“Bernard of Hollywood Pin-Ups: Guide to Pin-Up Photography” – Book Review

Bernard of Hollywood Pin-Ups Guide to Pin-Up Photography Bruno Bernard Cover

Bernard of Hollywood Pin-Ups: Guide to Pin-Up Photography” is a how to guide for glamour pin-up photography first published in 1950.

The current version was edited and re-released in 1999 by Bruno Bernard’s daughter, writer, actress and movie producer, Susan Bernard.

The book is soft cover, about 12 inches by 9 inches, and contains 160 pages.

About half of these pages are filled with text ( written in German, French and English ) and the remainder with plenty of large black and white photographs of Tinsel Town’s Golden Era Starlet hopefuls, … with an occasional soon to be Movie Star thrown in for good measure, …

Most notable in this book?  

While Bernard photographed many stars, and a photo of Robert Mitchum graces the back cover, the young glamour model the world would soon know as Marilyn Monroe appears on page 53 posed on a large circular prop.

Originally born in Switzerland, Bruno Bernard came to Hollywood in 1937 as a refugee who had chosen to flee a war bound Germany.

He used his knowledge of Psychology, learned in German and French Universities, to good effect while photographing people.

After all, what is the creation of beautiful photographs of people if not a form of therapy?

Alberto Vargas was friend and mentor to Bernard and dubbed him “King of Glamour.”

My favorite image in this book is “Early American,” featuring a nude Lili St. Cyr dressed only in a head to floor American Indian Chief’s Feathered Headdress.

This one photo I find stunning and alone worth the price of purchase.

Beyond this, the book has a couple of pages here and there of general instruction on:

  • Models and Moods
  • Costuming and Background
  • Composition and Lighting.

Almost all of the texts not part of the title page in the book are trilingual.

Bernard spoke seven languages altogether…

For the most part, the balance of the book is a one paragraph discussion of the facing pace black and white close to full-page size glamour image.

Most images also include a hand drawn and annotated lighting diagram.

The photos, taken with Bernard’s 5×7 Ansco studio camera, were shot in studio and on locations, like beaches, in Southern California, and usually include some exposure information.

If you enjoy the style of beautiful black and white photographs of pin-ups and glamour from Hollywood’s Golden Era, along with a light touch of “how to,” then “Bernard of Hollywood Pin-Ups: Guide to Pin-Up Photography” may be a nice addition for your library.

You can buy or peruse one by clicking here.


For a listing of Books Reviewed on GlamourPhotography.co, click here.

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One Response to “Bernard of Hollywood Pin-Ups: Guide to Pin-Up Photography” – Book Review

  1. Pingback: ‘Alvarado’s Classic Modern Pin-ups’ by Photographer Robert Alvarado – Book Review | Glamour Photography . CO

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