Dallas’ own Melissa Meaow, model, chats about Dallas Burlesque Fest, glamazons, making her much anticipated burlesque debut, and being drunk off decadence.
Interview & Photographs: Shoshana of Through the Looking Glass Studio. MUA/H: LaDonna Hearne Accessories (hats, cuffs, and fascinators): Tara Tonini.
Q: Your portfolio is very diverse, how do you label yourself in the modeling world? [Do you consider yourself a pin-up model, fetish model, fashion model?]
I am extremely versatile — a chameleon. Therefore, I cannot and do not limit myself to labels — everyone has a right to their own opinion of me and I most definitely think my work speaks for itself. I adore the avant-garde and pin-up is always so much fun to do!
Q: When and how did you begin modeling?
I have always loved modeling. As a young girl, I was reading Vogue, Elle, Bazaar. I immediately became obsessed with beauty and fashion. In high school, I started collecting magazines from overseas — a very expensive habit! Now everything is so accessible online, but nothing beats a glossy photo on the page of a fashion magazine. I guess this was my beginning — I was far too shy as a little girl to peruse modeling, so my mother put me in ballet.
In high school, my height (I’m 5’6″) kept me from getting any professional work. My big break was in 2004 — I assisted on photo shoots while working for Toni & Guy and a lot of times stood in for the model while the photographer tested lights, etc. I was dubbed “a natural” and “better than the girl we booked”. It turns out you don’t have to be a glamazon for print work! Also, social media sites like Model Mayhem have really helped me network and grow.
Q: What are your favorite shoots? [Are they based on the fashion, the photographer, the concept? Do you like a certain style more than others?]
Elaborate hair/makeup/wardrobe/set design shoots are always my favorite. I love a concept that brings multiple people together with so much creative juice flowing that everyone is drunk off the decadence — and then it’s all up to you, the model. I love the whole process!
Q: How much collaboration do you do with the photographer from start to finish on a concept?
It all depends on who approaches whom. If a photographer emails me, I know they’ve looked through my portfolio and found I fit a concept they desire. This is not always the case vice versa! If I instigate, then I better have a concept they can use or an idea we can both agree on.
Q: You have a really long list of live modeling credits. How does this compare with print modeling assignments?
I most definitely have more live modeling credits than print! A lot of print work goes through agencies and since I manage myself, the assignments fall off my radar. I hope to do more pin-up print work in the future. It’s always been a personal goal of mine to do a fashion spread as well.
Q: Speaking of live modeling, the first time I ever saw you was the inaugural Dallas Burlesque Fest. Take us back to that event- Feb of last year. What did you anticipate before the event, and how did that compare to the actual event?
Elisa throws awesome events and I was honored she asked for my help! Wrangling the models was fun — getting 10 models and 10 photographers on the same page at the same time, etc was crazy. I think i was the last one in hair/makeup and on stage because I was so busy — but wasn’t it grand? I did not expect a full house with a line around the building — the energy was absolutely incredible that night!
Q: You are coordinating the pin-up model photo shoot aspect of Dallas Burlesque Fest once again this year. What are your plans for this portion of the event? What should the audience of potential shooters expect?
Yes — I’m doing it again this year! Already we’ve had some models and photographers contact us to participate. There will be a pin-up shoot, but we may do three different sets on stage instead of just one. There’s also talk of a lingerie fashion show. I don’t want to give too much away — just be sure to get there early so you don’t miss it!
Q: Okay, so a gal has determined that she’s very pretty. But, being a great model requires so much more. What else should this gal posses to be successful?
Being comfortable in your own skin is key. Self confidence goes a long way — but always be gracious — no matter how bad you think your makeup/hair/photographer are. Everyone knows everyone in this community and word of mouth means more than any photoshopped image in your portfolio. Grace, integrity and punctuality are how I’ve gotten this far.
Q: Let’s talk burlesque for a second. You made your burlesque debut last month at Christmas in Candy Land at The Church. How was that for you?
It was an unforgettable evening! Elisa was a wonderful choreographer and coach – I felt totally comfortable with the routine. A lot of my friends showed up to support me and the other performers were excited about my debut as well. Of course, I was super nervous, but once I stepped on stage, my nerves disappeared and I had so much fun! Needless to say, I cannot wait to to perform at the Crystal Palace show later this month – I am doing more of a traditional burlesque number you must not miss!
Q: Do you have formal dance training?
Yes! I have 20 years of ballet, tap and jazz under my belt – ballet being my most favorite. I’d love to pursue more ballroom, latin and swing in the future.
Q: You are a founding member of the 60′s go-go dancing troupe, The Lollie Dollies. Tell us about its inception and where to find your performances.?
The Lollie Dollies are a 60′s throw-back go-go troupe of 5 lovely ladies that was founded in 2005. We throw dance parties under the name, The Lollipop Shoppe showcasing local bands/djs. We perform every other month, so keep your eyes peeled for flyers! You can also keep up with us at: myspace.com/lollipopdolls and facebook.com/pages/lolli-dollies.
Q: What are your New Year Resolutions for 2010?
More modeling, of course! My goal was 52 shoots last year (I accomplished 46) and I just had my solo burlesque debut at The Church’s Christmas in Candy Land Party! So more dancing too — I’ll be performing at the Crystal Palace Burlesque show as well as the Dallas Burlesque Festival. And I’d love to travel to Austin, Los Angeles and New York to shoot/perform. Finally, I want to get my website up and running — it has been almost five years in the making!
Brooklyn, New York’s Paigey Pumphrey, pin-up and comic book artist extraordinaire sits down to talk Ed Emberley, superheroines, Mary Jane, curvy gals, and sausage fests.
Interview: Shoshana. Illustrations: Paigey. Photograph of artist: Atomic Cheesecake Studios
Q: In your blog, you credit Ed Emberley with teaching you to draw. How serious are you about this claim, or is it more tongue and cheek?
Oh I was indeed serious! Ed Emberley provided me with the foundation for which all my drawing skills have been based on. He taught me at an early age to break down something visually into simple objects to better process them from eye to hand to paper. Without him providing such early guidance I probably would have had a lot of trouble later on with learning basic anatomy and composition. I’m still a hardcore Emberley fan to this day. One of my next tattoos I’m planning to get is the werewolf from his Big Drawing Book of Weirdos. There’s even a documentary currently being filmed about his Make a World book. If there’s a child in your life who has an interest in drawing I highly suggest picking up a book or two of his, they go for pretty cheap and you never know- they might be an investment in that kid’s future.
Q: When did your love of comics begin?
I started out originally wanting to be a Disney animator til about sixth grade when I discovered my brother’s issue of Uncanny X-Men #236. That’s the one from the ‘80s where it opens up with Wolverine and Rogue fighting in Genosha against tons of armed guards — completely naked. Then I had no idea what I was reading, it was a terrible jumping-on point. But it was so exciting and sexy and dramatic and it was like a big budget movie being played out right in my hands. That issue inspired me to delve further into comics, starting with my brother’s stash of X-Men and Conan the Barbarians laying around the house and eventually I started buying and drawing my own comics from 7th grade on.
Q: What have been some of your favorite illustration collaborations to date?
At the risk of sounding corny, I’d have to say my boyfriend, Phil Balsman, aka Ballsy is one of my favorite collaborators. Not only is he a great illustrator, but he also does about 95% of my lettering, typography and title treatments for my pieces. We both attended the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Arts back in 99-01, though back then we were just friends.
A former letterer for DC Comics and now an Art Director/Designer for Del Rey manga, he creates the perfect marriage of type to my pictures. We started working together about a year into going out on a series of old EC-style comic covers that were used in group art shows. I’ll create a ‘cover illustration’ based on that criteria, then Ballsy will come in and do the title block and any word balloons or sound effects. There’s few people if any I have that complete of a trust with regarding my artwork, he is definitely one of them.
Q: How does your love of comics translate to pin-ups?
I’ve always had a fascination with drawing pretty girls. My definition of ‘pretty girls’ however has changed throughout the years, it’s evolved from generic spandex-clad superheroine to straight up heroin chic through my teens and twenties to the plumper, softer, bubblier girls I draw now. I think it has to do with what artists look to for inspiration.
When I was drawing nothing but superheroes, that was because that was all I was reading and for the most part the only artwork I was exposed to that caught my interest. This was also during the big 90′s comic book boom when everyone was drawing more ‘extreme’ than the next guy and female points of view in the comic realm were so much harder to find. Then I drew these super-skinny, miserable-looking heroin chic girls in the late 90′s, when I started getting my influences from fashion and club culture, especially raves, gothic industrial clubs and Gregg Araki movies.
I think it’s always been that I draw the kind of girl I’d want to live vicariously through. Now it’s these perpetually giddy girls with hips and thighs and tummies and smiles that are dancing and eating bon bons and having a great old time. The stuff I do now seems to make people happy. When I see people flip through my art book or portfolio they’re always smiling, and I like seeing that.
Q: You now have a resin figurine Miss Mary Jane, obviously inspired by a love for pot and pin-up, available via pre-order through Patch Together. This super cute figure even wears a plastic baggy inspired hoodie! Explain the process from sketchbook to completed toy available for purchase.
Miss Mary Jane started out in 2007 as a little doodle I sketched out during lunch at my day job shortly after I moved to New York. I used to smoke ALOT, about 3-4 years ago and had kicked the idea around in my head for awhile. And it just came out one day, and I took it to finishes and it became one of the more popular pieces in my portfolio. A girl back in Maryland even got her tattooed on her arm.
It’s always a bit of a ‘test’ with those who see it, as it’s about a 60-40 split between those who think she’s a broccoli girl/ the Jolly Green Giant’s wife and those who realize she’s a girl made out of weed. It’s kind of like my little test to see who’s a stoner. Though as soon as anyone realized she’s a weed girl everything starts falling into place- the green tint to her skin, the hair texture, the plastic baggy hoodie with the multicolored seal/zipper.
I entered her into Patch Together’s ongoing design contest primarily for shits and giggles. I’m a big fan of Miss Monster and have both her Foo Dog and Tentatiger toys, and thought I’d give a shot submitting and thought nothing of it. I was accepted and started getting votes and after it was approved for preorder I was all ‘Oh crap- this is real now.’
Seeing my artwork interpreted as a 3D sculpture and ultimately having my own toy out on the market is so surreal and awesome at the same time, and this is definitely not the last collaboration I plan on doing with Patch Together. The journey of making Miss Mary Jane into a toy has been a tremendous learning experience. The sculptor I worked with- Miller, has done an amazing job and had nothing less than the utmost patience with my 8 million revisions going back and forth. Kudos and high fives all around!
Q: Roller derby, pin-up, and burlesque seem to be reoccurring themes in your comic book characters. All three have experienced cult revivals over the past five years. What is it about these particular muses that have you so captivated?
I think that all three are so inspiring to me. Roller derby because I love the names and personas those involved all have. I insist on calling those involved by their derby names, mostly because they’re easier to remember, but also cuz it’s so damn cool. It’s like knowing a superhero.
It’s also a great jumping-off place as an artist to get recognized locally for your talents. My first derby experience was the inaugural bout Charm City Roller Girls in Baltimore and was inspired. I started emailing them, offering my artistic services and would show up to practices for impromptu life drawing. I started doing portraits of all the first season lineups, which got me some recognition in the Baltimore art scene and the beginnings of my portrait commission business. I owe a lot to them for helping me launch my artistic career.
Pin-up was a natural transition from my time going to comic book and anime conventions as a fan and taking part in ‘cosplay’, where I and several other girls I knew would dress up in homemade costumes of different characters and run around the con floor getting our pictures taken. I was actually getting pictures taken of myself in pinup style before it dawned on me to draw like that as well. Once I started drawing my girls cuter and bubblier people really started taking notice, and my work was progressively more well-received.
It was then I found my artistic niche and I’ve been running with it ever since. With burlesque, I was only recently introduced to this amazing subculture a little over a year ago, shortly after I moved to New York City. I barely knew anything about it until I moved here, let alone that there was a whole revival. I think my first real exposure to it was through Dr Sketchy’s Anti Art School, which is a life-drawing session in a bar with a burlesque performer as a model. I was blown away, I started going to shows, making friends with performers.
Now I can’t get enough! I love it, it’s so appealing to me on so many levels. I’ve even taken a few classes at NY School of Burlesque. If I had more time between drawing and my day job I’d be up on stage myself.
Q: You spend a lot of time on the comic book circuit. Is it still a male dominated scene, or are female artists more prevalent now?
It’s getting better, but there’s still a pretty strong ‘sausage party’ vibe, which can work both for and against you when you’re female. If you play your cards right you can definitely get a little extra attention from passerby in the Artist Alleys section of the con, where the up-and-comers usually hang out and hock their wares. I always dress up for conventions, so I can work as basically my own ‘booth babe’.
Instead of the fans talking to a paid representative of said company/artist, they actually get to talk to the artist herself, being me. Plus with my 6+ years of retail experience I feel I get the best response from customers and hopeful future fans when I’m standing at their level, making eye contact and greeting them as they enter my ‘store’, aka the front of my booth.
There’s so many times going to comic cons as a fan that I’ve found myself in Artist Alley and have a whole ‘Don’t look in their eyes!’ moment. I hate when artists are pushy pitchmen over their work. I’ve left Artist Alley way too many times as a fan with books and ashcans and such I didn’t even want in the first place, but was guilted into buying or taking, and I end up throwing them away only days later.
As an artist, I try to just be friendly and personable, and barely even mention my work, even though it’s displayed all around my table. I let my work speak for itself, and I only talk about it to folks that seem interested. As it should be, I’d much rather 20 people take my card of their own free will with them back to their house than see 100 cards I’ve pushed on people ending up on the floor or trash can.
Q: What does the future hold for Paigey?
In the next year I’m hoping to hit at least 5 east coast comic conventions between Baltimore and New York. The plan is to do as many cons as I can on the east coast that I don’t need a hotel room or crazy travel expenses for. And since I live in Brooklyn and my folks live in Baltimore I’ve got a nice centralized area to work within the con circuit.
Hopefully, all that will be able to pay for me to head out to the BIG one, San Diego Comiccon, in 2011. I recently joined up with an art collective called Girls Drawin’ Girls, a group of 40+ all-female pin-up and girlie artists, primarily based out of southern California. Through them, I’ve been able to get some much-needed west coast exposure and they have a table at SDCC every year that I’ll work at when I go.
I also plan on doing more toys through Patch Together, including an original roller girl character I created and hopefully I’ll have enough material to release a new artbook by the end of 2010.
“Comics, Commissions and Camaraderie!”
You can view more of Paigey’s work at www.theartofpaigey.blogspot.com
We asked three highly successful pin-up photographers to share their tips and tricks for getting great pin-up images. We compiled the list into the best Pin-Up Posing Tips you’ll find anywhere. Everyone from pin-up virgins to semi-pro models will find useful tips and tricks in this handy guide.
Roy Varga, California
Varga started back in 2004 as something fun to do on a boring Sat morning, He had the bright idea to shoot his friends along with himself in the retro style he loves with a bit of attitude, you can still find that shoot in his gallery today. From that innocent action of fighting boredom it started him on a track that would quickly snow ball into what is Varga today. Varga now travels to 24 locations across the U.S. including Hawaii offering Pin-Up shoots and has been published in over 22 magazines and 3 books, As well as producing his annual Varga Calendar. Labeled “The Hardest working Man in Pin-up” Varga continues to produce eye-catching work and plans to for as long as he can push that button.
Stacey Barich, Atomic Cheesecake Studios, Baltimore
Stacey Barich is a self-trained pin-up photographer, vintage hair guru, make-up artist and owner of Atomic Cheesecake Studios. Her journey of transforming girls next door into sirens of the past began in October of 2006.
As an artist she celebrates the subtle sexuality of pin-up; as a woman she embraces her feminine wiles. Armed with a tube of red lipstick, snug pencil skirt, devastatingly high heels, she’s on a one-woman mission to bring glamour and sex-appeal to the yoga-pants set. If there’s any message she’s passionate about it’s that modern girls should discover that their sexual power is their greatest asset.
Shoshana, Through the Looking Glass Studio, Dallas
After receiving her BA in Photography, Shoshana pursued many different genres before finding her love for pin-up. What started out as a gift of a sexy vintage photo shoot for a friend to send to her deployed husband, became a full-time obsession. She went on to found Through the Looking Glass in 2008 and loves the studio’s mission of helping to raise the self-esteem of women everywhere, while embracing the fact that a wink and a smile is hands down sexier than thongs and low-rise jeans any day of the week.
And now, onto the tips…
- 1. Groom yourself like you’re going on your honeymoon weekend. Shave anything that needs shaving, wax what needs waxing, tweeze, trim, etc. Also don’t forget to touch up your roots! It’s likely that you’ll be up close and personal with your photographer, stylist and make-up crew so good prep means you can relax knowing nobody is staring at your fuzzy bikini line.
- 2. Don’t forget your nails! Have well trimmed and shaped toenails and fingernails, trim and moisturize those cuticles, and paint your nails. If you have an aversion to polish- and least do a clear coat on all twenty digits.
- 3. If you want to wear a garter belt and stockings, avoid anything that is designed to “stay up” on its own. Rubberized “thigh highs” and “stay ups” can make even the most toned thighs look like sausage. There are lots of online retailers that specialize in classic stockings that won’t bind your legs. Also, if you have less than toned thighs, a good trick is to find some completely sheer “sheer to waist” pantyhose as a foundation. (Make sure they are not control top! A good choice- Sheer Energy Sheer to Waist- they have the green stripe on the box.) The pantyhose will make your legs looks great, and then you can pull the stockings over them to have the stocking look with toned upper thigh.
- 4. It’s all in the face! Pin-Ups are all about facial expression & personality. Find your personal “pin-up personality”. Are you smoldering and sexy? Cute and playful? Figure it out and spend some real time in front of the mirror finding out what expressions are best for you. Do what comes comfortably and most natural and your pictures will show that. We can always tell who has practiced faces before the shoot, and even a little practice means better pictures.
- 5. While you’re at it, practice poses you’ve seen in classic pin-ups, or modern pin-up photos you admire. Have a friend/lover/family member shoot you with a point and shoot or even a camera phone. The quality of the image will suck, but you’ll be able to see if you nailed a flattering pose or not. This way, when you get to your professional shoot, you’ll be sure and get your money’s worth!
- 6. Take some time to tell your photographer about what you see as your biggest assets and problem areas. It helps them choose poses and angles to hide what you don’t like, and show off what you do. A good photographer should be able to pose for just about anything.
- 7. Mention any moles, birthmarks, scars that you are self conscious about. The photographer doesn’t know whether you consider your mole a “beauty mark” or a “flaw”, so be specific about what you want wiped out in Photoshop.
- 8. Understand that you “Get What You Pay For”. If you want good, professional-looking shots for your portfolio, expect to pay a professional that has proven results if you want to build a great portfolio. Same is true for make-up and hair. If the photographer doesn’t provide these services, take the time to find a good MUAH artist that can take care of you. Bad styling makes for bad photos.
- 9. Photoshop is a tool, not a miracle worker! The misconceptions of Photoshop drive me nuts! Photoshop is a tool to create certain effects, create an image entirely (like with green screen shoots), or to fix minor flaws. If a “photographer” offers to fix exposure or lighting in Photoshop — find another photographer. This is just a bad cover for their lack of lighting experience and knowledge.
Over photoshopped images is also a huge pet peeve of mine — images with total lack of clarity are just not quality images. You want an image of an enhanced you — not someone unrecognizable. If you want a painting — get a painter. You should be realistic — do not expect to lose 20 years or 20 pounds through Photoshop. Expect a beautiful image of the true you.
- 10. Make a CD or bring a loaded MP3 player with all of your favorite songs. Have the photographer play it while you pose. It will help you relax and have more fun.
- 11. Always have double stick tape. This will help keep clothing where it should be while providing maximum cleavage.
- 12. Be on time, but not more than 15 min early. Photographers usually have tight shooting schedules. By arriving late, you are cheating yourself out of time. By arriving early, you are cheating someone else.
- 13. Don’t be afraid to be over dramatic, and really ham it up. Those “cheesy” ones are very often the best.
- 14. When posing, try to keep your tongue firmly glued to the roof of your mouth. This will slim your face, and cut down on the double chin.
- 15. Always, always, always point your toes! Your feet should never be at a 45 degree angle. Pointing your toes adds grace, while elongating and emphasizing the shape of your legs.
- 16. On the same note pay close attention to your hands and keep them soft. Imagine you are holding a raw egg in the palm of your hand, and keep the hands soft and graceful. Study ballet hand positions. Nothing ruins a great shot like hard and sharp angles or fists with the hands.
- 17. If the costuming is not provided- make sure you have a matching set of lingerie that fits well. Try on what you are bringing ahead of time. It really sucks when people show up with things they haven’t worn in years, or brand new stuff they haven’t worn before — and get all dressed up — just to hate the way the clothing fits them.
On the subject of wardrobe — there is a huge difference between a quality corset with steel or animal boning, and a cheap plastic off the rack clearance item. A quality corset will enhance your bust, and slim your waist dramatically. A cheap “corset” will just make your torso into an unflattering box shape.
- 18. Create lots of angles with your body without pointing a joint to the camera. Never point elbows, knees, or armpits directly to the camera; this is extremely unflattering. Instead create angles where these joints are pointing away from the camera.
- 19. When doing those “staring off to the side shots” stare into the photographers strobe light (softbox, umbrella, whatever) but not past it. The light will brighten your eyes and be flattering. If you look further than the light, not only will your eyes be dull and dark, but you’ll show too much of the whites of your eyes, giving a zombie effect.
- 20. Trust your photographer. If you’ve taken the time to research and choose someone because of their reputation and portfolio, don’t insult them by telling them how to do their job. We do this to make you look awesome, and nothing is more frustrating than a client who won’t let us use our experience and training to give you the best possible outcome.
Vol. I: Almost Everything You Need to Know About Copyright Law Regarding Photography
After receiving a degree in photography, and taking an entire year in photo business and law, I thought I knew all the answers to folks copyright questions regarding images. Then I started receiving a ton of questions that I couldn’t answer, so I started researching for this article. I was surprised to learn how much the laws regarding copyright and case law on the subject favors the photographer almost always. I found very few situations in which the models had any rights at all, and in the cases that swung in the model’s favor, it was because no photo release was present. After visiting more than 100 websites, reading four books on image copyright, and reviewing case law on the subject, I think I finally scratched the surface on some of your copyright questions, even though there are a million shades of gray in the law.
This is a small sampling of what I gathered in my research, it is a tool, and I have catered it to the burlesque/pin-up industry. Understand that I am not a lawyer, and as such am not qualified to give legal advice, and this article should not be taken as legal advice. For specific advice on your particular situation, contact a copyright attorney. To find a lawyer in good standing with the State Bar of Texas, visit their website. You can research any lawyer’s name in the state from there, and you are looking for someone who specializes in copyright law, and has no ethics violations, suspensions, or other black marks on their record.
Copyright Myths Verses Facts
Myth: The work doesn’t have a copyright notice, and the photographer did not officially file a copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office, so the work isn’t copyrighted.
Fact: This was true in the past, but today all major nations follow the Berne Copyright Convention. In the US, almost everything created privately and originally after April 1, 1989 is copyrighted and protected whether it has a notice or not.
Myth: I hired the photographer, and I bought the photographs or images, so they are mine. I can do whatever I want with them.
Fact: When you purchase a CD of images or prints of yourself from a professional photographer, you are buying the images for personal use only. Depending on your agreement with the photographer (which you should always have in writing) this may mean anything from you may look at them whenever you wish, to you may make prints to hang in your home, or maybe even publish them to you social networking pages.
Personal use does not include, you the model, selling the images (as in to autograph at shows, etc) or submitting them to publications. You must have the photographer’s written permission to publish the images anywhere or to sell them.
Myth: I, the model, did the shoot TFP so I may use them anywhere.
Fact: Trade for Print is defined as a shoot where no money is exchanged. The photographer and model simply work together to produce images they can both use to enhance their portfolios. These exchanges should always be accompanied by a TFP Agreement that outlines what each party is going to get from the shoot. In most cases, these images may be used by both the model and photographer in both their print and online portfolios, but the images may not be used by the model for any other reason. Selling these images commercially (to sell a product or service), selling them to fans, or submitting them to publications is prohibited unless stated otherwise in the contract. The photographer maintains copyright on all images taken.
Myth: As the photographer, I may publish my images anywhere I choose.
Fact: Unless you have a legally binding, well written, and signed model release you are dead in the water. You may not publish the images anywhere — even in online portfolios — without a model release. With a quality model release however, you may do almost anything you wish with the images.
Myth: I am the photographer, and I have a model release from the subject, so I may do whatever I want with the images.
Fact: Be extremely careful that you are using a professionally written, legally binding model release. If there are any holes in the wording of your release, you may end up in legal trouble.
If your model release is air tight, well written, and legally binding, this statement is true. A girl who came in to get a pin-up shoot for her husband, could, in theory, end up selling soda on images on grocery store shelves. This is why it is imperative that you read a model release carefully. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen some girl sign a contract when she hasn’t read a single word of it. Read your model release carefully- it is the photographer’s golden ticket.
Myth: I may shoot live events anywhere that is public, or where I have purchased a ticket.
Fact: It is true that you may photograph anyone in any public spaces. However, “public spaces” are very limited. Public parks, sidewalks, and roads are certainly permissible, unless you become a public nuisance. However, private clubs, theaters, homes, yards, are all private property. Purchasing a ticket to an event, does not mean you may shoot there. In all cases, you may be removed from private property at the owner’s discretion. In some cases, this may be the owner of the venue him/herself, in other cases it may be the producer of the show as the person who has contracted the venue for the night. The safest bet — always ask permission, and certainly stop shooting if asked — however, never surrender your camera, memory cards, or film. Know your photographer’s rights.
Myth: I had permission to shoot an event, therefore I may sell images of the models/performers that performed at that event.
Fact: This is one of those areas where there are many shades of gray, and many places where the law is open to interpretation- so tread lightly. Commercial sale (i.e. selling a photo of a performer to fans) is not permissible without a model release. Generally speaking, what is permissible is the publication of those images in newspapers (online and print) and magazines (online and print) of what may be deemed as “newsworthy events”. However, there is a lot of room to challenge what is “newsworthy” and what is a violation of privacy, so you should seek an attorney’s professional advisement on a case by case basis if you feel your rights are violated.
Myth: I have the copyright, but someone else is misusing my images on MySpace. Since MySpace is so vast, there’s nothing I can do.
Fact: The MySpace Terms and Agreements contract that everyone must agree to when you become a member of MySpace specifically prohibits the misuse of copyrighted material. If you feel your images, music, or other copyrighted material are being ripped off, email firstname.lastname@example.org with the details of the infringement.
Myth: Someone has broken the law by stealing my idea.
Fact: You cannot copyright an idea, only the expression of that idea.
This requires a bit of explanation. For example, if you told someone about an idea you had, and they ripped it off — you are out of luck. You can only copyright something tangible, like an image, not the idea in your head for an image.
However, what most people mean when they say they were ripped off, is that someone has copied an image they have taken. It has been said that all the good ideas are taken, and in pin-up and burlesque we are often looking into the past for images to replicate. When we are inspired greatly by a piece, and do a version of that work it is known as a Derivative Work. The US Copyright Office has specific laws pertaining to Derivative Works. However, there is a fine line between being “inspired by” someone else’s work, doing an “homage” to someone else’s work, and flat ripping them off.
Very generally speaking, if the work is obviously inspired by another work, and you do a new interpretation of that work, rather than an exact copy, you are usually safe. If you do an exact copy, you could be in legal trouble. The guidelines for what is a duplicate and what is an adaptation of an original photograph are very gray and open to interpretation. Basically, it is up to the original copyright owner to make that determination, then they would send a Cease and Desist or sue you, at which point you must defend your image in court- and it is up to the courts to decide if there has indeed been a copyright infringement.
Example 1: The iconic image of Betty Page hanging an ornament on a Christmas tree. You know the one. Many modern pin up photographers have done an exact duplicate of this photograph. Could Bunny Yeager (the photographer) sue you? Sure, she could. Would she win? Maybe. If she does win, what happens, how much do owe her in damages? That is completely speculative and up to the courts to decide.
In a recent case pop star Madonna was sued by the estate of photographer Guy Boudin, for copyright infringement. (Read ripping off his photos and emulating them in her Hollywood video.) The case was not the first time Madonna has been sued for copyright infringement, and this case was settled out of court for a presumably hefty sum.
Example 2: You just did a circus themed photo shoot, another competing photographer does a circus theme a few months later, but the theme and maybe a few other minor details is all they have in common, resulting in totally different photographs. Are you a victim of being “ripped off”? No. The best advice, is to get over it and just make sure your images are the best they can be. You cannot copyright an idea.
Example 3: A magazine approaches you do purchase an image you have done. They find your price too high, and hire a cheaper photographer to do an exact duplicate of that photograph. Do you have any recourse? It depends. First you have to find a lawyer who will take your case, fork over the cash for representation, and then prove they completely ripped you off.
Myth: A magazine published my photographs, then sold them to another magazine. They informed me that once they run the image, they own copyright.
Fact: Copyright always remains with the photographer, unless the explicitly sell off their rights through contract.
Be careful when signing any and all contracts. Here are some terms to know:
When the word “first” is placed in front of other rights it simply means that the entity purchasing these rights gets to publish/use the image BEFORE anyone else who has purchased license rights. There is usually a waiting period (30-90 days is standard) before you can publish them anywhere else.
Serial rights apply to magazines. This means that the magazine is licensing the right to use the image in magazine format. In other words, if you sell serial rights to magazine A you can’t sell licensing rights to magazine B as well (unless you only sell “FIRST” rights – then you can sell more rights later).
Watch out for this clause. Non-exclusive rights can be a reasonable license to sell but they can also be a quick way to lose the use of your image. Non-exclusive rights mean that the licenser has a specific set of rights at the same time someone else has them as well. The problem is that this clause is usually followed with a large amount of specific rights and many companies use this type of clause to allow them to reprint and resell your work on their own.
One Time Use Rights
One time use means that the entity buying the license can use your image “one time”, for one specified project. They are easy to manage, and often preferred by photographers.
Want to read more on all subjects pertaining to copyright and images? Here are some great resources:
- ASMP Professional Business Practices in Photography
- The Professional Photographer’s Legal Handbook
- Legal Handbook for Photographers: The Rights and Liabilities of Making Images
- Getting Permission: How to License and Clear Materials Online and Off
- ASMP (American Society of Media Photographers) Official Website
- US Copyright Office Official Website
Have a little extra time on your hands during the cold winter months spent inside? Check out our list of Pin Curl Magazine’s Top Five Vintage Movie Picks for Winter.
2010. Produced by and Starring Immodesty Blaize
The mighty Immodesty Blaize has done it again in her documentary of The Tease Show which was a smashing success in Europe. One of the most famous modern burlesque performers Miss Blaize is featured throughout the film, as well as performances and interviews with the biggest names in modern burlesque including: Perle Noire, Kalani Kokonuts, Dirty Martini, Michelle L’Amour, Catherine D’Lish, and Kitten D’Ville.
Burlesque Undressed chronicles the history of burlesque from its European roots to its American Revival. Also included in the film are interviews with burlesque legends Dixie Evans, Satan’s Angel, Lily Ann Rose, and The First Lady of Burlesque April March.
Burlesque Undressed is now in theaters in Europe, and will be available on DVD there in February. Which begs the question — but what about the American fans? Glad you asked! Dallas will be home to the U.S. film premier! We are proud to announce the U.S. film debut of Burlesque Undressed, as well as live burlesque performances by some of the top stars in the film including Immodesty Blaize will take place in Dallas in March and is presented by none other than Pin Curl Magazine!
Watching all the talent, glitz, and feathers is a high definition spectacle not to be missed (not to mention Immodesty Blaize’s first ever performance in Texas!)
I’m No Angel
1933. Starring Mae West and Cary Grant
Nominated for Best Picture in its day, I’m No Angel may be the legendary Mae West’s best film ever. The story of famous glamorous shimming side show performer turned lion tamer, this is a brilliant woman chasing her dream story. Curveballs are thrown at her when she falls in love with a man, only to have her ex interfere, but she wants it all — and she gets it.
Some Like It Hot
1959. Starring Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, and Jack Lemmon
This Oscar-winning film, finds two struggling musicians running from the mob. In order to avoid being killed, they dress in drag and join an all girl band, but things get complicated when one of the musicians falls for a female band mate. This comedic thriller is sure to become a favorite!
The Notorious Bettie Page
2006. Starring Gretchen Mol
While Bettie fans give this film mixed reviews, it did earn two SAG nominations and is well worth a watch. This film focuses on a side of Bettie few knew, the innocent, naïve country gals that she was. Chronicling her life from her very first shoot to her legal battle, which all but forcefully removed her from modeling, this film strives to give an accurate pictorial of the Notorious Bettie Page.
**There is also a new Bettie Page documentary in the works. This one claims to be an authorized biography, made with Bettie’s full cooperation. For more info and projected release dates, visit the official site Bettie Page Reveals All.**
A Wink and a Smile
2009. Produced by and Starring Indigo Blue
This film documents the lives of ten ordinary women, as they enroll in and complete Miss Indigo Blue’s Burlesque training course. With performances, clips, and interviews from almost all of the heavy hitters in Seattle’s current burlesque scene, this is a show every fan of neo-burlesque should see.
By: Hella Goode
Maybe my next piece should be the history of gossip and misconceptions. It appears that Amelia Bloomer is not the inventor of bloomers. I repeat, Amelia Bloomer did not invent Bloomers. A woman named Elizabeth Smith Miller did in the late 1840’s to early 1850’s. So then why does Amelia Bloomer get all the credit?
Amelia Bloomer did not create the first pair of bloomers, but she does get credit for publicizing them and making this free-legged step toward comfortable women’s clothing more available to ladies. Today we choose to wear dresses, but in Bloomer’s time, there was no other choice if one wanted to be considered a lady. Really the only alternative to being a ‘lady’ was to be considered a whore, regardless of a woman’s actual value or virtue. Such scandalous debate on women’s behavior became tied to Amelia’s name, most likely due to her writings for the feminist-reform magazine, Lily, referred to as ‘bloomerism.’ What is interesting is that the most concern was taken for middle-class women. After all, lower class women were a lost cause and upper class women were, well, classy and untouchable, above the influence of such immorality. Or so it was thought.
Stranger also, was that, what today is considered more scandalous, women not wearing any undergarments at all, was the norm before bloomers. They were so covered in ‘overgarments’ that there really was no need for the invention of panties until later.
The first bloomers, full-length puffy pants that were worn under knee-length skirts, were likely inspired by designs of the Eastern world. Women of the Orient were already wearing pants, some of which are similar to belly dancing traditional ‘harem’ pants and other styles out of Turkey. Yet these women were not being pestered for suddenly having the opportunities to move freely in their clothing such as the men, or not carry around 30 or more pounds of extra weight with each day’s dress. It seemed obvious that women’s dress was limiting for a reason, and it was to keep them in their place.
Although American women everywhere expressed their desires for more rights such as the right to vote, the right to property ownership, and to divorce, they worried that dressing too radically might jeopardize their other battles and be too much of a distraction from their main causes. So, many chose to keep wearing the traditional dress.
In the midst of this fight, bicycles were becoming a popular mode of transportation. This was disturbing to many as it would allow women the ability to find their way around. Who knows where they might end up and under what influence? They also worried that the physicality of the bicycle would lead women to become lesbians or even to masturbate. Many thought they were better off trapped in their dresses.
Whoever would have guessed that the straw that broke the camel’s back (who was wearing harem pants) for resistors would be upper class women who embraced this new fashion in order to be able to use the bicycle, even Queen Victoria herself. Aha, so when royalty does it, it becomes fashionable. Hear this, modern day royalty, give us something new…
3 oz orange juice
1 oz champagne
In tall flute glass, first pour orange juice, then champagne. Do not stir — you’ll lose the bubbles!
6 oz Champagne
.5 oz port
.5 oz cognac
Pour champagne, then port and cognac. Do not stir! Add rose petals allowing some to sink to the bottom.
Pom Pom Champagne Cocktail
1 shot pomegranate juice
1 shot pomegranate liquor
6 oz Champagne
In tall flute first add all things pomegranate, and then top with champagne.
1 peach, pureed (or 3 shots of peach nectar)
6 oz Champagne
First peach, then champagne. Serve in tall flute.
Notorious Model and Performer Angela Ryan graces the very first Best Of Pin Curl print edition, and sits down with editor Shoshana to discuss fashion, kindergarten, modeling mistakes, and a world without MySpace. Angela Ryan will be signing copies of our inaugural print issue at our Issue Release Party at Gifts and Garters on Dec 5th.
Interview & Photographs: Shoshana of Through the Looking Glass Studio
Q: What’s on your Christmas list this year?
Designer shoes and lingerie will always make me squeal with delight, but on the practical side I would love a new laptop and some new photo editing programs though.
Q: You began modeling before MySpace. How did you get you start?
I started back in 2001 working with a photographer friend and when I got enough photos I started a Yahoo Group. My fan base there grew and I started planning trips to other cities to shoot with well known photographers when I could. I was a cocktail waitress and worked retail and was miserable so I decided that I needed a change. I quit my jobs and started modeling full time in 2004. Luckily, it was the right decision! I love my job now!
Q: How have MySpace/FaceBook/Twitter changed the industry?
I credit MySpace with the real launch of my career. I signed up in 2003 and I don’t know where I would be without it! Social networking sites have changed the way you can promote yourself and make you accessible to millions of people. It’s much easier to make a name for yourself these days. On the down side, since anyone can make a profile claiming to be a “model” it saturates the industry with people who might not take it as a seriously as someone who solely models for a living. You still have to be creative in the way you market yourself to make sure you stand out. Since new sites pop up all the time you really have to be on top of the networking trends.
Q: You refer to yourself as a fetish and pin-up model. There seems there is a lot of crossover between the two in the industry. Are fetish and pin-up completely separate beasts, or do they go hand in hand?
I think for the most part they are separate but they definitely have some common interests. Traditional wardrobe pieces like fully fashioned stockings, garter belts, girdles, and high heels are staples in both
worlds. Many of the top fetish designers now recreate retro looks in latex that many pinup models wear. Bettie Page paved the way to make being both pinup AND fetish more acceptable. I have a love for both and I’m glad I don’t have to choose one above the other!
Q: Who are your favorite fashion designers right now?
For high fashion it’s Alexander McQueen, latex by House of Bias, corsets by Jupiter Moon, and lingerie by Agent Provocateur.
Q: You recently got into the design business yourself, with the Angela Ryan Signature Necklace by Heart Sized Crush. How did this come about. Tell us a little of the design process?
Heart Sized Crush made an adorable necklace for my good friend Devil Doll to sell on her tour. I fell in love with it and she suggested I contact them about making one for me. Since this was my first time designing anything it took a few drafts to come up with the perfect necklace but they were super easy to work with and very patient with me!
Q: In addition to the ton of modeling work, you are also an accomplished performer. How would you categorize your shows?
Burlesque with a fetish twist! I try to blend traditional with modern and always keep it sassy and unexpected! My choreographer Eric Hall works diligently with me on challenging myself technically and creatively and pushing boundaries!
Q: What are the top three mistakes young models and burlesque performers make?
Being unprofessional, caring too much what other people think, and working for less than they are worth. You have to use your mistakes as learning experiences.
Q: What did you want to be when you were in kindergarten?
Madonna. Seriously. That’s who I was every year for Halloween as a kid. I wanted to be a rock star. I still pretend I am sometimes. lol.
For more of the Angela Ryan Interview with tons of unseen photos, grab the Best of Pin Curl 2009 edition. You can purchase in our shop or even better-get an autographed copy at the Issue Release Party on Dec 5th!
Pin-Up icon Bernie Dexter, who has graced the pages of Playboy Magazine as well as been called the Queen of Pin-Ups by BLID Entertainment, takes time out of her busy moving schedule to discuss music, nerves, and her clothing line for Lucy B.
Miss Dexter did her interview exclusively for the Best of Pin Curl 2009 issue available in our online shop or at the Issue Release Party at Gifts and Garters on Dec 5th. You’ll have to grab a copy to get the full interview and tons of unseen photos, but with it being the holiday season and all, we thought we’d gift you a sneak peak.
An Except of the Bernie Dexter Interview
Interview: Shoshana. Photo: Levi Dexter
Q: What are three songs that are in heavy rotation on your MP3 player right now?
That Certain Female Charlie Feathers, Snake Eyed Mama by Levi Dexter & Steve Hooker, & Frankie’s Got Quiff by Batmobile
Q: When was your first pin-up photo shoot?
My first professional shoot was for Space Cowgirls. I remember walking in & seeing the make-up artist. She was a cool girl I knew from the rockabilly scene and I was so embarrassed! I remember telling her not to tell anyone she saw me there! Hehehe!
Q: How has the industry and “the scene” changed since you then?
At the time when I started it was a very small. There were only a hand full of girls and I thought they were so amazing. Carina Acevedo, Lana Landis & Nancy from Glamour Lux were my faves. I do not think these girls even model anymore. I never see them anymore. The scene is so huge now! It is great to see it grow.
Q: You Bernie Dexter for Lucy B line of lingerie has been getting quite a lot of attention. How did this partnership begin?
I had been hired to do modeling for Michelle of Lucy B. We really got a long and she would ask me to fly to New York to do the lingerie shows with her. We realized we both *love* vintage lingerie & had extensive vintage lingerie collections. One day she just asked me. It was always a dream of mine to have my own line of lingerie! Lucy B. made it happen.
Q: If 100 years from now, there is a Bernie Dexter legacy, what would you like that legacy to be?
If I leave any legacy at all I hope it will be to inspire young girls and women to be fit, healthy, and smile!
Corset designer Jennifer Gonzalez of Jupiter Moon 3 talks shop discussing corsets, time management, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, and evolution.
Q: What’s the story behind the name- Jupiter Moon 3?
It’s a long story. When I was starting out part time, as a hobbyist, I went through several company names. Nothing ever felt right, and nothing stuck. But all of the names I came up with had something to do with planets, I’m not sure why. I was “Triptych Moon” for a short while, then “Eight Thirty and Earth” after an exciting Burning Man experience in 1999. Then one night, in 2002, I had a dream that I was on Jupiter with my family. I looked out at the horizon, as the sun was setting behind me, and in the sky I saw nine of Jupiter’s moons cascading in each others partial eclipse, one behind the other, in a sort of orange-yellow spiral. It’s the most beautiful thing I have ever dreamed up! I need to paint that some day! Why I chose to add the “3″ is a mystery to me. It’s my lucky number, maybe that’s why. However, I may drop the 3 eventually, people rarely know it’s part of the name.
Q: Tell us about the early days of Jupiter Moon 3, how did you get your start?
My mom taught me to sew at an early age. But when it came to corsets, I had to start almost from scratch. I think it was fate; I was a poor starving artist! I couldn’t afford to buy a corset. I was going to college at the time in the Bay Area in California when I got started, in 1997. I fell in love with Romantasy corsets in San Francisco, and couldn’t afford to indulge. But I was determined to have a corset, so I started creating my own patterns for simple waist cinchers, it was more affordable. Gradually I moved on to more intricate underbusts and overbusts. It was a difficult process, and it took me many years to perfect. I’m still perfecting my designs, it’s a never ending process.
Q: How did you take your corset making business from a hobby to your full time job?
When I started making corsets and costumes, my designs caught the eye of my friends. A few of them placed orders with me, then friends of friends, then people who heard of me through word of mouth. After I moved to Texas in 2000, I started selling as a very part time income, just for fun. I never thought I could make a career out of it. After I started selling online in early 2004, my designs were selling like hotcakes, and I was able to make Jupiter Moon 3 my full time career. I was almost forced to; I was receiving so many orders, I didn’t have time for a “regular” job anymore!
Q: The rewards are often obvious, but what are some of the biggest challenges you face as a small business owner?
I do everything for my business. Designing, sewing, secretarial work, web design, promotions, everything. I do this so I can keep my costs down for my clients by not paying someone else to do all of these things for me. But it creates problems at the same time. One of my biggest challenges is keeping up with all of those tasks and still finding time to actually sew. I work about 60 hours a week on average. Sometimes a lot less, sometimes more. A 14 hour shift is quite normal for me. I try to keep my clients happy, and not let them feel neglected, but answering the plethora of emails I receive is increasingly difficult with more and more orders being placed. It’s something I’m still adjusting to after all this time! I do find my balance, it just means more hours. I have to turn down orders occasionally, otherwise I would get too backed up, and orders would just take too long. But the positives greatly outweigh the negatives, I work at home, I make my own hours, and I don’t have to ask the boss if I can go on vacation, so I don’t complain too often!
Q: What are the have been the biggest evolutions or revelations in your work?
Every day is an evolution. Every corset brings new challenges, new ideas, new revelations, and my work is constantly evolving, improving, and changing. I look at corsets I made several years ago, and I can pinpoint every little detail that I have worked through, changed, and improved on with more recent corsets. I am always adding new details, new support methods, anything to help my corsets and my skills improve. I will never plateau with my work, it’s a constant challenge to make them better and better.
Q: You have done custom corset and costume creations for some of the biggest names in the industry including Masuimi Max and Angela Ryan. What has been your funniest custom order? Which has been your most challenging?
My funniest costume order has nothing to do with corsets. When we were dating, my husband asked me to make him a Master Shake costume for Halloween, from Aqua Teen Hunger Force. It turned out so much better than I could have imagined, and it was hilarious! He has worn it on three different Halloweens now. I joined him two years ago as Frylock, with high heels, black hose and garters, since I couldn’t float or make my legs invisible! It was my first un-corseted costume in more years than I can remember.
My most challenging piece was a costume I recently completed for Masuimi Max. She wanted a circus costume, and putting together all of my ideas was like putting together a puzzle with no picture to refer to! I had all of the components in my head, five pieces, but no idea if they would look good together when it was completed. I challenged myself and went for it anyway. The skirt in itself was a challenge, the finished edge was over 65 yards of organza with a rolled hem. It was also the most crystals I have ever added to a piece. The costume turned out to be my favorite creation yet! A close second is the Snow Queen costume for Angela Ryan!
Q: Without giving away any trade secrets, can you take us through your creative process? What makes your work so unique & of such high quality?
My creative process is an assembly line. Most people would probably work on one corset at a time to avoid the monotony. Not me! I work on four or five corsets at a time. On day one, I will iron and interface all of the fabric, then pattern and cut out each one. On day two or three, I will sew all of the pieces together, including bone accents, making a sort of corset shell. Then I will cut and tip all of the bones. I will sew in trims and other accessories. After that, I will sew each shell to it’s lining and finish the fabric part. Then I sew on lace, glue crystals, sew on bead work, and whatever else my client wants, those are my crafty days! On the last day, I will grommet all of the corsets. This whole process can take days or weeks, depending on the intricacy of the orders, and how many corsets I am working on at the time.
My corsets are quality because I try to pay attention to every stitch. My corsets are original, and will remain so, because I design my own patterns, and because I taught myself how to make them. No other designer sews corsets the way I do. I have a very different process than other corset makers. All of these details keep my work unique, and I pride myself on quality and dedication to my work.
Q: What should women look for in a quality corset?
The most important factor in a corset is having it made custom. It’s very difficult for a woman to find an off the rack corset that fits her perfectly. It does happen, but custom is perfection. If her grommets are closed at the bottom and open at the top, or vice versa, or even closed in the middle and open at the top and bottom, it’s a bad fit. She would be so much happier in a custom corset.
Another important thing to look for are the supplies. Steel boning is a must. Plastic boned corsets shouldn’t even be considered corsets, in my corset-snob opinion!