When I turned 40, my husband Berndt kindly treated me to a 40s themed shoot with Bek Morris of Bexterity. It was my first vintage-styled pin-up shoot and I had a lot of fun – so did my daughter, then 2 – and I recall being struck by Bek’s talent for running the whole show herself – hair, makeup, photography, editing, the works. I wrote a blog about the experience, and got the chance to interview Bek about her work. I hope you enjoy this #throwbackthursday re-post and our images:
After long-admiring the classic pin-ups of the WWII era and recently embracing a more vintage look to suit my post-baby curves, I finally had the chance to walk into Bexterity’s luscious studio (above) and have my own dream 1940s themed pin-up shoot for my 40th. With victory rolls, bullet bra and 1940s planes to drape myself over (and even seamed stockings so I didn’t need to draw the line up the back of my legs, a luxury a lot of ladies in the 40s didn’t have) I very much felt the part – though my young daughter had all the best moves, as is evident in the shots below.
Below: Shooting on a stunning 1940s Tiger Moth.
Bek Morris is the powerhouse behind Bexterity Pin-Up Photography. She runs her own photography business and reproduction vintage clothing store, and has a talent for creating classic 40s and 50s pin-up looks on all her varied clients from 18 year olds to seniors, and women of all shapes and sizes. Bek personally handles every aspect of her photo shoots. In a quarter of a century of being photographed (Gasp. Has it been that long?) I have never before worked with a photographer who also did makeup, hair and styling.
Like Bunny Yeager, the pin-up photographer and former model who famously photographed Bettie Page’s best cheeky and exuberant pin-ups in the 1950s, Bek knows how to bring out the fun in her subjects. And the subjects she prefers are everyday women.
“I love the feeling of knowing that I have helped change the way a woman sees herself,” Bek told me. “Most of my clients have never had a makeover, never had makeup or hair done…Most have children and have ‘forgotten’ about themselves, or think they are ‘too fat’, or ‘wouldn’t suit it’. I think every woman needs to make some time for themselves, even if just for a day and do something that is just for them. There is a 1950s bombshell in everyone.”
Below: Shooting on a 40s de Havilland Canada DHC-1 Chipmunk.
Above: ‘Me sit on plane too, mummy. Me sit, too.’
After quite possibly shocking a few innocent pilots at the airfield, I sat down with Bek Morris to ask her about her love of vintage pin-ups:
What first made you interested in vintage and particularly 50s vintage?
I love the cars of the era and it was from there that my passion grew to the fashion and the styling. I love mid century and atomic furniture as well – my entire house is furnished in authentic bits and bobs from this era. I live and breathe the lifestyle, right down to my automobiles. Currently in the garage are a 1962 EK Holden, 1951 Pontiac Chieftain and 1966 Mercedes Benz. I dress 50s style every single day and I love how glamourous it makes you look and feel.
What do you love about vintage pin-ups? Who is your favourite vintage pin-up and artist/photographer?
I love that it is about celebrating real women [and] body shapes. It suits every woman no matter what size they are or what part of the world they are from. It’s very feminine, and accentuates our best assets! Of course my initial inspiration came from the original artists of the 40s and 50s… Gil Elvgren… and from there my eyes were opened to the likes of Vargas, and one of my latest favourites, Peter Dribben.
What made you start Bexterity?
Six and a half years ago I was doing my pin-up makeovers for fun every now and then, and working full time in the city for a financial firm. I had had enough of the ‘rat race’ and literally walked out of my job and never looked back, only to find out a few days later I was pregnant and it was then that I decided to put all of my time into making Bexterity transform from my hobby to my career. I started out as a small at-home based business and have now grown nationally with a studio and Your One Stop PinUp Shop in both Campbelltown and Brisbane.
If your inner bombshell is dying to get out, check out Bexterity.
* Behind the scenes photographs copyright of Berndt Sellheim, 2013. Pin-up shots above, copyright of Bek Morris, 2013.
*This blog was first posted at taramoss.com.