Bettie Mae Page (April 22, 1923 – December 11, 2008) I’ve posted a ton of photos of Bettie over the years. She is a mixture of sex kitten and girl next door, sultry and fun loving all at the same time. The 1950’s No. 1 pin-up queen. Bettie was a knock-out. If you’re not familiar w/ her stop reading this and look her up right now. Hers is a story of sex, religion, fame and fortune, high highs and low lows. It’s a mystery w/ a happy ending. These aren’t her most famous photos – in fact some I’ve never seen before. Bettie would have been 94 today. Happy Birthday Bettie!
Françoise Madeleine Hardy found immediate success with her first song “Tous les garcons et les filles”. As a leading figure of the Ye-Ye movement (naive pop songs sung mostly by beautiful young women. The named is derived from “yeah-yeah” popularized by The Beatles), Hardy “found herself at the very forefront of the French music scene”, and became “France’s most exportable female singing star”, recording in various languages, appearing in several movies and touring throughout Europe. With her natural beauty and charm, Francoise began modeling as well – becoming a French fashion icon as well as pop star. As the Ye-Ye movement lost steam, Francoise changed her approach, singing ‘grown-up’ songs, working w/ songwriters like Leonard Cohan and Serge Gainsbourg. She would go on to record many more LPs, collaborating w/ Blur in 1994 and Malcolm McClaren as well as Iggy Pop. Her music has been used in a ton of movies – most recently Wes Anderson’s Moonlight Kingdom (The female lead (Suzy) calls The Ye-Ye Girls From Paris (1962) her “favorite record album”, and it is the only album she packs when preparing to run away from home). And DAMN! if she’s not still gorgeous at 70.
Anders Petersen is a Swedish photographer born in 1944 and still active today. From 1967 – 1970 he photographed the regulars (street hustlers, pimps, prostitutes and crazy people) of the Cafe Lehmitz in Hamburg Germany. The resulting book was first published in 1978 by Schirmer/Mosel in Germany. Café Lehmitz has since become regarded as a seminal book in the history of European photography. I found out about it (I’m embarrassed to say) from researching the Tom Waits LP cover of Rain Dogs. I always thought the man in the photo was Tom. Needless to say, he is not. His name is actually Rose, and the photo is called Lily and Rose and is actually the cover of the Cafe Lehmitz book.
The Victorians got up to a lot of shenanigans and had some pretty odd customs and past-times. They made elaborated brooches and dioramas from the hair of a dead loved ones. They photographed the dead as if they were still alive, sitting upright, eyes open, or holding their poor dead babys. They had a general obsession with taxidermy (they stuffed anything). They made hats out of cats, birds and other small animals. They loved anything gothic (Dracula, Frankenstein and Dr. Jeyckl and Mr. Hyde came from the period). Freak shows were a main stay – think Elephant Man. And for whatever reason they liked to photograph themselves w/ skeletons. Some of these would be deemed risque, some just weird and probably one or two from some long forgotten gothic theater. I think they were just bored and need to stretch out a bit from all the rules of the day-to-day Victorian society.