The Playboy era

The news came that Hugh Hefner passed away this week.  He is known of course for founding Playboy magazine back in 1953.  It may be somewhat amusing for people today to understand how influential the publication was… I was born in 1962 and by my early teens I was very aware of the mystique of the magazine, and part of the rituals of my youth was sneaking copies of Playboy and hiding out somewhere to ogle the girlie pictures.

I wasn’t the only fan.  In 1966 Hefner bragged that the magazine had a revenue of $4 million per issue and $2 million in advertising, and that was a lot of money back then for a publication nobody would admit to having a subscription to.  There is even a braille version of the magazine, if you can believe it.

As an adult I didn’t pay much attention to Playboy or its culture until I became interested in photography.  By this time, there were a lot of racier free outlets for skin if that is what you were after, and Playboy has been struggling with maintaining a readership.  But what Playboy became for me was a great showcase for good photography.  And I realized that part of the aesthetic that Hefner favored was a pinup style, which I love.

So when I wanted to do a Playboy-themed shoot last year, I thought it would be a tough sell, but it turned out to be rather the opposite… models are eager to embrace the iconic bunny outfit; Charelle was enthusiastic about this session we shot in a South Beach office.


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