Photography, Filmmaking, and Design Explorations

Design Project: Vintage Pin-Up

Photos from a vintage clothing and cars shoot, July 2011, near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (See the full set of photos.)

The goal was to get a convincing pin-up look so that photos could be used in a vintage graphic design project.

I examined pin-up samples from the late 1940s through the early 1960s to get a feel for what they were and how they were used. Many of them incorporated a calendar. I decided that I’d make this project a “perpetual July” and shift the years–as a month-by-month calendar style was impossible.

Vintage Magazine Spread Design Project - Cover

Cover


Model is Molly Graham.

PINUP
JULY 2011

A VINTAGE CLOTHING PHOTOSHOOT

Molly Graham—1947 & 1957
Nicole Patrick—1951
Dannie O.—1952 & 1959
Bella Jade—1952
Jennie Cupcakes—1953
Christina Shaw—1955
Ashley Jensen—1955
Meredith Kimberley—2011

VINTAGE CLOTHING CURATOR
Kristina Paulk

EVENT COORDINATOR
Albert Heefner

PHOTOGRAPHY & DESIGN
Will Stotler

Model is Molly Graham.

MOLLY GRAHAM – 1947

Vintage sailor top and Navy skirt provided courtesy of Astro Vintage, Philadelphia. Photo above shot with a 1953 Leitz 5cm f/3.5 lens. Photo left and next page shot with a Cosina-Voigtländer Nokton 35mm lens at f/1.2 with a 6-stop ND filter. Both lenses were mounted on a Leica M8.

Vintage Magazine Spread Design Project - Pgs. 2 & 3

Vintage Magazine Spread Design Project - Pgs. 4 & 5

NICOLE PATRICK (MM#1952102) – 1951


Vintage pink plaid dress provided courtesy of Astro Vintage, Philadelphia. Photo above, left, and next page shot with a Cosina-Voigtländer Nokton 35mm lens at f/1.2 with a 6-stop ND filter, mounted on a Leica M8.

Vintage Magazine Spread Design Project - Pgs. 6 & 7

Vintage Magazine Spread Design Project - Pgs. 8 & 9

DANNIE O. (MM#877400) – 1952


Vintage front-pleat Capris with red trim provided courtesy of Astro Vintage, Philadelphia. Red top from collection of the model. Photo above and next page shot with a 1953 Leitz 5cm f/3.5 lens. Photo left shot with a Cosina-Voigtländer Nokton 35mm lens at f/1.2 with a 6-stop ND filter. Both lenses were mounted on a Leica M8.

Vintage Magazine Spread Design Project - Pgs. 10 & 11

Vintage Magazine Spread Design Project - Pgs. 12 & 13

BELLA JADE (MM#2104292) – 1952


Photo left, above, and next page shot with a Cosina-Voigtländer Nokton 35mm lens at f/1.2 with a 6-stop ND filter on a Leica M8.

Vintage Magazine Spread Design Project - Pgs. 14 & 15

Vintage Magazine Spread Design Project - Pgs. 16 & 17

JENNIE CUPCAKES (MM#2266581) – 1953


Reproduction Rockabilly dress courtesy of Vintage Beauty Clothing. Photo left and next page shot with a Leica Super-Elmar-M 18mm f/3.8 lens. Photo above shot with a Cosina-Voigtländer Nokton 35mm lens at f/1.2 with a 6-stop ND filter. Both lenses were mounted on a Leica M8.

Vintage Magazine Spread Design Project - Pgs. 18 & 19

Vintage Magazine Spread Design Project - Pgs. 20 & 21

CHRISTINA SHAW – 1955


Vintage mint green ruffle dress provided courtesy of Astro Vintage, Philadelphia. Photo above and left shot with a 1953 Leitz 5cm f/3.5 lens. Photo next page shot with a Cosina-Voigtländer Nokton 35mm lens at f/1.2 with a 6-stop ND filter. Both lenses were mounted on a Leica M8.

Vintage Magazine Spread Design Project - Pgs. 22 & 23

Vintage Magazine Spread Design Project - Pgs. 24 & 25

ASHLEY JENSEN (MM#1521232) – 1955


Vintage two-piece pink playsuit appears courtesy of Lauren Homer. Photo above shot with a 1953 Leitz 5cm f/3.5 lens. Photo left and next page shot with a Cosina-Voigtländer Nokton 35mm lens at f/1.2 with a 6-stop ND filter. Both lenses were mounted on a Leica M8.

Vintage Magazine Spread Design Project - Pgs. 26 & 27

Vintage Magazine Spread Design Project - Pgs. 28 & 29

MOLLY GRAHAM – 1957


Reproduction Monique Dress in Carnival Print from Heartbreaker Fashion. Photo left and above shot with a Cosina-Voigtländer Nokton 35mm lens at f/1.2 with a 6-stop ND filter. Photo next page shot with a 1953 Leitz 5cm f/3.5 lens. Lenses were mounted on a Leica M8.

Vintage Magazine Spread Design Project - Pgs. 30 & 31

Vintage Magazine Spread Design Project - Pgs. 32 & 33

DANNIE O. (MM#877400) – 1959


Vintage Kamehameha bathing suit appears courtesy of Astro Vintage, Philadelphia. Photo above shot with a 1953 Leitz 5cm f/3.5 lens. Photo left and next page shot with a Cosina-Voigtländer Nokton 35mm lens at f/1.2 with a 6-stop ND filter. Both lenses were mounted on a Leica M8.

Vintage Magazine Spread Design Project - Pgs. 34 & 35

Vintage Magazine Spread Design Project - Pgs. 36 & 37

MEREDITH KIMBERLEY (MM#96286) – 2011


Two-piece bikini supplied by the model. Harley Davidson motorcycle and shirt provided courtesy of the Aces & Eights Car Club. Photos shot with a Cosina-Voigtländer Nokton 35mm lens at f/1.2 with a 6-stop ND filter on a Leica M8.

Vintage Magazine Spread Design Project - Pgs. 38 & 39

Vintage Magazine Spread Design Project - Pgs. 40 & 41

VINTAGE PIN-UP DESIGN PROJECT

Vintage Magazine Spread Design Project - Pgs. 42 & 43

PIN-UP 1947 TO 1959 GRAPHIC DESIGN PROJECT
So what was the brief on this project? Shoot vintage clothing and shoot pin-up.

I examined pin-up samples from the late 1940s through the early 1960s to get a feel for what they were and how they were used. Many of them incorporated a calendar. I decided that I’d make this project a “perpetual July” and shift the years–as a month-by-month calendar style was impossible.

I shot at the event over the span of seven hours. The heat was intense and the venue was very tricky–it didn’t have the authentic flavor I wanted to get into the photos. However, I did find a way to make the project go–models plus vintage clothing plus some creative shooting and design work give this piece the proper, authentic flavor.

If you know me, you know I love tagging objects–nailing down information and details about things that appear in my photographs.

Here’s where I share that vintage clothing doesn’t reveal its secrets. For most vintage pieces, a rough date can be ascertained (thanks, Kristina), but tags are either missing or unreadable, making a full and careful catalog of the clothing impossible. Attribution is listed where it is known.

Of note, some of these photos were shot with a 1953 Leitz Elmar f/3.5 5cm lens. Others were shot with a Cosina-Voigtländer f/1.2 35mm Nokton. All were shot on the M8.

Photos were processed slightly yellow and very saturated. Then, copies were made and received a black-and-white treatment using TrueGrain and Panatomic-X grain. Layout and careful compositing was completed via InDesign, using a custom-made Müller-Brockmann grid, which I designed to be based on LOOK magazine dimensions, content ratios, and typography. This is likely the last time this grid and layout will be used.

The single most difficult challenge of this project was creating the custom calendars. Each calendar had to be laid out digit-by-digit, have its typography selected (period-authentic), and then be constructed. It was a lot of work.

It was fun selecting period-authentic typography for use throughout the project–the research on what to use was tricky, but in the end the look is there. In some places better than others. Of note, typographic design from these time periods is often “bland” and workmanlike. I attribute this largely to the print shop being responsible for the typesetting and using pre-made blanks.

Credit is due: I’d like to thank Albert Heefner for organizing this event and also Kristina Paulk for curating and managing the vintage wardrobe on set. Also, I’d like to thank each model that worked with me during the long day–without your work, these spreads wouldn’t have been possible. Most vintage clothing was provided by the Astro Vintage Boutique in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Thank you. The Aces & Eights classic car club brought vintage automobiles and the Nifty Fifty’s Diner was the venue–they also deserve a shout.

Again, thanks to all participants.

–Will Stotler, August 2011

See the full set of photos.

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