Saturday, 20 April 2013

What makes a pin up?

What makes a pin up?

One of the questions we get asked most often, and one that is sometimes tricky to answer, is 'what makes a pin up?' or the closely related question 'how do you become a pin up?'

We could start with the definition of a pin up, but that is extremely broad, essentially a pin up is:

 '.. an image with wide popular cultural appeal that someone 'pins up' for display'

and a pin up model is:

'.. someone whose images achieve wide popular cultural appeal' 

so that dosn't particularly help much.  For instance what does 'wide popular cultural appeal' actually mean? - It seems silly to argue semantics and strict definitions.  As far as we are concerned, we create photographs that are inspired by our love of pin up through the ages, particularly from the 1920s through to the 1950s but also covering the 1960s, maybe the 1970s now and again as well. We hope that others will see these as 'pin ups' but know that everyone has their own tastes.

We will be taking a close look at the history of pin up on our site in the coming weeks, demonstrating just what a wide range of styles and genres have been popular as 'pin up' over the years. Often we find that people have quite a narrow view of what 'pin up' is, usually strongly influenced by the popularity of images by Elvgren and similar pin up artists, these are certainly 'pin up', but there are other styles and genres that also qualify as 'pin up'.

For instance, pin up started with simple publicity shots of performers, issued as photo cards. In the 1910s 'fantasy' scenes became very popular, especially those featuring mermaids as such scenes could legitmately feature scantily clad beauties as 'art' without being too offensive for the time. In the 1920s the painted images of advertising artists began to become popular, such images evolving into the pure 'cheescake' of Elvgren and Vargas that were so popular in the 1950s. Studio shots of the Hollywood starlets were always classed as 'pin up' whatever the era. In the 1940s we had the first mass produced prints and posters featuring a wide range of styles then eventually we have the evolution into more overt styles in the1960s through to the modern day 'pin up' which can be seen in the 'lads mags' such as FHM and Loaded (something we'll always steer well clear of)

At the end of the day, if you like an image of a pretty girl, or a boy, enough to stick it up on your wall to look at every day, then it's pin up.

We'll cover 'how to become a pin up' in another blog entry to come, in the meantime here are just a few shots demonstrating the wide range of styles that we have shot.


  1. I love your blog! <3


    1. Thank you, lots more to come in the coming weeks and months :)