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Retro Pin-up Photographer Lesley Slenning:

Photo by Lesley Slenning
     Hot rods and hot women...that's what you'll find in the photos of Lesley Slenning. Not a bad combination if you ask us. Slenning is part of the group of modern female pin-up photographers who are doing some of the most exciting cheesecake photos seen today. Her models include some of our favorite Modern Femme Fatales from Heidi Van Horne (above) to three of our Cheesecake Queens (Gigi Valiant, Kay O'Hara, and Asia DeVinyl).
     Here now is an exclusive Java's Bachelor Pad interview with Lesley Slenning.

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Java's Bachelor Pad: If no one knew about you and your style, I guess the name of your website Hot Rod Dolls says it all. For you, where is the intersection of down and dirty hot rod and biker culture and pin-up glamour? 

Lesley Slenning: Honestly, I look at them as two separate things. Although I do shoot models with motorcycles for promotional stuff, when it comes to photographing the biker culture it's a whole 'nother world to me. When capturing that life, there is no other way to do it then by getting on a bike and living it. When you are traveling on the back of a rigid with a camera around your neck for several hundred miles a day, pin-up glamour in no way plays a part in that. Shooting Betties next to custom bikes is just that. Capturing life on the road is a different experience.

JBP: How did you get started? Did the hot rod side come first or was it the pin-up side.
LS: It was neither of those really. I started getting into photography by taking pictures of my experiences on the road riding. As time went on I found myself with a nice collection of photos. I discovered the Internet world and decided to teach myself how to build websites. So eventually I created a website showcasing my photos. As time went on I found myself wanting to explore more with my camera. The pin-up thing kind of happened by accident. I did a pin-up style shoot for a bike shop called Shaggy's Customs with a model by the name of Asia DeVinyl. I have always loved classic cars and pin-ups, so I think it just all fell into place and I was hooked after that.
JBP: Your pictures have a very mischievous quality to them­whether it's Heidi Van Horne taking a bath in your sink or Gigi Valiant and Kay O'Hara talking through tin can telephone. Where does this come from? Why do you feel it's important to add this quality to your photos?
LS: I am a very dorky person by nature. I like to laugh and be silly. I feel that there is way to many depressing things in the world, so I like to add some fun to my photographs. My brain is on overdrive all the time. I am not exactly sure where half these ideas come from. I just know that spending time in my head is interesting.

JBP: Who inspires you? Are these classic photographers to look to? How about modern ones?
LS: I am inspired by so many photographers and artists! Of course there are the classic artists out there such as Alberto Vargas and Gil Elvgren. I have a huge list of photographers that inspire me. Mary Ellen Mark, David LaChappelle, Michael Lichter, Helmet Newton, Sacha Dean Biyan, David Perry, and Timothy White just to name a few. I also think there are some fantastic female pin-up photographers out there right now like Shannon Brooke and Danielle Bedics...those girls blow me away!

JBP: For you, what are the characteristics of the ideal model? Does the personality of the model dictate what you do?
LS: For me when it comes to the girls I photograph I am looking for someone that is beautiful and confident in who she is. I am looking for someone that has a great personality, a radiant smile, and an all around great attitude. Personality does dictate what I do. After all, you couldn't just put anyone in your kitchen sink naked.

JBP: Recently, in the JBP Cheesecake Group there was an active discussion about pin-up models and tattoos. Some argued that tattoos have no place in glamour photography while others a beautiful woman is a beautiful woman and that tattoos can enhance that. It seems pretty obvious where you come down on the topic, but I would still like to hear your opinions on the subject.
LS: Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I personally seek out heavily tattooed woman. When it comes to my photography, I am not trying to recreate a past era exactly. I am inspired by classic pin-up photography, and am throwing the world I know into it. So for me, tattoos do enhance that. I respect the fact that some people feel like it doesn't belong, but for me....the more tattoos the better!

JBP: What current projects are you working on?
LS: I've actually been taking a bit of a break from shooting, but plan on getting back into it soon. Right now I am working on a complete revamp of my website. I will have lots of goodies in my store like HotRodDolls t-shirts, posters, and prints. I will be offering private session photo packages very soon as well. So stay tuned for some exciting changes on my site and lots of new photos from me! 

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