The Bettie Pages

From time to time, spanking enthusiasts complain that commercial spanking sites predominantly offer F/F scenes, even though it is widely believed that the most popular orientation is M/F. But this is one case where the economics of the business usually trump the wishes of the consumer. If the central interest of a spanking photograph is the girl on the receiving end, then, given that you have to hire two models, two girls are better value than a man and girl, because the girls can switch. It has been ever thus, in general pin-up photography as well as in specialist spanking material: the legendary sleaze photographer Irving Klaw took a multitude of shots of Bettie Page spanking other women and being spanked by them, but is there even a single picture showing her across a man’s knee?

The phenomenon is illustrated by the photographers in this bumper installment of the series. The first is Riley Kern, who is based in Orange County and Los Angeles. Her work features regularly on magazine covers and she has a particular interest in photographing fighters, but she also shoots a lot of retro material, often in the ‘Bettie Page’ style.

Let’s meet her first two models. Gina Georgette is a rockabilly singer as well as a pin-up model:

01 Gina Georgette

And Kim Falcon also works as a marketer:

02 Kim Falcon03 Kim Falcon port

And with a rear view like that, maybe the temptation was just too much for Gina:

04 Riley Kern

But retribution swiftly followed:

05 Riley Kern 2

For me, the weakness of this subtly lit and distinctively shot photo lies in the fact that Gina’s feet haven’t left the ground: she’s not fully under Kim’s control and could get up and walk away if she really had a mind to it. We’ll return to the issue of positioning later on, but it won’t be a problem with Riley’s other foray into spanking.

Once again, let’s first meet the models. Here’s Lourdes Dodds, who is also, as you might have guessed, a tattoo artist.

06 Lourdes Dodds P

Here’s Sarah West:

07 Sarah West 2a08 Sarah West a

And here’s what Lourdes did to Sarah on April 10, 2009:

09 riley kern110 Riley Kern

Some issues are starting to emerge now, which we’ll punctuate with some more photos in the same style, but of various periods and unknown origin.

11

Why are the girls wearing only their underwear?

BP 2

Why exactly is the spanking taking place?

14

How does one not obviously muscular girl take across her knee another girl who’s of similar size or even bigger?

These are all, quite simply, the wrong questions to be asking. The ‘Bettie Page spanking shot’ is effectively a distinct genre, with recurring elements and its own operating principles, and it doesn’t do to apply real-life logic too rigorously. You don’t watch a thriller and ask why it is that the cop car always finds somewhere to park right next to the bank that’s just been heisted: it’s just a genre convention that lets the movie get on with its real business, irrespective of what would happen in the real world. Likewise, you don’t look at a ‘Bettie Page spanking shot’, either a 1950s Klaw original or one by a modern exponent of the genre, and wonder how and why the girls come to be doing what they are doing, dressed as they are. The real reason, of course, is that the content of the photo is dictated by outside considerations: the girls are in their underwear because there are guys out there who like looking at girls in their underwear, and one of the girls is getting spanked by the other because those guys also like seeing girls get spanked. The point of the photo lies in what they are doing, irrespective of how and why they might be doing it.

As I said earlier, a switch of roles during the shoot may add variety. Sometimes, contrary to what I’ve just said, the practicalities even seem to be thought through just a little. Here’s a turnabout sequence from Angelize Photography of Sacramento, California, taken on July 12, 2009. The photographer’s professional name is Angel Coma, and she’s mainly interested in shooting dark, eerie and kitsch subjects. I’m guessing that what Carma is doing to Mischa here comes under the heading of kitsch:

15

Now it’s Mischa’s turn, but the photographer and models have cunningly sidestepped the issue of whether she would really want, or be able, to sit down to the task:

16

Baltimore-based Atomic Cheesecake Studios, whose photographer is Stacey Barich, seem to have had the same idea. Stacey specializes in pin-up work, often recreating the concepts and poses of the classic pin-up artists of the 1940s and 50s, and all of her models are unpaid amateurs. So let’s hope these girls, doing a shoot on August 22, 2008, are enjoying themselves!

1718

In each of those examples, for my money, the first of the pair is much more attractive than the second … but then I’m an OTK purist. Maybe that’s why I never found the original Bettie Page spanking photos as appealing as I ought to have done. One of the problems I always had with them is poor positioning, which now regularly crops up in modern versions too. Take this British example by Stanwick-based Steve Smith, with Victoria Plum spanking Betty Havoc:

19

Or this one by Mike Saffels of Burbank, California, featuring redhead Lucy O’Doll only three quarters across the lap of blonde Katherine Knox in a shot from a series called ‘Mashup at Wonderland’, referring to the firm that made the corset:

20

Or this, by Michael Enoches of Kearny, New Jersey, with unknown models but explicitly entitled a ‘Bettie Page Tribute’:

Michael Enoches Photography 10321504_857506327597671_4849545890927474682_o

Or this one, of unknown origin, which is a rarity in that the spanked Bettie impersonator isn’t wearing black panties:

21

My point is not that these are bad photographs. Technically speaking, they are good photographs, and they are also good ‘Bettie Page photographs’ in that they catch some of the distinctive, recurring oddities of the Bettie Page OTK pose. And that makes them, regrettably, bad spanking photographs. But that’s nothing for the photographers to feel ashamed of – it’s probably not what they were aiming for anyway!

Yet the OTK positioning isn’t uniformly poor in this genre. Here’s a well posed example by Jessica Evans of Breda in the Netherlands. It belongs to a series entitled ‘Being Bettie’ that she shot in 2011 for the first issue of Et Alors?, the Dutch gay magazine, and it was the picture given the honor of the center pages:

22

Scissor legs, all four limbs off the floor, and a look of consternation on her face: the model who’s being Bettie, Dena Massque, has really done us proud. (The other model, incidentally, is called Rachael V.)

The best way to see the hit-or-miss nature of the Bettie Page spanking genre, however, is to look at a whole run of spanking shots by a single photographer from a single shoot for a single series. And so the spotlight falls on Patrick Coddington, who works out of Tacoma up in Washington state, and who did a ‘Bettie Page spanking’ shoot on August 17, 2011, for the debut issue of the Seattle fetish magazine Poisoned Apple:

23

(OK, OK, they called it a ‘bondage catfight’, but it’s the spanking that interests us!)

Let’s meet the models. First there’s Rikki Ratchet, who calls herself ‘the pin-up pixie’. In the shoot, she’ll be wearing the blonde wig you see in the third picture.

24 Rikki Ratchet25 Rikki Ratchet

25a Rikki Ratchet

And the owner of the black pantied bottom you’ve already been admiring is, as the magazine cover says, Melanie Lacy:

26 Melanie Lacy27 Melanie Lacy28 Melanie Lacy

This is another turnabout sequence, but this time neither girl seems to have any trouble sitting down to put the other across her lap. Who knows, maybe Rikki just isn’t a very efficient spanker. You might not think so from that lovely expression on Melanie’s face (great work, Melanie!), but on the other hand, for a sustained seat-warming session the OTK positioning here could hardly be worse!

29 Coddington30 Coddington

But it’s astonishing to see how, when it comes to Rikki’s turn in the prone position, the same photographer and the same models can go from something so inept to something that’s really rather sublime…

31 Coddington

…only to drift back into the second-rate as Rikki’s spanking continues:

32 Coddington

Maybe Rikki’s right arm got tired … after all, she had previously been using it for spanking!

So from a spanking point of view, it’s an erratic, inconsistent shoot, weak and strong by turns. But that’s really not the fault of Patrick Coddington or his models. If Irving Klaw had been a better spanking photographer, and if he’d set a better example for his latter-day followers, I suspect we’d all have a lot more material to be happy about. As it is, we’ve got good technical photography, but content that doesn’t always hit the mark.

But although I’ve been quite critical of the genre and its limitations, I have to end by repeating that these are all excellent and talented photographers. If you are interested in their work, please visit their websites: Riley Kern, Angelize, Atomic Cheesecake, Steve Smith, Mike Saffels , Michael Enoches and Jessica Evans. (Patrick Coddington does not appear to have a website.) You can find further spanking photos by Michael Enoches here.

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