November 18, 2011

LIFE's sexiest photographs.

A nice collection. My favorite as a photograph is Jayne Mansfield. The sexiest, in my personal opinion, is "Clint Eastwood... bare-chested and bandaged after a brutal beating...."

And for those of you who were sad that I laughed at Raquel Welch yesterday — in her uncomfortable dancing singer guise — she's looking much more at ease here in a roller derby outfit — possibly because it's a still photograph.

Speaking of photography, here's a question I thought of yesterday and realized I couldn't answer: Who was the first U.S. President to be photographed? It's easy to think of photos of Abraham Lincoln, but was there anyone before him? It turns out to be crucial how you ask the question. You'll get a different answer if you look at the list of Presidents in the order that they served and find which is the first of them to have been photographed than if you look for the oldest date on a photograph of a U.S. President.

Do you even have a rough idea of when the earliest photographs were taken? Clue: it was not during the Civil War. Do you know the date of the earliest photographic portrait of a human being? You can see this person at 0:55 in this video, which collects many photographic firsts. The man looks like someone you would find — I would find — attractive if he walked down the street today. And at 1:12, you'll see the earliest-born person that we have a photograph of. Try to guess the year she was born before you look.



ADDED: By coincidence, it's Louis Daguerre's birthday, and Google has a doodle for him today:

42 comments:

David said...

Andrew Jackson was photographed as a old man. He is the earliest President to have been photographed, I believe.

Jose_K said...

Brigitte Bardot, Raquel Welch and Hanoi Jane.
Cold Case:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/film-news/8898450/Police-reopen-investigation-into-death-of-film-star-Natalie-Wood.html

David said...

The young woman in NY, 1969. She is lovely, and would look just as up to date and attractive today (except that she's probably nearing age 70.)

mtk said...

Actually, David (lifelong presidential trivia maven here), Jackson's predecessor John Quincy Adams was photographed as a member of Congress in his mid-70's, in 1843, making him the earliest president to be photographed. I've read different things about the first to be photographed in office (Harrison, Tyler, or Polk), but Polk is usually the one cited.

Here's the rather famous photo of Adams: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/82/John_Quincy_Adams_1843.jpg

AJ Lynch said...

I gotta go with the Raquel or the Rita pics.

Hagar said...

I do not know about "sexy," whatever that means, but Raquel Welch in her prime was one of the 7 wonders of the world.

Expat(ish) said...

The amazing thing to me is that the basic chemistry of photography was available during the 13th century, so we could have had photographs of the crusades, the landing at Plymouth rock, etc.

-XC

Ann Althouse said...

" I've read different things about the first to be photographed in office (Harrison, Tyler, or Polk), but Polk is usually the one cited."

It's easy to find the photograph of Harrison, so clearly he is the first.

ironrailsironweights said...

The collection of oldest videos missed an important one: world's oldest video of a girlfight with clothes being torn off.

Peter

ndspinelli said...

November is sweeps season for tv. With all these sexy photos recently, I surmise also for Blogger.

Robert Burnham said...

Best looking there is probably the 1969 New-York-street girl with the signature sunglasses up top.

Second would be the beach bunnies.

Drain Fonda? Not a chance.

Ann Althouse said...

William Harry Harrison, not Benjamin Harrison.

Bob_R said...

Lovely Rita

Ann Althouse said...

I think the most appealing of all the women pictured is Brigitte Bardot. Note that there are 2 pictures of her, one with short hair and one with long hair. Both hairstyles are exactly something that would be very stylish today, even though the pictures were taken a half century ago. You can't say that about any of the other women pictured.

Ann Althouse said...

I know, you'll say it's not the hair...

Ann Althouse said...

And Marilyn Monroe looks like she's suffering from a toothache.

Irene said...

Marilyn Monroe has trout pout!

I love Bardot with the short hair.

The photo of Steve McQueen and his wife is eerily intimate.

vet66 said...

No pictures of Sophia Loren? A travesty.

Hanoi Jane? She inspires cold condemnation...nothing else.

wv; ciliskin

Bryan C said...

"The amazing thing to me is that the basic chemistry of photography was available during the 13th century, so we could have had photographs of the crusades, the landing at Plymouth rock, etc."

True, and there are also other workable methods besides the usual silver nitrate-based chemistry. I've often wondered where we'd be if one of those alchemists that nobles kept around had stumbled across it.

Then again, maybe they did, and they just didn't get it. I think the trick would have been in recognizing the potential and then developing it to the point where it was workable. Early photographic processes required very long exposures. And even then it took quite some time to work out methods that resulted in a fixed, permanent image.

Kirk Parker said...

"It's not the hair!"

Also, where's the 'breasts' tag?

Christopher in MA said...

Interesting shots. Yes, the Monroe was does look a little odd, but she was in the Strasberg Method phase of her career then, which did untold damage to an already fragile psyche.

I remember someone posting here that they never understood the MM appeal, but I've always been a fan of her, even in weak work such as "The Misfits" or "Bus Stop." Dated it may be, but MM's performance in "The Seven Year Itch" is the touchstone, I think. If you love it, you'll love her; if not, you won't.

Trivia: Carolyn Jones - Morticia Addams - is in SYI, as a horny night nurse pining for Tom Ewell's character.

The stockings and garters? Well, I'm a fan of lush femininity of the Anna Held / Dita Von Teese type, so I love that picture. I do wish women would dress like that all the time.

Bardot has never done a thing for me. She's always looked one Gauloise away from a crying jag because you weren't paying ebough attention to her.

And the photo of Mansfield isn't very flattering, I think (although I'd love to have one of those bottles!). Actually, few of her photos were flattering; like Diana Dors, it was a narrow back and massive chest and nothing else, despite the fact that both women were quite intelligent.

Speaking of Mansfield. . .I don't have the link, but I know one of you lovely people out there in the dark can find it - there's a photo of her and Sophia Loren sitting at the same table, with Loren giving Mansfield's bust a sidelong raised-eyebrow look.

Anger's otherwise loathsome "Hollywood Babylon II" has a similar shot, although in this case it's of Zero Mostel leering at a very grown-up Shirley Temple's decolletage.

Ann Althouse said...

"No pictures of Sophia Loren? A travesty."

Especially since she posed for what many think was the sexiest LIFE magazine cover photo ever!

Ann Althouse said...

If you keep clicking at that link, you'll see many amazing photos of Loren that were in LIFE. The cover photo that begins the set it very memorable and presumably sexy because of the revealing outfit, but she's even more beautiful in some of the other photos.

Christopher in MA said...

Don't care for that cover, Althouse. Too much of a Melina Mercouri vibe for me.

But click through that photo gallery once to the right to see a picture of Loren, a corset, stockings, pearls and gloves in "The Millionairess." Yowza!

wv - "redradd." You're right, Scoob, there's something funny about this old hotel.

bagoh20 said...

Even today photography seems like magic if you take a minute to think about what it does - captures a view of a moment. It's hard to imagine a world without that now.

bagoh20 said...

The sexiest photo for me is the Steve McQueen one. The camera seems to capture an afternoon of satisfying sensuality.

ndspinelli said...

bagoh is Titus. NTTAWWT.

tim in vermont said...

Anybody ever notice the resemblance between Flo's makeup, and Marilyn Monroe?

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/archive/8/84/20110720223756!Flo_from_Progressive_Insurance.jpg

Skyler said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
edutcher said...

The Rita Hayworth and Jeanne Crain shots were some of the most-copied photos of their time and still have an allure that most of the little girls today who pretend to be "sexy" can't match.

Note, please, Marilyn and Liz didn't have to make faces for the camera to be alluring.

Ann Althouse said...

"No pictures of Sophia Loren? A travesty."

Especially since she posed for what many think was the sexiest LIFE magazine cover photo ever!


I certainly remembered it. O! My college days!

If you keep clicking at that link, you'll see many amazing photos of Loren that were in LIFE. The cover photo that begins the set it very memorable and presumably sexy because of the revealing outfit, but she's even more beautiful in some of the other photos.

There was one of her coming out of a pond after a swim in a very demure one piece swimsuit that, frankly, had the cover beat six ways to Sunday.

PS The oldest war photo is of General John Wool entering Chihuahua City during the Mexican War.

Cedarford said...

Ironic that before photography, the most common "real" image was the death mask. We liked images how how dead people looked, I guess, and that went back to the Romans. Earlier, though, in Greece, sculptors did make casts of faces and limbs for use in statuary...later, for a painter's reference.
And if we go to prehistoric times, we "picture prints" of animal parts and human hands - the original coated with fine charcoal or ocher and pressed against a cave wall or rock outcropping.

William said...

Brigitte Bardot is the only one who got old. Raquel, Fonda, Sophia Loren are frozen in aspic or botox or whatever. It's not just time but the surgeon's scalpel that shapes their features as they slouch towwards senescence. They're not the unravished bride of quietness, but it's not old age either....There is no one to praise Betty Grable's legs. Another generation has gone under the earth.

Christopher in MA said...

Oh, William, thank you! Fool that I was, I forgot Betty Grable. If that picture of her in the bathing suit looking over her shoulder with the sexiest, coyest "wouldn't you love to [insert verb of your choice here] with me?" doesn't give you a Wayne's World "SCHWING!" you're dead, brother.

Darcy said...

We weren't sad. At least I wasn't. Simply disagreed.

blake said...

Sad? No, that's not the right emotional state at all.

Darrell said...

William Henry Harrison.
I smell trouble with "Harry."

sysadmn said...

Here's one for Meade. Cincinnati in 1848, said to be the old known photo of a US city. (I notice they keep adding qualifiers, presumably as the claim is challenged)

http://1848.cincinnatilibrary.org/

Big Mike said...

Today a great many photographers would look at the Life cover picture of Sophia Loren and assert that she's too fat.

I think 21st century glamour photographers -- the women who listen to them -- need to be sent to reeducation camps in Viet Nam.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Thank goodness we didn't have digital photography then. Just think of what society is going to lose because we are enthralled by the easy convenience of digital photographs and computerized documents, when none are ever printed and the computer crashes.

Zip....all those photos, memories and documents....gone. Just pixels in the wind....dudes

Methadras said...

Here here for the hot ladies of yesteryear. Raquel Welch. Oh my.

Methadras said...

The picture of the water polo team looks like it was taken yesterday. And I do have to say that Steve McCool McQueen is still the man. That guy was all sorts of awesome.

bagoh20 said...

"bagoh is Titus"

Sometimes I wish I could find romance and produce art without leaving the men's room, but I just wasn't made that way.