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Glamour photography is a genre of photography in which the subjects, usually female, are portrayed in erotic or exciting ways ranging from fully clothed to nude but in ways that either may conceal or may otherwise not especially draw attention to the subjects' breasts and buttocks. Glamour photography is typically less explicit than pornography and erotica although the term may also be used[by whom?] as a euphemism for erotic photography.
Glamour photography is generally a composed image of a subject in a still position. The subjects of "glamour" photography for professional use are often professional models, and the photographs are normally intended for commercial use, including mass-produced calendars, pinups and men's magazines such as Maxim; but amateur subjects are also sometimes used, and sometimes the photographs are intended for private and personal use only. Photographers use a combination of cosmetics, lighting and airbrushing techniques to produce an appealing image of the subject.
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Until the later half of the 20th century glamour photography was usually referred to as erotic photography. Early erotic photography was often associated with "French postcards", small postcard sized images, that were sold by street vendors in France. In the early 1900s the pinup became popular and depicted scantily dressed women, often in a playful pose, seemingly surprised or startled by the viewer. The subject would usually have an expression of delight which seemed to invite the viewer to come and play. During World War II pin-up pictures of scantily clad movie stars were extremely popular among American servicemen. Betty Grable was one of the most famous pinup models of all time; her pinup in a bathing suit was extremely popular with World War II soldiers.
In December 1953, Marilyn Monroe was featured in the first issue of Playboy magazine. Bettie Page was the Playboy Playmate of the Month in January 1955. Playboy was the first magazine featuring nude erotic photography targeted at the mainstream consumer.
The British Queen of Curves in the 1950s and early sixties was Pamela Green. Harrison Marks, on the encouragement of Green, took up glamour photography and together in 1957 they published the pinup magazine Kamera. Currently in England the earliest use of the word "glamour" as a euphemism for nude modeling or photography is attributed to Marks' publicity material in 1950s.
Glamour models popular in the early 1990s included Hope Talmons and Dita Von Teese and the modern era is represented in the U.S. by models like Heidi Van Horne and Bernie Dexter, while the UK's leading representative of the genre is Lucy Pinder.[clarification needed]
Standards and styles of glamour photography change over time, reflecting for example changes in social acceptance and taste. In the early 1920s, United States photographers like Ruth Harriet Louise and George Hurrell photographed celebrities to glamorize their stature by utilizing lighting techniques to develop dramatic effects.
Until the 1950s, glamour photography in advertising and in men's magazines was highly controversial or even illegal. In some countries, if not illegal, such magazines could not be on public display, and some had to be displayed in a plastic cover. Magazines featuring glamour photography were sometimes marketed as "art magazines" or "health magazines".
Since the 1990s glamour photography has increased in popularity among the public. Glamour portrait studios opened, offering professional hair and makeup artists and professional retouching to allow the general public to have the "model" experience. These sometimes include "boudoir" portraits but are more commonly used by professionals and high school seniors who want to look "their best" for their portraits.
Isabel Sarli, circa 1973
Alyssa Nicole Pallett posing in a glamour photo, 2009.
Semi-nude glamour model, using the handbra technique, 2007.