BETTIE! : The Incomparable Bettie Page Archives of Irving Klaw
The collaboration between Bettie Page and the Klaws produced photographs that are far more than mere pin-ups. They have given generations of men and women something to admire, by showing one strong, unapologetically sensual woman, at home in her curvaceous body. While by today’s standards some of these images may seem tame, even humorous, there was nothing funny about what they accomplished. Perhaps unwittingly, Irving Klaw and Bettie Page blazed a trail for future pro-sex feminists to follow, by creating a portrait of a woman celebrating her sexuality with confidence, tolerance, and freedom.
BETTIE! is the book for all lovers of Bettie!
BETTIE! : The Incomparable Bettie Page Archives of Irving Klaw is a must-have for serious collectors as well as her more casual admirers.
The collaboration between Bettie Page and the Klaws produced photographs that are far more than mere pin-ups. They have given generations of men and women something to admire, by showing one strong, unapologetically sensual woman, at home in her curvaceous body. While by today's standards some of these images may seem tame, even humorous, there was nothing funny about what they accomplished. Perhaps unwittingly, Irving Klaw and Bettie Page blazed a trail for future pro-sex feminists to follow, by creating a portrait of a woman celebrating her sexuality with confidence, tolerance, and freedom.
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THE WASHINGTON POST : In 1949, Bettie Page moved to New York with aspirations of becoming an actress. It was there she met one of America s first fetish photographers, Irving Klaw. From 1952 to 1957, Page worked as a model for Klaw for both his photographs and films, earning her the media nickname, The Queen of Bondage. Klaw was targeted during the Kefauver Hearings of the Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency, in which his photographs were claimed to be causing deviance, perversion and violence. Klaw was not charged, but felt compelled to burn his prints and negatives upon returning to New York. What photos survived were saved by his sister Paula. BETTIE! : The Incomparable Bettie Page Archives of Irving Klaw, is comprised of those images saved by Paula without Irving s knowledge. In a 1998 interview with Lorelei Sharkely, Page said of that time, The only bondage posing I ever did was for Irving Klaw and his sister Paula. Usually every other Saturday he had a session for four or five hours with four or five models and a couple of extra photographers, and in order to get paid you had to do an hour of bondage. And that was the only reason I did it. I never had any inkling along that line. I don t really disapprove of it; I think you can do your own thing as long as you re not hurting anybody else that s been my philosophy ever since I was a little girl. I never looked down my nose at it. Cara Winter writes in BETTIE!, Bettie Page and Irving Klaw s collaboration produced far more than merely pin-up photographs. They gave generations of people (women in particular) something to admire; they held up a mirror to all women, by showing one, strong, unapologetic woman, at home with her curvaceous body. While by today s standards some of these photographs may seem tame, even humorous, there was nothing funny about what Bettie and Irving were up to. They were, maybe unwittingly, blazing a trail for the future pro-sex feminists of the world to follow; a document of life, of love, and sexual freedom. --The Washington Post
About the Author
Irving Klaw was a true pioneer in the world of bondage fetish photography whose pictures and movies of the legendary Bettie Page played a principal role in establishing Page as a major pin-up icon. Klaw was born on November 9, 1910, in Brooklyn, New York City. After working four unsuccessful years as a furrier, Irving and his sister Paula opened a secondhand bookstore in Manhattan in the late 1930s. Klaw began selling movie-star stills and lobby photo cards in his store after he noticed that teenagers were tearing out photos in his movie magazines. He eventually stopped selling books altogether and moved the store from the basement to a street-level store front. He renamed the place Movie Star News and dubbed himself the Pin-Up King. Irving also began a highly lucrative international mail order business that specialized in selling cheesecake photos of movie stars. In the late 1940s, Klaw started taking bondage fetish pictures of beautiful women. His first bondage fetish model was Lili Dawn. Moreover, Klaw and his sister Paula also took photos of such famous burlesque dancers as Lili St. Cyr, Tempest Storm, Baby Lake, and Blaze Starr. Irving rented the third floor over Movie Star News and turned it into a shooting studio. Klaw's photos of Bettie Page proved to be especially popular and successful. In the mid 1950s, Irving directed the burlesque features Varietease (1954), Teaserama (1955), and Buxom Beautease (1956). In addition, he made many 8mm and 16 mm black-and-white adult film loops; a fair share of these shorts featured Bettie Page. In 1955, Klaw was brought before the Senate Subcommittee on Obscene and Pornographic Materials. He also had his phones bugged, and his mail was often intercepted by the FBI. In 1963, Irving produced the films Intimate Diary of Artists' Models (1963) and Nature's Sweethearts (1963) (he also co-directed the latter movie). However, Klaw, nonetheless, still eventually quit the business and burned up to 80% of his negatives due to heavy social pressure and constant persecution by the government. Irving Klaw died at age 55 due to complications from untreated appendicitis on September 3, 1966. He was survived by his sons Arthur and Jeffrey. His nephew Ira Kramer now runs Movie Star News in New York City.