Quote and Credit

Quote and Credit


Earl Leaf Master Photographer Special Guest Post from Getty Images


Earl Leaf Master Photographer.
NOTE:  A special "guest post" today from Jonathon H, archive editor at Getty Images!  As Jonathon has worked with the photographs by master celebrity photographer Earl Leaf for quite a while, he took slight offense at my  tongue-in-cheek post on Mr. Leaf on the other blog…so I am MORE than happy to let Jon share these images and write an essay on the artist.  I hereby defer, and can't thank Jon enough for the story and the great selection of images he pulled from the vast Getty Archives of Earl Leaf's work.  A link to the Getty Archives follows Jonathon's essay and selections...great work by a remarkable man, and much appreciated!
Born in 1905 in Seattle and  raised in San Francisco Earl Leaf spent many years finding his calling.  By 1936 he was the North China manager of the United Press Associations (later known as UPI) covering the Sino-Japanese war. Before that he was a cowboy, sailor, prospector, dude rancher, harvest hand, actor, teamster, bookkeeper, Salvation Army cadet, guitar player in a Hawaiian trio in a  Panama cabaret, member of the Nevada state legislature, and a journalist on the road covering unemployed migrants for the Reno Journal.

During his time covering the war in China he was the only western journalist to interview and photograph Mao and his comrades behind communist lines in 1938.

By 1940 he was back in the US (in New York) and was appointed as an advisor to Chinese government’s Central Publicity Board, and was basically China’s PR man in America.
During the war Earl served with the OSS a precursor to the CIA but there is little or no documentation as to what he did for them.

After the war Earl decided that he would be both a photographer and a journalist and spent time after the war in New York shooting the city and taking assignments to shoot artists like Martha Graham and then on to France to record life there after the war.

By 1949 Earl had picked up and moved back to the West Coast arriving in Hollywood in the summer of that year. By the Fall earl had his first Hollywood celebrity session shooting the actress Cleo Moore at home. While there were many celebrity shooters in Hollywood at that time earl broke new ground by shooting the starlets at home in their bedrooms usually in a skimpy negligee. Press agents took notice and soon he was shooting the B list elites like Marilyn Monroe and Clint Eastwood who were under studio contract but hardly household names. It was Earl’s job to get them into the papers and fan magazines.

By the early 50’s earl was well established on the scene shooting both candid sessions (never in a studio) and out on the town hobnobbing with the cream of Hollywood like Bogart and Bacall, Brando, john Wayne etc. all of them would willingly pose for him and ham it up for the camera. He was welcome everywhere from the Oscars to Ciro’s the Mocambo and the Cocoanut Grove. Unlike almost all of the celebrity photographers of that time Earl not only took the photos but wrote his own stories in the fan magazines and had several syndicated columns.

During this time Earl also shot for the “girlie” magazines between assignments with the stars, mostly shooting fully clothed but sexy sessions of wannabe starlets roaming around Hollywood. Some of those starlets went on to fame and fortune in other fields like the luscious Joan Bradshaw who became an A list Hollywood producer in the 1980’s. 

He also shot semi nude and nude sessions but these were not his main focus. For his men’s magazine persona Earl created a lascivious, boorish beatnik character that in today’s world is way over the top but he was beloved by his models and celebrities alike. He was the favourite of stars like Debbie Reynolds, Kim Novak and Jayne Mansfield.

During the 50’s he shot many musicians such as Elvis and Ricky Nelson but mainly because they were TV and movie stars but by the early 60’s earl had moved his focus to the burgeoning music scene both home grown and the British invasion. If they had a hit and were in Los Angeles Earl shot them. the Beatles, Stones, The Kinks, Hendrix, Joplin, Mamas and the Papas, The Byrds, an incredibly young David Bowie and Bruce Springsteen and The Doors when they were the house band at the Whisky wearing suits and ties. And of course the Beach Boys. Earl was their main photographer and shot many of the iconic images of them and they even had a track called ‘Bull Session With "Big Daddy"’ written about Earl.

He slowed down in the 70’s and by 1980 at the age of 75 he was dead. Judging by his basic diet of coffee and cigarettes he had a pretty long life and it was certainly eventful.

The Getty Archives is HERE

Links  Getty Images   Getty Images Blog   Getty Image Archive Tumblr

Additional comment from an anonymous follower:  "In the early 60s, when I first started buying 'Teen, he was a faux beatnix with the beard and beret. Then as the 60s moved along he just became a weird old man. It's actually fun to look at the old columns and photos to see people who at one time seemed so hip but weren't. I should ask a friend of mine who knew a lot of the people featured in the columns if she knew him. She danced on Bandstand, Where the Action Is and, the best of al, Shindig. Then she was a go-go dancer at Gazaries which was just down the street from the Whiskey. She'd hang out at the Whiskey with Morrison. Let's just say she knew a lot of people in a biblical manner. Went on to become a William Morris agent before going into business onn her own and discovery people like Leonardo DiCaprio. That town feeds on itself and Leaf was a prime example. The old eating the young followed by the young devouring the old."

Folk Art Sculpture Carving for a HOT DAY collection Jim Linderman

Folk Art Sculpture Carving 

It IS a hot day here.  The Soda Jerk is doing big business.

Good Luck Carved Horseshoe with folks sipping and sitting in the shade.
Circa 1900 Collection Jim Linderman

The Whole Town Turned Out

I presume this is a funeral...and if so, it was for a notable indeed.  Town founder?  No indication on the reverse to indicate what is going on here, but it is some some serious somber sepia.

Original Anonymous Photograph, circa 1880  Collection Jim Linderman

Cowgirls who Bowl (!) Woman with Big Balls and a Stick Pin collection Jim Linderman

Not only cowgirls, but cowgirls with big balls!  Presumably the winners of the World International Bowling Congress…and a badge too!  Those are some damn tough athletes…I'd hate to meet one in an alley.  (Get it? Alley?)  Haw.

The Women's International Bowling Congress was formed in 1916.  The organization lasted until 2005, when they merged with another group. 

Original 8 x 10 glossy photograph by Laughead Studio Dallas, Texas 1948 (with affixed 1948 stickpin)  Collection Jim Linderman

Make sure to browse and order books and $5.99 ebooks by Jim Linderman HERE on Blurb.com

Bunny Yeager Edits Bettie Page

Why would Bunny Yeager,  my favorite Bettie Page photographer reject this photograph of Jungle Girl up a tree?  She had BETTER ones!  An original contact print, "edited out" by Bunny Yeager, but it remains a little treasure today.  Signed by Ms. Yeager on the reverse.  The orange grease pen provides a reminder that an artist was behind the camera as well, and while Bettie had the look Bunny had the eye. 

NOTES:  Original photograph of Bettie Page circa 1955 Signed by Bunny Yeager on Reverse Contact Print collection Jim Linderman.  More information on the Jungle Girl series is HERE on an earlier post.  Layout below taken from eBay…unknown source, sorry.

Books and Ebooks by Jim Linderman are available for preview or purchase HERE

Rich Corinthian Duraleather Haircell Grain Mid-Century Vinyl Upholstery Colors Salesman Sample

Mid Century murky corporate history in nice bright colors!  A salesman sample of unearthly colors!  Maybe when someone writes the "history of mid-century modern" the history of Masland Vinyl will make sense, but today it's just lawsuit after lawsuit and merger after buyout after who knows what.  Looks like they abandoned the trademark for Duraleather after spending a fortune to proove it was leather...I guess.  Well, it wasn't.  I do know, having spent the day at an outdoor antique show...they should make duct tape in every one of these colors so repairs in the "Monitor Quality" upholstery would be easier to achieve. Some kid must have stabbed every damn chair he ever sat in with a fork.

I'm tired of telling stories, let's just look at the pretty pictures.  They got sued...they changed hands...end of story.

Salesman Sample Sheet for Masland Duraleather Yearling Haircell Grain Elastic Fabric Back Vinyl Upholstery.  No date  1950? 


Miniature Hand Carved Folk Art Tools

Miniature Hand Carved Folk Art Tools! Fully functioning, although I wouldn't try to pull teeth with them.  Relative to the whittled whimsy, cousin to tramp art and likely a product of the Great Depression.

Hand carved folk art tools Collection Jim Linderman


Hand Painted Hay Makers Publicity Real Photo

The Haymakers pose in what has to be one of the earliest publicity photos ever, straw boaters included!  Real Photo Postcard tinted by hand.  Poorly.  Collection Jim Linderman

Waterfalls of Tin Tintype Backdrops of Drops of Water

Tintype studio backdrops try to overpower the sitters in this little photo essay of staying dry while visiting the falls.  These all appear in my book The Painted Backdrop but it is too expensive now.  So if you are interested, buy the ebook instead.

The Painted Backdrop (EBOOK version) is HERE

Group of Tintype Photographs, circa 1870 - 1890 Collection Jim Linderman

Tramp Art Folk Art Relief Carved Religious Sculpture Dated 1904 collection Jim Linderman

A very good piece of Tramp Art, and one dated on the bottom 1904.  It is uncommon to find dated tramp art, though through old cigar box labels and notes, it is often possible to estimate.  This piece is for more complicated than most as it is covered with figural relief carvings AND has a little church scene carved on the inside!  "This is the church, this is the steeple, open the door, see all the people."  Nearly 20 inches tall.

Tramp Art Relief Carved Folk Art Sculpture 1904 Collection Jim Linderman
Books and $5.99 ebooks by Jim Linderman are available HERE