women in erotic poses. These cards were circulated were distributed under the counter as many countries had banned the sale of materials referencing sex or partial or full nudes. Erotic and Nude material was then marketed in a magazine called La Beauté.
The 1900s brought improvements to the camera. With the emergence of small cameras, it became possible to take glamour photos in secluded in and semi-secluded areas. The early 20th century saw an evolution in the posing styles that were brought about by an artist by the name E.J. Bellocq. The models in his pictures assumed relaxed and comfortable poses in contrast to the awkward poses women used to assume before. Julian Mandel also brought evolution to glamour photography. He adopted the natural setting that was later accepted by other photographers. Over the era, the production of soft images with exquisite tones were created with lighting instead of the usual shadows.
In the year 1931, the photographer George Hurrell made the first attempt at ‘manual Photoshop’ by doing a retouch on the photo of the actress Joan Crawford.
During the Second World War, pin-ups became popular and made an emphasis on legs. The models were usually in short skirts and bathing suits displaying shapely figures. The year 1953 saw the launch of the Playboy, which was the first magazine to reveal the naked breasts of women in this era. The 1970s saw the inclusion of male models to the world that was previously dominated by women.
The 1990s brought about the spread of the internet and social liberalization. Glamour photography became widespread on the internet, and in print, it then started competing with magazines as the nudity was no longer considered a taboo, it became a form of art which was appreciated.
Photography is now taught in schools, and this has led to the emergence of professionals in the industry. They have mastered the proper art of manipulating lighting to produce desired effects, moods, and themes in images. The technological changes have had an enormous impact on glamour photography. With the invention of photo editing software's, it is now possible to remove blemishes in the image, brighten teeth, even the skin tone, to remove the red-eye effects and to lighten over darkened photos. The continuous changes in photography have led to the production of high-quality images.
We can, therefore, conclude that glamour photography has been undergoing a series of changes from the time it was discovered to date. Most of the features we have today are, however, a modification of ideas invented by the pioneers of today's glamour photography.
Relationship between glamour photography and art
Art in itself refers to a broad range of human activities that are diverse in nature and usually involving technical skills and or imagination. Photography is a part of art and falls under the category of visual arts, together with printmaking, sculpture, painting, and other visual media. Glamour photography is in itself both an art and science. It allows the photographer to capture the emotions and feelings of the model at that particular time. The difference between photography and the other forms of visual arts is that there is a barrier created by the camera between the model and the photographer as is the case with the sculptor and his clay or wood or the painter and his canvas.
Glamour photography is of great importance in art
Glamour Photography combines the significance of art and digital awareness into one experience. With photography, one can let their imaginations run free, what with the endless subjects and themes that the world around us provides, and at the same time gaining invaluable knowledge of handling cameras and other photographic equipment.
Perhaps photography can be said to be most significant in the communications, advertising, and marketing industry. It’s no mystery that a photograph can speak volumes about what happens in our lives and can tell us more in its singularity than a 1000 word article or news piece would. In this way, glamour photographs give us a clearer understanding of what we read about or hear in the news.
Advertising and marketing wouldn't be such profitable ventures if it weren't for the images that are used in promoting goods and services of various enterprises. Humans depend highly on their vision to make both basic and important decisions, and photographs no doubt influence what products we choose to buy, and from whom, and which companies or firms we want to conduct our business with.
The art of photography is one of the most common ways of giving value to objects and events. Photographs have, for a long time, been a means for documenting important moments in our lives; they act as a living memory of who we are and what we have done in our lifetimes. They tend to say the things that we are too abashed to say for ourselves, or moments that we'd either ruin by speaking too much about or lack the words. It's right of me to assume that photographs, family portraits especially, compose part of people's most valuable possessions.
Contemporary glamour portrait photography can capture the natural curves and emotions of the model using lighting and shadows to set the mood. In so doing, it makes the models of all ages and sizes feel appreciated, desired, and beautiful. They also make it possible for people to appreciate the human body as an art form.
Glamour images unite people from all over the world as it helps celebrate the diversity and the uniqueness of human expression through the internet or print. This helps in creating a deep understanding of people from all walks of life and transcends cultural differences. In so doing it, promotes the goal of the art of bringing people together, whether in a house or museum it adds color and life to the world that would otherwise be dull.
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