Like a farm orchard bursting with ripe fruit, or the sea swelling and exploding in love with its own freedom, or the sun smiling on everything and everybody, the ladies in the images of Austrian photographer Victor Lindenborn remind us of the greatest joy of childhood - seeing our first naked woman.
Not since we were kids have we seen such beautiful, bright, happy, sunny, playful, elegant, voluptuous ladies in scenes so carefully set in a universe full of benevolence, feminine poses, thoughtful composition, radiant lighting, natural drama, and 50's movie-star glamour.
Lindenborn, is a master of what is called 'cheesecake' or 'pin-up' photography. I mention this because for some reason, in the modern rush to 'own' the concept of beautiful women in beautiful pictures, many people have forgotten its orginal name, which is cheesecake. And its creators' dueful praises go unsung.
Cheesecake is completely unique, both in purpose and in nature, which may explain why so few people seem to recognize it.
The purpose of cheesecake is to create superlative images of superlative female beauty - not pornography, not fashion, not advertisements - but beauty, period. Not primarily meant to stimulate our bodies or our minds (although it always does both), cheesecake first moves our spirit and stimulates our soul. In its purest form, it gives us a vision of so great a loveliness that we must stare, and upon staring, become sun drunk with all the wondrous emotions - noble and pleasant - that female beauty allows us as human beings.
Only one thing can do this to us. Only those things dearest to us can make us feel so wonderful - only our deepest values can make us feel this way. Somehow, then, in cheesecake, our values must be involved.
To see exactly how, we must look to its origins. Cheesecake photographs have been around a long time and were being made long before Playboy, long before modern supermodels, and certainly long before the web and Body in Mind. It's the kind of image of nude women pioneered in the 40's and 50's by German and Scandinavian photographers in response to demand from American men's girlie, adventure, detective and pulp magazines. In America, perhaps the greatest creator of this type of image was photographer Bunny Yeager, whose images of Bettie Page are a legend, still popular with collectors today. They are images of a pretty woman who is extremely happy to be alive, happy to be a woman, and happy to be naked. They are set in what were for Bettie 'real-life' settings, such as at the beach, or on a boat, or in a field - settings which have unfortunately been copied a hundred thousand times by photographers who could not see that the appealing part of a location was not the specific scene insomuch as it was the fact that Bettie felt at home in it. Thus, what began as realistic shots of Bettie, today have become terribly un-realistic shots of supermodels rolling in the surf on late night TV.
To discover the secret power of cheesecake photography one has merely to look at the images Victor Lindenborn is creating today, not at what is being depicted, but at the feeling that is generated by that depiction. For example, his models, like Bettie Page before them, make us feel that they are happy and carefree, and more: they make us feel that way. Their happy abandon in the nude, revealing no awareness of shame, makes us feel free. And their generous smiles, when pointed right at us, makes us feel worthy of the love of one such as them.
Cheesecake achieves its beauty by capturing our values and projecting them back on us. It creates a scene that is so brilliantly full of our values - things we dearly need to live a life worth living, things like happiness, purpose, freedom, success, sexuality, thoughtfulness, self-esteem and romance - that it shines upon us like an explosion of white light.
This is the key to cheesecake: It is the inclusion of objective values that give cheesecake the power to achieve its purpose, which is quite simply, the creation of beauty. Beauty is the representation of our values, and nothing moves us more.
This is the unique nature of cheesecake, its defining characteristic. It has never been explicitly identified (until now), yet cheesecake photos of legendary beauty have been consistently achieved over the years, due only to the extremely benevolent sense of life, gifted eye, and loyalty to values of its creators.
This is the modern achievement, and the greatness, of Victor Lindenborn.
Victor's work has brought cheesecake back to life for us. Let them do the same for you. Here then is our latest hand-picked gallery of Victor's best images. Enjoy.