Pin Up Girls / by Larry Saavedra

Image copyright Larry Saavedra

Image copyright Larry Saavedra

Believe it or not, the history of pin-up girls goes way back to the 1800s.

Pin-up models have been used by photographers and artists for centuries and for all intents and purposes, it has worked to get mostly men to look at advertisements, or stories of products.

While it might be a shameless way of promoting goods and services, the idea behind the pin-up model is actually very clever. If an advertiser can get you to look at their pin-up model on a calendar, poster or magazine ad then it did its job. That's the purpose behind using models, the more eye-balls the advertiser can reach, the better.

Yet, does it send the wrong message? Is it old school? Chauvinistic? Absolutely. But marketers continue to use pin-up models, just look at Sports Illustrated's yearly Swimsuit issues.

I've photographed hundreds of models with cars and car products for dozens of national newsstand magazines, and it was always considered an essential part of the niche magazine automotive publishing business. But by about the mid-1990s, I decided to stop using models with my photography and stories.

The reason behind my sudden departure was basically this; I had other opinions as to what car guys wanted to see, and what I wanted readers to understand about the subject.

For me and other automotive journalists, the change from pin-up photography worked, and even without pin-ups or models, the stories I published were widely popular with readers because they were more interested in the cars or products being featured than the models. They were the nerds of the car world, pin-ups became a distraction from the real substance of the story.

But few can argue with the fact that if you want to cater to the broadest national or global market, sometimes a little help from a beautiful, fit model (male or female) can do wonders in return.