Las Vegas Photographers, Makeup Artist and Hair Styling.
Our Specialty is Contemporary Beauty and Glamour Photography,
We have great careers. We love making our clients look beautiful and sexy! We are influenced by both the older classic styles of pinup photography as well as shooting the most modern and dynamic fashion looks or giving them the slick, polished, "Centerfold / Porn Star box cover" glossy look. Every shoot and every client brings us something new and fresh, with their own ideas, their own styles and their own faces and figures.... We just try to show them as they want to see themselves, and as we see them.... using all of the makeup, hair, lighting and other techniques we have available.
From the early days of gangsters and showgirls, the topless revues and the risque shows, to today's multi, multi-million dollar venues, starring the likes of Beyoncé, Madonna, Celine. Glamour and sexy images are synonymous with Las Vegas. The glitz and flash is visible everywhere. Visitors come from all over the world to partake in gambling, partying, and entertainment. So why not take a bit of the glamour and fun back home with you? in the way of high end, classy, elegant glamour or boudoir photos.
During World War II many soldiers found sexy, pinup photos of "Hollywood" starlets inspirational and comforting. Something to live for. Many of their favorites went on to become well known actresses. After the war "Art" magazines, and "Nudist Lifestyle" publications allowed for ever more revealing photos to work their way into a still quite conservative world. These publications while "pure" even naive by today's standards were often banned and considered illegal in many parts of the country. Still the hunger for ever more revealing images continued. The Strip-Tease and Burlesque night clubs found their way into the cities and sexy photos of their stars became popular pinups. Gypsy Rose Lee, Tempest Storm, and Lily St. Cyr and Betty Page stirred the imagination of many young men. Las Vegas became know as Sin City and topless revues brought tourist from around the country.
The 1960's brought America into a new age. We were having growing pains and we saw our leaders and those we admired assassinated. We went to the moon and more and more began to question the culture of America. "Questioning Authority" and asking why? Rebelliousness was causing a divide between the old guard and newer generations that questioned their rules and their way of life. We found ourselves in a war that we did not understand and Americans found thousands of their friends, sons, and family dying in a war they did not understand. It was a time when the world was in turmoil and you had the "Love, and Peace" hippies, questioning everything -- versus the "America Love it or Leave it" status quo.
In London a young American artist
name Bob Gucionne was trying to start a new men's magazine on a minimal
investment. He did something that had never been done in a newstand
publication. He included women with full
frontal nudity, artistically photographed and prominent in his magazine.
The photographic style was reminiscent of French impressionist painters,
soft, romantic images, but these were photos of real women -- not
paintings -- and totally nude. He was soon jailed. The publicity
generated by both the explicitness and the attempt at artistic interpretation
of sensuality and sexuality created a lot of interest, and in 1969
Penthouse began publication in the U.S. as a more sexual competition
I was a soldier in Vietnam in 68 - 69 and while Playboy was the mainstay, the new magazine called Penthouse with their more erotic style really caught everyone's attention. I worked in the photolab of a mapping unit and had bought a Nikon camera while there. I really liked photography and took a lot of photos there and when I came home on leave. I did my first sexy photos of women in those years. I had always been good at art and liked to draw pictures of sexy girls from cartoons and comic books - the camera made it all come to life. I photographed my girlfriends in that time in sexy, pinup styles and we found it exciting and loved the results. I was hooked.
I got out of the Army in 1970, and soon moved to the beach in Santa Monica. In 1972 I enrolled as a commercial photography student at Santa Monica College. I worked as graphic arts cameraman at a Santa Monica newspaper during much of the time and spent the rest at school. It was the 70's, and everybody was pretty much into everything that was wild and crazy. I found no problem finding willing models for my school assignments as well as doing my early attempts at Playboy, Penthouse style glamour photos.
As the 70's progressed and glamour photography continued to evolve, so did the explicitness of the centerfold and feature photos in Penthouse. Even Playboy jumped in for a short time as did all the other men's magazines that had came into the market. I wasn't offended in the slightest. I liked doing sexy shoots. It was in late 1975 that one of the girls I had done nudes on asked me to submit her to Playboy. I submitted her and showed them other work that I had done. I hoped they might want me to shoot for them, but it was not to be. They were interested in one of my models but said "they had their own photographers". My work was too Penthouse style for them. So I thought, hmmm... maybe I should try Penthouse.
One of the girls I had photographed, said she would love to do Penthouse. Back then they had a office on Sunset Blvd, just a couple of blocks west of the Playboy building. I told her we would need something more explicit for Penthouse... and she said that was "not a problem..." Photography was expensive and I had only the money I made at the newspaper and from the GI bill. Luckily (?) I had been rear-ended on the freeway the year before, which kinda screwed up my back and I received a pretty decent settlement and had enough money left over to buy a three light studio strobe setup a new Nikon and lens, and a RB67 for polaroiding my lighting. The film and processing was still expensive, but I had a start.
I needed a feminine touch, somebody that could do the makeup, hair and help me with the styling. Even then, I knew that good makeup could make or break a photoshoot and was so very important. I had tried to do it myself but I just didn't have the knowledge and training, and I wasn't very good. My old photo instructor introduced me to a student named GiGi that had shot some fashion stuff for a assignment in his class. I asked her to do makeup for me and she agreed. We finally submitted the shots to Penthouse in late 1976. I had submitted at perhaps the perfect time. Photographer Jeff Dunas had left Penthouse a couple of years before, and Ken Marcus had just left as well and was going to Playboy. Only Earl Miller was shooting in L.A. an it turned out they wanted someone else in town as well. I got along well with the office staff and with their help and support, as well as the great work from GiGi, I unknowingly began a career that still continues today. My life as a real-life glamour photographer was on it's way.
and Larry Flint's "Hustler" with its "explicitness for explicitness sake" was hot on the heels of both of them. My first Penthouse centerfold was December of 1978. Her magazine name was Amber Ramsey and she was a trained ballet dancer from somewhere north of L.A. My first tests shots on her were "very Penthousy" with a bit of David Hamilton thrown in... beautiful, pastels, soft, romantic, but also very directly sexual and explicit. Penthouse loved the shoot and by the time it was published the December, I had 3 other centerfolds already accepted and in line for publication. I was heavily inspired by Bob Gucionne's own photography, and the way he posed and directed his models which is probably why he liked my work.
In the 80's Centerfold men's magazines became a huge business
Magazines were riding the wave, but adult videos were gaining rapidly in popularity as everyone got video recorders. There was a lot of competition within the magazines. Hustler was the only one growing at that time, but everyone there was so crazy, we figured that they would implode at any moment. They almost did several times, but the magazine kept strong. The soft focus, gauzy look of the photos from 70's Penthouse became a standing joke and Hustler's super sharp images and high quality, glossy printing (not to mention their penchant for extreme pink shots!) drew more and more readers. Copy cat publications popped up all over, not only in the US but around the world. The demand for models and photosets for all these publications was growing rapidly.
I had been shooting like crazy and spending time in Hawaii and shooting in amazing locations when I was offered the opportunity to go and help "jump-start" the new German Edition of Penthouse. I was given exactly 4 days to get a Passport and be ready to go -- to a small town in Italy where the new owners lived during the summer. Nobody knew the city and I had no idea what to expect. Wow!... this was all happening very fast. Suddenly I was flying all over the place, making lots of money and having no idea what all I was doing. The publishers of the German Penthouse, had a castle in that small town in Italy... yep, a real castle!... and it sat overlooking the Italian Riviera. It was an amazing trip, and they wanted me to shoot 6 centerfold for them in 6 weeks. All, in and around the castle. I was photographing girls all the time it seemed. Most didn't speak much English and I spoke NO German! It was very interesting and a lot of fun. Much of the time it was just the two of us, shooting whereever we wanted in and around the castle grounds. I met the publisher's family and they treated me really fantastically. I ate with the family every day and had a chance to experience a lifestyle most only dream about. It was also a lot of work. I did not have an assistant and did all my own schlepping of equipment. (my back today is testament to all the schlepping I did.) However I was also paid very well -- something I have come to appreciate even more now than I did then.
I photographed most every centerfold and cover for the magazine over the next 2 1/2 years. I worked as a staff photographer, with producer Uschi Borsche a wonderful and talented makeup artist and hair dresser from the German cinema who had her own studio in Munich. She did makeup and hair, organized the layouts, together we styled them and I photographed them. It was a great time. She had contacts with high-end clothiers and great locations and we were able to lend a more fashion oriented twist to the shoots we did there.
It was at this time that I began doing a lot of private productions. I would hire models and shoot them on "speculation" and syndicate them offering specific publication rights to the photos to magazines, calendars, books and publishers around the world. It was smart for me to do it because all of the work done for Penthouse was owned by them, and my private productions were owned 100% by me. The publisher of Penthouse wanted that I remain exclusive, however, after I moved there, he knew he "had me" and the amount he was paying became smaller and smaller... so shooting on my own was necessary. I felt it was time for a change.
We worked out an agreement that I would shoot centerfolds, features and covers for them using my real name and that anything else would be published under a pseudonym. This worked great. Jon Harroll, John Midi and Jack Callis were born.I I got quite a bit of work and attention there the first year. however I was not very popular with the other Playboy photographers or the art director. I heard many years later that there had been little side deals where money was being kicked back from the photographers in exchange for assignments. I never did that. I had by-passed the art director and had the job before either of us had even met. I was also doing productions in less time and for less costs than the other photographers, (as I had no reason to pad my time or expenses) It took him almost two years to find a way to get back at me, but after terrible weather in Hawaii caused me to come up with a couple of sub-par shoots he apparently convinced the powers to be that it was my fault and arrogance that resulted in the poor product. By this time Christiné and I had fallen in love and were doing a lot of private productions that I was selling back in America.
We came back to the states and setup a tiny studio in a friend's hair salon in Westwood (Los Angeles) in 1988 and moved to a larger place in south Hollywood/Wilshire area in 1990. We were shooting all kinds of stuff and doing a lot of headshots, portfolios, promo photos, and makeovers for business women and realtors we met through a PR firm. We would usually do the professional commercial shots, and then do something very glamorous or a bit crazy with them. It was a lot of fun. Back then I did my own print retouching (No Photoshop back then!) and it was a tremendous amount of work, almost like doing a painting. We were also still doing our independent centerfold style productions and selling layouts back to the German, Australian, and English editions of Penthouse, as well as some foreign editions of Playboy and many other smaller independent US and International publications.
Strip clubs were the hot item, and the girls that worked in them wanted to be in magazines so they could become feature dancers. The magazines became promotional vehicles for them and the clubs and for the adult films being produced. We had agents bringing in girls all the time... many of them at the time came from Canada all wanting to be shot for a magazine. There were some really great models coming through -- too many for us to shoot all that we wanted. Boob jobs were IN... tan lines were IN... and strippers were everywhere... unfortunately the rest of the world was not crazy about this look. We hooked up with magazines that liked more of a European style - a more natural sexiness, casual, more "real girl" of the time... We de-glammed the models, we did grunge style shoots, put the girls in Doc Martins, and tried to avoid the stripper clichés on much of what we shot. It gave us a niche that kept our photosets selling.
It was something where people could look at photos in color on their computers! I wasn't sure about these guys (at the time, I only had a vintage IBM running DOS that could not show photos of ANY kind!) but they seemed really on the up and up, and they offered a nice commission on sales... they needed stuff fast because the big computer shows were coming up... and
It sounded worth a try and we did a edit of left over shots we had and sent them a few hundred. These CD things sold like crazy! The company wanted more, and we gave them more, they dropped prices and our commission percentages but the sales continued to grow at a rate that more than made up for it. It was great while it lasted, and it allowed us to rev up our business and eventually move to Las Vegas and buy our home here.
(to be continued)