Saturday, April 28, 2012

Nadya and Roxane by Ario Anindito

Nadya and Roxane

We've no idea what the back story is behind this illustration but it is intriguing to say the least.   An older woman has a younger redhead leaning against her hip.  Both are naked and both look very comfortable with it.   Is this a lazy morning after a night of sapphic passion?   It certainly gives off that impression!  There are other interesting elements in the picture like the Hellboy doll and the sinister looking soft toy panda. We are most impressed by the way Mr Anindito has rendered the girl's busts.  Splendid work!

Nadya, at least, is a character from Anindito's comic book and here we see her again in a page from that.  I gather that it is a work in progress rather than a published item.  You can see more of his interesting work here.

Zatanna performing magic

Here is another fetching illustration by the same artist who is, unusually for this genre, an Indonesian who originally trained as an architect.  One of his early influences was Don Lawrence's wonderful The Trigan Empire which is, frankly, the only comic story Triple P was ever interested in when he was small.  Lawrence, of course, also illustrated Mayfair's seventies strip Carrie, which we may do something on shortly.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Illustration from Fanny Hill by Édouard-Henri Avril

Here, especially for Scarlett Knight, is an illustration by the artist who went under the name of Paul Avril  (1843-1928) for an edition of Fanny Hill by John Cleland, published around 1908.

Swish! Thwack!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Couples by J Frederick Smith

No reservations for Esquire (1948)

Whilst looking for pictures for my recent posts on J Frederick Smith (here and here) we came across a series of his illustrations for (mainly) women's magazines.  Whilst not overtly erotic we though that many of them have a nice simmering sensuality about them and so we thought that they were worth posting here.

Smith manages to imbue his figures with a great deal of character.  Often the expressions on their faces can tell all sorts of tales but, of course, most were illustrations for particular stories.  This TV studio one is a wonder of simmering emotion! 

Who wouldn't want a girl in a gingham playsuit?

This one is very Mad Men.  Agent Triple P loves the candlestick!

Here are a couple of historical illustrations.  The bottom one is Helen of Troy.

This one is all very film noir.  You just know that she is a bad girl.

Bill Theiss, the Star Trek costume designer, once said that the sexiness of a costume was entirely dependent on the extent that it looked like it was about to fall off.

Here is a young girl and an older man.  Father and daughter or man and mistress?

All sorts of power games in this one.  We don't think we would ever risk getting a young lady's attention by pulling at her earring!

This one is called  Now What?  What is going on behind the rocks?

Like the one above it, this one dates also from around 1950 and goes under the title Some Day I'll love you.   It was first published in Colliers magazine which, presumably was not a journal for miners.

A different approach to handling skin tone here in the rather racy The Checkered blanket, also from around 1950.

Even more racy is this breakfast in bed shot from a time when respectable couples all wore nightwear in bed.

It must be hard to concentrate on your book when you have a girl with killer cheekbones clad only in a shirt draping herself around you.

It looks like the start of some frenzied undressing but who is at the door?  Surely not her husband?

Although Smith switched to photography in  the mid-fifties he kept his painting eye in by continuing to do occasional illustrations like these ones from Cosmopolitan from the mid-eighties.  Smith died in 2006 at the age of  88 but his Vancouver-born wife, Sheila Beckett, who was also an illustrator, primarily of children's book and magazines, is still drawing (now using Photoshop!) at the age of 98!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Kissing Venuses 7: by J. Frederick Smith

Here we have a brief sequence from 1975.  A couple of these pictures appeared in the October 1975 issue of Playboy in a pictorial by J. Frederick Smith (1918-2006). Smith was originally a pin-up artist and illustrator before turning to photography and we will look at some of his illustrations shortly, on Venus Observations. At the time that this pictorial was published Penthouse had been pioneering some girl/girl pictorials and Playboy had been cautiously following suit.

This pictorial, however, was far more sensual than anything that Penthouse had published up until that point.  Penthouse had not, for example, shown their girls kissing on the lips like this. Smith's cover shot was also controversial, especially with Playboy's advertisers, who were getting concerned at the magazine's attempts to keep up with Penthouse in terms of explicitness.  It would be one of the contributing factors in Hugh Hefner's retreat from the Pubic Wars with Bob Guccione.

Although the magazine published a couple of letters of appreciation there was also one from someone who said: "I think your pictorial Sappho is in very poor taste.  It's offensive, stupid and immature!  this is supposed to be a men's magazine!  Why must we be subjected to the immoral acts of those stupid girls?  Why don't you leave such material for magazines that cater to homosexuals?"  Interestingly, Playboy, at the time, promised a sequel to this pictorial, scheduled to appear in the February 1976 issue, but it was never published.  The piece in Playboy was accompanied by extracts from Sappho's poetry so Smith and, indeed, Hefner were very much playing the "art" card, which they may have felt they had to given the then perceived illicitness of girl/girl photographs.

Actually, of course, these were rather more than just two girls posing together but was an attempt to actually illustrate lesbian love (or lust).  This is a proper kiss, something that is still quite unusual in girl/girl sets even today, but what makes it, of course is the post kiss shot below.

It is very much the blonde woman who is taking the lead in this sequence; she has the dark-haired one's head held tightly, her hand clasping her jaw.  In the final shot the dark haired one, lipstick all smudged (and how often do you see that in a pictorial such as this?) seems lost in thought as if the kiss has changed her in some way.  It is almost as if some succubus-like energy draining or vampiric possession has taken place.  She is lost to the blonde now.

We first saw these pictures, not in Playboy, but in the book Smith subsequently published the following month and which is probably the first erotic photographs book Triple P's owned.  What is notable about this volume, which features many more very gently erotic photographs of women together, is that in a 158 page picture book the pictures in this post are the only ones of the women actually kissing.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

My Funny Valentine by Stan Malinowski

Penthouse's next couples set was another girl/girl one but it was radically different from anything that they had done before.  It appeared in the February 1976 issue and was photographer Stan Malinowski's first girl./girl set for the magazine.

Taking a very different approach to the likes of Jeff Dunas' and Earl Miller's location-based, soft-focus romanticism he posed his unnamed models in a studio with just a standard studio backdrop and bright, even harsh, lighting. 

This was much closer to "art" erotic photography, which Penthouse did occasionally feature, than their usual conventional couples material.

We will show the pictures in the order they were in the magazine as, unlike some of the couples sets, there is no "story" to follow.

From today's perspective, where virtually every female celebrity seems to have posed in some form of bondage gear (usually to indicate the wish for a change of image) and pop videos are full of the such imagery, this looks fairly mild.  At the time, however, this was radical stuff indeed

The text, as it is, consists of a number of four line verses of poetry (you can see some examples further down) which are very much themed on the idea of one woman inflicting pain on the other.

Unlike all the previous girl/girl sets in Penthouse there was no lovey-dovey "friends who became lovers mush" or, indeed, any suggestion that really the ladies, of course, prefer men, as most of the other girl/girl sets suggested.  So the text is as radical for Penthouse, as the pictures.

The opening text set the scene:

"I love you dear" is awfully nice
When it comes with hearts and flowers:
But there are nights, My Valentine
When I love Love's darker powers.

This was not a bit of light spanking this was full-on S&M gear at a time most people would not even have known such a thing existed.

To include photographs of one woman apparently flogging the other with a whip is a giant leap forward in the magazine's depiction of two women interacting with each other  

The reaction to this pictorial in Penthouse's letters page was universally positive.  "Over the years one may dream to oneself but I wonder how many of us would like to take the place of the dark-haired girl in Penthouse under the name of My funny Valentine?" mused HF, contemplating the excitement of being tied and gagged.

"Quite the best thing I have seen for a long time is My funny Valentine...Damsels in distress are my favourite topic - just girls made helpless not hurt or harmed." added AC from Australia, reassuringly.

"I must congratulate you on your photos of the two girls practising Bondage in the latest edition of Penthouse." wrote Mr AH "They are, without doubt, the best photos I have seen of this type of thing and I have seen a few. The two pictures of the girl hanging by her ankles are amazing.  I would dearly love to obtain a pair of ankle straps."

In the UK edition, from which this letter was taken, Penthouse helpfully  advised that there was a shop called Sex in the King's Road "which stocks all types of leatherwear, rubberwear and glamourwear."  This of course, was the shop run by future famous fashion designer Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren, later manager of the Sex Pistols punk band.

The actual clothing in the pictorial was provided by Centurion Publishing, California.

A student wrote: "I am writing to express my appreciation for the bondage pictorial in your frequently excellent magazine.  Personally, I found it one of the most stimulating pictorials you have ever published.  I sincerely hope that you are going to provide your readers with more photography on this delectable theme in the near future."

This picture (above), and the rest of those in this post are additional  (some are only slightly different) to the ones that appeared in the US Penthouse pictorial.  The UK version of the pictorial was four  pages shorter.

Another reader, JR wrote: "I would like to express my thanks to the ladies featured in My funny Valentine for their happy participation.  The feature has been enacted and photographed with style.  The small insert on page three (from the contents page, the fourth picture from the top) is intriguing.  Please may we see more of this type of photography?"  

"Why not make this type of feature a regular item in your magazine?" asked DB, "I suspect it would double your sales!"  It had been a long time since Penthouse had had quite so many appreciative letters for one of their pictorials and even if you are of the opinion that all the letters were made up by staff members (although we think at least some were still real at this point) Penthouse were obviously keen to push this pictorial. 


Despite all  this, My Funny Valentine did not lead, however, to a slew of bondage-themed pictorials. It is arguable, however, that some of the remaining girl/girl pictorials in 1976 were a little more adventurous in theme and execution than the previous "girls in fields" type so ubiquitous until this feature.

Personally, Agent Triple P has little interest in this form of bondage, although we can appreciate, from a photographer's point of view, the visual aspects of contrasting skin with tight, shiny materials.  For us it just looks too uncomfortable to be fun.  

We have had several girlfriends who liked being tied up and that was a discovery in itself that we, initially, struggled to deal with as we had been brought up (in an essentially female household) to hold women in the utmost respect.  Coming across (so to speak) a girlfriend at college who enjoyed being tied to Triple P's bedstead, whilst we roamed away looking for chocolate for her, was something of an eyeopener.  

A few years later we had a girlfriend who actually used to take us into curtain shops to buy velvet cord which she would co-ordinate with the colour of her lingerie.  She actually enjoyed a bit of a struggle so tying her up became a somewhat invigorating experience; she certainly did not just lie their passively.  She also enjoyed being beaten on the bottom although we never progressed to whips; a wooden ruler was quite sufficient to generate the right effect.  I suppose, that if we had stayed together longer, we may have progressed to more complex clothing and accessories but some of the equipment in these pictures really doesn't look that appealing to Agent Triple P.

So, an interesting experiment by Penthouse but it wouldn't be long (just a month, in fact) until their next girl/girl pictorial which was rather more conventional, although it did, as we shall see shortly, have one novel feature.