Linnea Eleanor "Bunny" Yeager is a pioneer woman photographer whose work you know but don't. Those in the art world may be tempted by pass her by as she worked in the pin-up business. That's right, a woman taking pictures of women for men...and in the 1950s no less. Yeager took some shots of a personal, patronizing kind as well: she was named "Prettiest Photographer in the World" by US Camera Magazine in 1953. (With competition from fellows like Weegee, I'm not quite sure how much of an honor this is) Likely the only professional photographer who has had her measurements reported by Celebrity Sleuth, she was also named one of the top ten women "Photographers of the Year" in 1959 by the Professional Photographers of America and has lived long enough to see her work exhibited in a retrospective at the Andy Warhol Museum last year.
Not only did Bunny photograph pin-ups for Playboy (and countless other men's magazines) she was a model herself. Born in Pennsylvania, Bunny moved to Florida and soon became one of the most in-demand models on the beach. No less than Joltin' Joe Di Maggio, himself a fine judge of female talent, crowned her "Miami Sports Queen" in 1949. But Bunny had artistic aims and brains along with her beauty and began taking pictures of her fellow models, many of whom posed for free to help her out. She reportedly had an additional advantage...some of the more modest models had no difficulty shedding ALL their clothes for a woman, and much of her early work was nudes rather than the "nearly nudes." made by her male competition. Her empathy and collaboration with the models helped her create stupendous glamor. One of her first works became a cover for Eye Magazine. A few years later she photographed vacationing Bettie Page and sent the pictures to Hugh Hefner. One became the centerfold and Bettie became Playmate of the Month in January 1955. She later took the famous beach photos of Ursula Andress used for the James Bond film Dr. No. She liked Hollywood...much of her work was for the industry even if her credits read like a "B Movie" festival. Bunny is still doing still work from what I can tell.
by Jim Linderman
Uncredited Photographs published in "Scamp" magazine 1957