robertalvarado | SmugMug

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Glamour portraits from the golden age of Hollywood have a new champion for this style of classic pinup photography. Robert Alvarado is a recent and highly talented photographer who is rejuvenating the pinup style of the classic eras. As a relatively new player in the photography field, Alvarado is currently flying and photographing under the radar. He is one of the most professional photographers on the acclaimed Model Mayhem website and is only starting to gain the recognition he most certainly deserves.

The origin of pinups really was the “Vargas Girls” – models and Hollywood stars of the 1940’s painted by Alberto Vargas, featured in Esquire Magazine and later painted on WWII aircraft. At this same time, Gil Elvgren began photographing glamorous pinups and his technicolor fantasies of the American Dream were just the thing for America in its post depression low. Considered the “Norman Rockwell of cheesecake”, Elvgren’s photographs enhanced with painting, created gorgeous and unreal images of women with “longer legs, more flamboyant hair and gravity defying busts”. These images were morale boosting for the homesick fighting G.I..’s. In the 1940’s and 50’s, “Bernard of Hollywood” became a sought after photographer of stars and starlets including Jayne Mansfield, and Brigitte Bardot. During this time, a little known face, Norma Jean Baker, who later became the icon Marilyn Monroe, posed naked for photographer Tom Kelley. It was Playboy’s first publication in 1953 and posing on red velvet sheets Marilyn was quoted as having “nothing on but the radio” Playboy continued the monthly pinup special and the medium found its way into everyday Americana.

Robert Alvarado credits exposure to these images of the 1950’s during his critical adolescent years. Taking these “vintage type shots” and turning those memories into an art form has become the “biggest passion” in his life right now. He sites great influences from photographers Gil Elvgren, Alberto Vargas, and Olivia plus Norman Rockwell in their images, color and beautiful women. Alvarado has been taking photographs all his life but has only begun doing so professionally in the last six years. Alvarado seems to humbly enjoy this passion and be truly appreciative that others value it. Describing himself as a regular guy just doing what he loves, Alvarado quotes Michelangelo in saying: “I am a poor man and of little worth, who is laboring in the art that God has given me in order to extend my life as long as possible”. He brings a refreshing enthusiasm to his newest vocation and claims he is “like a big kid when he’s photographing someone.”

Alvarado’s style involves individual models in poses, often reminiscent of the classic 1940’s, in clothes, lingerie or tastefully nude looking directly at the camera. The color, form and style of the images have an allure that captivates onlookers and confounds fellow photographers. It is a process he has been developing through trial and error for over a year until he created the look he desired. Blogs on photography sites beg for hints on how he achieves his look. They suggest software? filters? plug ins? to create the flat color of the images with the pop out shine of some of the models’ key features.

Robert Alvarado is destined to be the next big name in model portrait photography. His classic pinup style with respectful nods to photographers of yester-year, brings innovative techniques and images to the photography and fashion of the twenty-first century.



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