When Bunny Yeager began photographing model Bettie Page in 1954, she had just barely started her career behind the camera, rather than in front of it. Yeager’s images of Page—topless on a beach, in the water or lying on rocks (while photographed from above)—brought Page out from her bondage shoots and into the sunlight, creating a titillating blend of sexuality, beauty and girl-next-door charm.
Yeager’s photos of Page caught the eye of Playboy, leading to a collaboration between the magazine and the photographer, beginning with Yeager’s Christmas image of Page in 1955. Yeager, who died May 25 at the age of 85, is credited today with launching a new style of pin-up photography. Her images celebrate the female form in exquisite photographs of topless and nude models, including herself, in the outdoors or lounging around the home.
For Bunny’s Bombshells, opening this week at Sin City Gallery (in cooperation with Gallery Schuster Berlin), gallery owner Laura Henkel selected works that highlight the photographer at work, along with black-and-white photographs of Page on the beach in the ’50s, Yeager selfies and shots of other models, including recent color photos of Claire Sinclair from the past year.
“Her portfolio is so vast you could do an entire exhibition of Bettie Page, do an entire exhibition of Yeager herself or of her about town,” Henkel says. “I was going for works that show Bunny’s thought process, and works that were more intimate so viewers could go along on the journey.”
Bunny’s Bombshells Through July 20; Wednesday-Saturday, 1-7 p.m. Sin City Gallery, Arts Factory, 702-608-2461. Opening reception June 5, 7-9 p.m.