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Basking: 1951

Basking: 1951

1951. "Marilyn Monroe reclining on a contour lounge chair, with photographers." Photo by Earl Theisen for Look magazine. View full size.


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re: Low light

"Twin lens unit is probably a Rolleiflex." Or maybe a Yashica Mat? My dad had a couple of those.

The flash may not be too out of place from what I remember of the Yashicas. Placement of the flash is largely dictated by the shape of the bracket holding it next to the camera. There were larger brackets and some were shaped a little differently. My dad also had one flash you held away from the camera as far as your arm would reach, with a long firing cable to connect the two.

The flash on the TLR is lacking a bulb, anyway, so he wasn't using it on this shoot. The flash on the handheld Speed Graphic facing us is mounted underneath the camera lens.

Bathing suits

Circa 1959, both my mother's and my suits were heavy and thick and stiff. Hard to put on dry, worse to take off wet, terrible to put on again sopping wet and cold... which they invariably were because they were almost impossible to wring out properly and took forever to dry, even in the sun. A week at the cottage or the beach meant you often only put a fully dry suit on once, for the first swim. Peeling it off every time you had to go to the bathroom was awful!

Mine was red with a red and white candystripe section at the top. Mom's was yellow. She also had a brown one at one point, with a sort of panel at the front that made it look like it was a skirt.

Contour Chair Lounge, 1949

Here's a full page ad from 1949, with everything anyone could possibly want to know:

1949ComfortChairLoungeAd.pdf345.29 KB

Capital C Contour Chair

Contour Chair Lounge was the brand name, out of St. Louis. That's the two-person model. Very comfortable, and a favorite of blood banks. Also weighed a ton. Still wish I had ours.

Would I were a fly upon her leg!

Love the cameras, and of course their subject.

Low light

Very unusual position of the flash gun on the camera at center. Would be interesting to see what that image looked like. Twin lens unit is probably a Rollieflex.

What Nerve!

Is that a fly I see on her leg? Must be a boy fly!

Armored fabric

Bathing suits of this time seemed to made out of exceptionally rigid fabric, not unlike drapery material. They tended to pinch and distort that which they were designed to conceal in ways that did no favors for girls who, unlike Marilyn, lacked a surfeit of features sufficient to overcome the effect. Lycra and Norma Jean, it would have been a beautiful thing.


What cameras? It's good to be the Queen.

Next stop: "Antiques Roadshow"

Could it be found and its provenance established, that lounge chair would earn quite a handsome appraisal, I suspect.

Somebody's got to do it

It's quite obvious that all four of these dedicated photographers very much enjoy their work. When was the last time you saw everyone in your office smiling at the same time? Really nifty lounging chair too.


Looks like a couple Anniversary Speed/Crown graphics, a Medalist (?) and some sort of TLR.

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