Pin-up Girls! (Solo Exhibition - 23rd Jan. 2016)
Chapter I: Decisions, decisions ...I have always loved pin-ups (for more info on what pin-up and Pin-up Girls are please check here at Wikipedia and since 2010 I have been photographing Pinup-Girls extensively, greatly affected by the style and aesthetics of Gil Elvgren ( wikipedia link ), with a single-colour backdrop and the minimal amount of props, thinking that they might overshadow the girls. I have always strived for them to be as non-explicit as possible but still have an air of eroticism and innocence, although I am aware that there have been some very explicit pin-ups in history.
November 2013 (4 years into the project) was when I met with model and artist Irene Astral), which shared my love for pin-ups and we produced twelve more together (wishing them to be a calendar style collection), many of which were not set in the studio, but in real-life environments and this was a big turn in my shooting style. My editing process also changed, now including the "burn and dodge" technique amongst others to give the photos a more "pin-up painted" look. In parallel, I also kept shooting pin-up photos with other models and all that resulted in having a quite big pin-up portfolio by the start of 2016. The decision of having an exhibition was the only natural . Pin-ups are meant to be "pinned up walls" in the first place!
So, how did I choose the ones that got into the exhibition? If you want to know the answer to this question, please keep reading!
The decision took place in two chronological stages:
- (1) Around the time of shooting
- (2) At the time of choosing specifically for the exhibition
At the time of shooting, the first-tier selection took place, where I chose which photos will be edited based on how close they were to my (or our) original vision and the source material (where applicable). From these, I chose 3-5 as candidates for "future use" and didn't upload them to my online portfolio.
When the decision to hold an exhibition was made, I printed them all in 10x15 cm photos and spread them on my living room floor, in order to have a grand view of all of them, and starting grouping them according to either pose or subject. This grouping, ungrouping and re-grouping took around a month, during which I also took the advice of many friends, whose judgment I trust, on which ones looked better together or which one was the best of a group of 2-5 photos.
What follows is a synopsis of my second tier decisions, divided into sections of related pin-up photographs. This does not exactly reflect "how" the decisions were made, as it was a more "organic" approach, but I believe it's a good indication of what went on in my mind.
I. The non-caucasian ones
I had shot four pinups with non-caucasian women over the last years (not because I don't approve of them, but because they are hard to find in Greece). Of them only one made it. The other were cut for various reasons: Flora's "rise and shine" one, didn't fit in with the rest that were chosen for the exhibition and Lais' "Chubby pin-up" from Brazil didn't have the right colour-palette, namely it was a bit too dark compared to the rest.
2.) Skipping rope
That was a classic pin-up pose that I tried to shoot three times over the years, with different models each time, but it proved impossible to (A) for the models to keep a happy face while jumping the rope (B) for me to capture a proper moment, even with high-speed shooting over multiple attempts.
3.) The superseded ones
These pin-ups, all shot with Argie Vai were all shot during my early period and were superseded by others that I shot with better equipment and more experience, with Irene Astral. Still, one made it into the exhibition!
4.) The Beer pinups
A recurring theme in my pinups, although I am a wine-person my self. Shot with Irene Astral (Bavarian), Irini Alferei (Dirndl dress) and Aileen-chan (Saint Patrick's)! Only one from Saint Patrick's made it into the exhibition in the end.
5.) The Absinthia ones
All the pin-ups with Absinthia were shot to promote clothes and latex labels and all but one were discarded because I didn't want any "branded" pin-ups in the exhibition (but I couldn't resist the "Latex French Maid" one)
6.) The Housewives
The shoots with Elina and Marie are actually two of my most favourite shoots! The girls did an amazing job conveying the feel and expressions of vintage pin-ups and we also had lots of props/accessories to match! It was very difficult for me to choose only two shots from each, but any more would have been largely "unfair" to the rest of my work. Still, I totally love these results!
7.) The Ones that Kinda Made it
As the name suggests, there was a pin-up selected from these shoots and the only reason these photos were rejected was that I actually wanted no more than one pin-up from each shoot (Housewives excepted, of course).
8.) The Ones that didn't make it
Of course, there would be some pin-ups that wouldn't make it at all. Here are the ones that for various reasons, didn't make it into the exhibition (the most one usual being that they just didn't fit in with the rest in quality or mood).
9.) The Military and Nurses pinups
Along with the Housewives (above) they're my favourites! All the girls nailed the spirit and joy that I wanted them to have and the whole shooting experience was a blast! So, choosing just a couple for my exhibition proved quite difficult.
10.) The 'Irene Astral' ones
We had so many high-quality pin-up photos with Irene Astral that it was hard to choose! You can see and judge for yourself, in the photos below!
Chapter II: Exhibition setupAfter the decision of which photos to include in the exhibition have been made, it's time for... more decisions. This time it's all about which photos will go into which room and in what order. With the curator of the exhibition, mr. Kyriakos Kokkos, we decided on the following approach on how to fill the three (3) rooms of the gallery:
- The entrance room contains the "classic" pinups: the Operator, the Soldier, the Housewives and one with Eve Estenzia, who was on the exhibition poster.
- The largest of the remaining two rooms was the "Irene Astral room" and contained all the pinup photos with her as a model, and a couple more in order to fill it
- The last room was split in two, one part housing the "Modern Pinups" (the Mechanic, the Latex Maid, the Steampunk Mechanic, etc) and the other one the rest of the "Classic" ones (Happy Days, College Girl, the Lady etc)
Chapter III: The ExhibitionThanks to anyone who attended my exhibition! Hopefully you liked it! For the rest of you, here's the video that played at the opening of my exhibition (with swapped audio), featuring all the photos that took part in it, along with vintage illustrations that served either as inspiration or as reference.
and here's a video of the exhibition right after setting it up!