Gavlak Los Angeles presents a solo show of photographs by artist-model Bunny Yeager, including hand-painted photographs of Bunny, Bettie Page, numerous self-portraits, and images that reveal behind the scene secrets to how she created her work. Born Eleanor Linnea Yeager in Pittsburgh, PA in 1929, Bunny passed away in 2014 in Miami, Florida. The ironic innocence of Bunny Yeager’s pin-up format compositions is palpable in the current pop-historical climate in which pornography is an explosive international industry, with a panoramic range between entertaining and damaging.

In such a climate today, Yeager’s work, and even her pseudonym “Bunny,” operate like time capsules from a softer, less harsh, more voluptuous day. Both she and her subjects embrace the performance of a sticky-sweet, hyper-gendered sexuality along with a highly studied, poolside elegance where everyone plays along with full disclosure. What sets Yeager apart is her intentional authorship as a woman photographer in a man’s world of looking at women. The multiplicity of identities she assumed for her herself and her “girls” is itself a lifelong conceptual act, as is the conscious presence of the camera as a second subject or muse. The apparatus is often revealed in her glamour shots, as if to reinforce her authorship as photographer.

Yeager was a model, beauty pageant queen, promoter, author, designer, scriptwriter, wife, mother of two, and a sought-after photographer and artist. Even though socially it was unheard of for a woman of her background to be an artist, she was on the cover of U.S. Camera in 1954, but the headline: “The World’s Prettiest Photographer” points to the contradictory nature of what it meant then to be both model and photographer.  

Bunny Yeager How I Photograph Myself
Gavlak Los Angeles West Gallery
Los Angeles, CA
On display through through August 29, 2015.