Bunny Yeager: The Legendary Queen of the Pin-Up
Pittsburgh native Bunny Yeager moved to Miami at the age of 17 in the late 1940s and quickly became one of the most photographed models of that city’s booming beach culture. After winning a beauty pageant that she entered to overcome her shyness, she went on to appear in countless pinup pictures and soon became the face of Miami and its sun-infused lifestyle. In the 50s, Yeager enrolled in photography school so that she could turn her own modeling career into a profession on the other side of the camera. She was never shy about approaching potential models on the beach or even at the bus stop, and her warm nature and constant smile aided her well in convincing her models to pose in the nude. As a woman photographer shooting female models, Yeager was able to bring out a level of comfort and ease in her models that ogling male photographers could never achieve. As a result, Yeager’s pictures soon started appearing on the covers of pin-up magazines around the country, and she became known as one of the best glamour photographers in the nation. Her iconic images of Bettie Page made her even more famous, and her pictures of Bettie and many other models graced the pages and covers of Playboy Magazine, with whom she worked for decades after establishing a close friendship with Hugh Hefner that continues to this day.
While she continued shooting celebratory images of the female form, Yeager also began writing about the technical aspects of pin-up photography, and over the course of her career published over 30 books on the subject. In addition to doing shoots on and in the beaches, private homes and hotels of Miami, Yeager also traveled internationally, taking photos in Mexico, Guatemala, and Jamaica, where she shot publicity photos of actress Ursula Andress in her role as Bond girl Honey Ryder in the first James Bond film, Dr. No. In 1965, Yeager was commissioned by Playboy to take publicity portraits of the first group of hired beauties at Miami’s new Playboy Club, some of which are displayed in the Playboy Redux exhibition also on this floor of the museum. Yeager actively photographed models well into the last decade, and continues to live and work in Miami where she now focuses on promoting her photographs while working on new books and projects relating to her huge archive of images.
Her first museum show at The Warhol Museum was a survey of self-portrait photographs. Her book, "How I Photograph Myself," published in 1964 by A.S. Barnes & Co., featured hundreds of self-portraits in which Yeager takes on many different looks, styles and moods. In some images, we see a blonde bombshell frolicking in the waves, and in others, we see a stunning brunette straddling the staircase of a large beachfront mansion. Yeager always styled her own backdrops, props and costumes—often making objects and bathing suits from materials at hand. Her unique self-portrait techniques certainly foreshadow the work of contemporary artists Cindy Sherman and Yasumasa Morimura, known for their own masquerade-based self-portraiture.
Eric C. Shiner
The Warhol Museum
Milton Fine Curator of Art
b. 1929 Wilkinsburg, PA
Lived and worked in North Miami, FL
d. 2014, Miami, FL
1940s Coronet Modeling School and Agency
2015 How I Photograph Myself, Gavlak Gallery, Los Angeles
2014 Bunny’s Bombshells, Sin City Gallery in cooperation with Gallery Schuster Berlin and Gallery
Schuster Miami, Las Vegas
2013 Bunny Yeager: Both Sides of the Camera, Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale in cooperation with Galerie
Schuster Berlin, Fort Lauderdale Pin-up Girls Bunny, Sofia Vault, Bulgaria
Bunny Yeager’s New Studio Opening and Swimsuit Fashion Presentation, Bunny Yeager Studio in cooperation
with Center for Visual Communication, Miami, FL
2012 Bunny Yeager – Femme Fatale, Gallery Schuster, Berlin, Germany
Bunny Yeager: Retrospective to the Future, Dezer Schauhalle, Miami, FL
Bunny Yeager – Funland Photographie, Gallery Schuster, Potsdam, Germany
2011 The Fabulous Bunny Yeager, Harold Golen Gallery, Miami, FL
2010 Bunny Yeager: The Legendary Queen of the Pinup, The Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh
ARTIST BOOKS AND PUBLICATIONS
2014 Bettie Page: Queen of Curves. New York: Rizzoli.
2012 Bunny Yeager's Beautiful Backsides. Atglen: Schiffer
Bunny Yeager's Darkroom: Pin-up Photography's Golden Era. New York: Rizzoli
2009 Bunny Yeager's Bouffant Beauties: Big-Hair Pin-up Girls of the ’60s and ’70s. Atglen: Schiffer
2007 Bunny Yeager's Flirts of the Fifties. Atglen: Schiffer
Bikini Girl Postcards by Bunny Yeager: Shore Wish You Were Here! Atglen: Schiffer
2004 Bunny Yeager's Bikini Girls of the 1950s. Atglen: Schiffer
2002 Bunny Yeager's Pin-up Girls of the 1950s. Atglen: Schiffe
1995 Bunny's Honeys: Bunny Yeager, Queen of Pin-Up Photography. Cologne: Taschen
Thirty Postcards. Cologne: Taschen
1994 Bettie Page Confidential. New York: St. Martin's
1967 Camera in Jamaica. New York: A. S. Barnes & Company
1965 100 Girls: New Concept in Glamour Photography. New York: A.S. Barnes
Camera in the Caribbean. Louisville: Whitestone
Drawing the Human Figure Using Photographs. New York: A.S. Barnes
1964 How I Photograph Myself. New York: A.S. Barnes
1963 How I Photograph Nudes. New York: A.S. Barnes
Bunny Yeager's New Photo Discoveries
ABC's of Figure Photography. Louisville: Whitestone
How to Photograph the Figure. Louisville: Whitestone
1962 The Art of Glamour Photography. New York: Amphoto
How to Take Figure Photos. Louisville: Whitestone
1960 Bunny Yeager's Photo Studies. Louisville: Whitestone
1957 Photographing the Female Figure. Greenwich: Fawcett
BIBLIOGRAPHY – SOLO EXHIBITION CATALOGUES
2015 Gavlak Gallery Solo Show, “How I Photograph Myself” , Los Angeles
Associated Press, “Model turned pin-up photographer back in the spotlight at 83,” New York Daily News, June 27, 2013.
Associated Press, “Model turned pin-up photographer, Bunny Yeager returns to spotlight after 50 years,” Fox 411, June 26, 2013.
Betker, Ally. “First Look: bunny Yeager’s Darkroom, a Book on the hPhotographer Who Put Bettie Page on the Map,” New York Magazine, August 31, 2012.
Corliss, Richard. “Bunny and Bettie: The Photographer Who Immortalized a ‘50s Se Goddess,” Time, May 27, 2014.
La Ferla, Ruth. “A Treasure Awaits for Vintage Pinup collectors,” The New York times, March 15, 2012.
La Ferla, Ruth. “Beyond Bunny Yeager’s Lens, a Shy Pinup,” The New York times: On the Runway, May 18, 2011.
Richard, Andrea. “Pinup Photographer Bunny Yeager Makes a Comeback With Two South Florida Shows,” WLRN, May 26, 2014.
Schudel, Matt. “Bunny Yeager dies; revealing images of Bettie Page helped define art of erotic photography,” Washington Post, May 28, 2014.
Solomon, Tara. “bunny Yeager Talks Old-School Miami Glamour, Bettie Page and the Future of the Pin-Up,” HuffPost Miami, October 24, 2012.