Category Archives: books

Bunny Yeager, the World’s Prettiest Photographer

There’s an excellent new photography book on the shelves: Bunny Yeager’s Darkroom: Pin Up Photography’s Golden Era. Written by cultural historian, Petra Mason and with a foreword by modern burlesque star, Dita von Teese.  The book also contains excerpts from Bunny Yeager’s own how-to manuals, as well as 250+ photos; including many previously unpublished ones.

The cover of “Bunny Yeager’s Darkroom: Pin Up Photography’s Golden Era” (Rizzoli Books)

On Tuesday evening, Shawn and I jumped at the opportunity to attend the book signing and talk with Petra and Bunny at Books & Books in the Gables. And it was fantastic!I had known of Bunny Yeager and her photography; but didn’t know too much about her background; she seems to be a pretty private person. So, it was great to hear Bunny talk and answer some questions from the audience.  Yeager is a long-time resident of Miami and is well-known for both her self-portraits and now iconic images of Bettie Page. She was also a sought after model in the 1950’s. After modeling for a while she decided she wanted to be behind the camera too, so she took a photography class; and practiced by doing many self-portraits. Back then she was the only female pin-up photographer – and an excellent one at that! In 1955 she submitted  to Playboy Magazine, a photo of Bettie Page dressed in nothing but a Santa Claus hat, decorating a tree. From then on, her photography career (as well as Bettie’s modeling career) took off.  Now, at age 83, Bunny is still going strong. She still shoots – and with film! She plans on making more books, and just signed a contract with Bruno Banani, a German lingerie and bikini line.

The author Petra Mason did an excellent job of compiling Yeager’s images into this fantastic book. When Shawn and I were flipping through it while listening to Bunny tell us a story about a photo shoot she did with Sammy Davis, Jr. and the model, Maria Stinger; we felt like we were holding a piece of history in our hands. There are photos in the book from that shoot. Sammy had Bunny help him learn how to pose a model and shoot with a Hasselblad camera.

During the Q&A with Mason and Yeager, we learned little tidbits about Bunny: She still shoots film. She does not own a digital camera. Bettie Page was the first model she photographed who had an even tan – i.e. no tan lines. She still has the tripod that Sammy Davis, Jr. gave her. She also still has her old 8×10 Speed Graphic camera. She liked shooting with a Yashicamat and Minolta TLR cameras. She can be rough on her equipment, especially back in those days when she would photograph models on the beach (all that sand and salt water!).  She got to the point where she didn’t really need a light meter to know which exposure to use – she could just feel it by the amount of the sunlight.

Bettie Page, Bunny Yeager, and cheetahs. Boca Raton, 1954.

I only wish the conversations with Bunny could have lasted longer. I am sure she has all sorts of interesting stories.  I haven’t read through the whole book yet, but I highly recommend it! Some quotes said by Bunny Yeager that stand out are:

“Make the most of what you have and enjoy being female; enjoy being YOU.”

“When you start photographing yourself, you are going to be amazed at all the things you find out about yourself, and you’ll be glad you did.”

Bunny Yeager and Bettie Page, behind the scenes.

Thank you, Bunny, for re-inventing the pin-up.

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The Composites

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Check this out: a Tumblr that has “images created using law enforcement composite sketch software and descriptions of literary characters.” Now you can see if your fave character really looked how you pictured him/her. Neat! Who would you suggest? I think my first suggestions would be: characters from: To Kill A Mockingbird, The Lovely Bones, and Stranger In A Strange Land.

(Source: http://thecomposites.tumblr.com/)

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I Saw You That Night!

hell yes. RL Stine was the bomb! I seriously had every. single. book. My favorite was the Fear Street Saga series where the books went back into time (colonial times) and told the whole history of how Fear Street came about.  Its been YEARS since I’ve read these books, of course. Now that I am in my 30’s, part of me kinda wants to dive into the back closet of my parents house and find these books and re-read them and see if my 31 year old self still finds them as entertaining. 🙂  Have you read any of R.L. Stein’s adult novels? Are they any good? I have read mixed reviews but still want to check one out! Got any recommendations?

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Interesting article: Why Borders failed while Barnes & Noble survived

Why Borders Failed While Barnes & Noble Survived!

Choose Your Own Adventure.



Anyone remember the Choose Your Own Adventure books? I do! Well, to be more exact – I did. Then I forgot. And then I was just now reminded again.
These awesome books had come up in a conversation I was having with Shawn sometime in the beginning of the year. I was basically asking him if he had read them, saying how much I loved reading them as a kid and how they were hard to find nowadays; and I didn’t really see them in bookstores anymore. But this was just a little passing topic in daily chit-chat between Shawn & I, so I completely forgot about them and made no attempt to look for them, probably because I figured they just simply did not publish them any longer.
Fast forward to last week when I went to San Francisco to visit Shawn; as part of my birthday gift he presented a box set of the first original 6 Choose Your Own Adventure books! I was totally not expecting them! Especially since I had a.) forgotten about that convo and b.) thought it was out-of-print. (And Shawn is awesome for actually remembering that small detail!! 😉 These were apparently not easy to get. Soon after our convo about the books, Shawn had emailed the publishing company, Chooseco, to see how he could obtain the first set of CYOA books. At first they had been out-of-stock. But after a couple of more email exchanges, they informed Shawn that there was a box set of books 1 though 6 set to be released in June.

A little history on the books: Choose Your Own Adventure books are a series of children’s gamebooks, originally published by Bantam Books, and currently being re-published by Chooseco. The collection consists of 185 books spanning over the course of 19 years (1979 – 1998.) Mostly written by Edward Packard and R.A. Montgomery (there were several other authors over the years as well). The format of the book is that each one is written in a 2nd person point of view, with the reader assuming the role as the main character. So it feels to the reader as if they are actually involved in the storyline and making all the decisions that determine the main character’s actions in response to the plot the the story’s eventual outcome. Each book had probably about 20+ possible endings.

The moment I opened up the box set of books I felt like it was 1989 again! The titles came rushing back and I clearly remembered 3 of those 6 books being my favorites and always having them checked out of the school library. I can now very clearly remember “Journey Under the Sea” being the one I read the most (which is kind of funny now since I am not a particularly active swimmer, nor did I ever end up going diving as an adult. And what makes this even more funny is that Shawn is actually a scuba dive minor.) What was amazing though was the clearly detailed memory the books triggered – rushing to the shelf after library class’s story time was over, to where that book was. The hardness of the cover. The clear plastic protective library wrap around it, wearing out at the corners. The call number sticker on its spine, yellowing from age. The detailed black ink illustrations. Walking happily and proudly to the librarian’s desk with the book in my hand to check it out. The smallness of the book and how it fit perfectly into my backpack’s front zipper pocket (and i mean perfectly! as if it was meant to be in my bag) and into my hands. I actually remember my 9 year old self treasuring this book and always making sure it was snug into that backpack zipper pocket where no one else could get it. That book was mine. I loved it, I wanted to read it. No one would probably appreciate it as much as me. And during recess or lunch or after school, it was in my hands, transporting me into another world, another time. One where the possibilities and endings were endless. There were no mistakes because if you didn’t like it, all you had to do was go back to page 1. Easy.

To see a complete list go here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Choose_Your_Own_Adventure_books