Linnea Eleanor “Bunny” Yeager knew learn how to look nice on digital camera — and learn how to make different girls look lovely, too.
Yeager began her profession as a mannequin and was the Cheesecake Queen of 1951, earlier than getting behind the digital camera to shoot Bettie Web page and different leggy fashions within the 1950s and ’60s, elevating pinup pics to artistic endeavors.
“Bunny understood what made a great picture shoot work, as a result of she was a mannequin, in addition to a modeling and images instructor. And Bettie confirmed up, able to work, bringing a creativity and enthusiasm together with her posing and facial features,” mentioned 50-year-old Richard Foster, the creator of the “The Real Bettie Page.”
“They have been each plucky, sensible, independent-minded girls in a time when the world didn’t supply as many alternatives for them, and I feel they acknowledged comparable qualities in one another.”
On Saturday, Mid-Hudson Public sale Galleries, positioned in New Windsor, NY, will auction off a portion of the late pinup-turned-photographer Bunny Yeager’s huge archives, amongst them a few of the most well-known pictures of the infamous Bettie Web page.
The public sale is the fifth sale of Yeager’s work since January, and it’ll embody unpublished footage and negatives of midcentury beauties, spanning hundreds of things throughout 380 heaps.
It’s a treasure trove that showcases Yeager and Web page’s celebrated working relationship, which yielded a few of the most iconic photos of the latter. Their collaborations, which began in 1954, allowed Web page to interrupt free from bondage shoots for fetish magazines. Working with Yeager, who died in 2014 at age 85 of congestive coronary heart failure, Web page was captured in additional creative settings away from the male gaze.
“She was very tasteful and [her models] appreciated that,” mentioned Mid-Hudson Public sale Galleries’ proprietor, principal auctioneer and appraiser Joanne Grant, 80. “Bettie Web page … was in search of a brand new avenue, and she or he definitely did discover it with Bunny Yeager. It was a totally totally different milieu.”
That’s to not say Web page, who died at age 85 in 2008 following a coronary heart assault, all the time stayed clothed.
In considered one of their first and most well-known classes, Web page wears nothing greater than a Santa hat, sewn by Yeager, and kneels subsequent to a Christmas tree whereas winking and dressing it with ornaments. Hugh Hefner paid $100 for the picture ($993 right this moment) and printed it within the January 1955 Playboy centerfold.
A print of that picture is available for sale in a pack of 10 assorted photos (estimated worth between $60 and $100), and an unpublished outtake from that shoot, through which Web page appears to be like away from the digital camera, is estimated to fetch between $100 and $150.
Different photos have been wilder. Yeager, who was one of many first glamour photographers to snap her fashions in pure mild, shot Web page carrying a leopard-print outfit and posing with cheetahs on the since-shuttered Africa U.S.A. animal park in Boca Raton, Florida. Behind-the-scenes self-portraits of the 2, and two reclining cheetahs, are estimated to promote for $200 to $300.
Mutual inspiration outlined the 2 girls’s working relationship.
“Bettie Web page was Bunny Yeager’s final muse,” mentioned Foster, whose e book was tailored into the 2006 movie “The Infamous Bettie Web page,” starring Gretchen Mol within the title function and Sarah Paulson as Yeager.
“Bunny informed me that Bettie was ‘the very best pinup-glamour mannequin that ever lived,’ [and said] ‘She was like a drawing — an ideal girl: unreal, enjoyable, fantasy. Bettie all the time portrayed a girl that hinted she could be a number of enjoyable to be with, somebody who would by no means have a headache or a nasty temper. Positive, she’d pout . . . however you all the time knew she was taking part in with you.’ ”
Web page stop modeling in 1957 and vanished on the peak of her fame, two years after a Senate investigation into pornography and the controversy it introduced. However, many years later, she grew to become a beloved determine in sure circles. Her pinup recognition — whose basis lies in Yeager’s legacy — stays.
“There’s a completely new era of millennial and Gen Z girls who see Bettie Web page for instance of feminine sexuality and energy, to not point out the huge and devoted following of people that recognize her as a style and sweetness icon, and counterculture image,” mentioned Foster.
Diane Arbus as soon as referred to Yeager as “the world’s biggest pinup photographer,” and Yeager’s fashions — though carrying near nothing or nothing in any respect — confirmed an air of innocence.
Past touchdown Web page on the pages of Playboy, Yeager additionally found Lisa Winters, the journal’s first Playmate of the Yr, at a bus cease in 1956. Tons of of magazines showcase her work, and she or he printed greater than 25 books.
Within the 1970s, when males’s magazines began demanding extra express imagery, Yeager stopped capturing nudes, calling the brand new type “kind of smutty,” in line with the Washington Put up.
After falling into obscurity, her work grew to become newly appreciated within the ultimate years of her life, with a 2010 exhibit of her self-portraits at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania’s Andy Warhol Museum and a 2013 retrospective on the Museum of Artwork in Fort Lauderdale.
In an interview, she as soon as revealed the key to her success.
“It’s simpler for a lady,” she mentioned, “to ask a lady to take off her garments.”