What can we say about Viva Van Story's photos except
WOW! She is among a new generation of female shutter bugs who have brought
new life to the art of pin-up photography. Viva sure has
a knack for making every one her models look larger-than-life and mouth-wateringly
vivacious. What is her secret? Well, find out in this exclusive interview
Java and Viva Van Story.
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Java's Bachelor Pad: I've been a big fan
of your photos for a while. I love the bold and brassy style you have.
Your pictures are very much rooted in the pin-up/cheesecake tradition...but
they're not traditional pin-ups. What's your philosophy when it comes to
Viva Van Story: I think for me it's
about capturing the old Hollywood glamour but with vivid color, like the
old Eyeful Magazine covers. I'd get bored doing the traditional pin-ups
with only solid backdrops. I need more going on in the image to capture
my attention. I also love working with models and performers that are sultry
but still convey some innocence with a certain glance or pose. I look for
voluptuous curves, luscious thighs, and a pert bosom--women who can deliver
playful expressions that get under a man's skin. Isn't that why pinup imagery
is so timeless? I'd like to keep them going strong with my own little twist.
JBP: As you pointed out, you really celebrate
a model's curves. You get up close and chose angles that really bring out
their legs, their hips, the curves in their back, etc... It gives an real
sensual feel to your pictures. I'm assuming this is something you actively
do when you set up a shot. Am I right?
Viva: It's probably because we were
dancing right before I hit the button to take the picture! I want my images
to be very intimate for the viewer. Before I picked up a camera, I used
to draw human anatomy. I studied this in school; I used to draw life-sized
drawings of women, so I guess that's influenced my style now, and my interest
of the human form. It's always been so beautiful to me.
JBP: Nowadays, there's a slew of amazing
women pin-ups photographers. You, Shannon
Brooke, and Danielle Bedics...just
to name a few. And you gals are able to get so much out of your models.
There's this energy you get from them that just isn't there when they sit
for male photographers. It's something I half-jokingly refer to as the
Yeager effect. Do you sense it when you work with your models?
Viva: I'm really no different from the
gals that walk into my studio. We like the same music and we collect
the same things. We're just having fun and playing with ideas and then,
bam! I liked to depict women who are just as strong if not stronger than
the women from the past. I work with women who are raising their
children alone, women who are lawyers, women who own their own businesses.
I look at my images with pride knowing I've captured the subject at their
most confident moment.
JBP: You have photographed some beautiful
women in your time. (Heidi Van
Horne, Sabina, Angela Ryan,
Thomas, etc...) What do you look for in a model? What qualities
do you think makes a good pin-up model?
Viva: I look for the same thing everyone
else is looking for: a beautiful woman. I like working with someone who
can light up the room when she walks in, with a smile and bubbly personality
that can make a grown man weak in the knees. I love models that remind
me of the Hollywood starlets from my old favorite movies.
JBP: Tell me a little about how you started
doing photography. Who were/are you influences?
Viva: As I mentioned before, I used
to draw. Sometimes my pieces took me years to finish, and therefore
I wouldn't want to sell them, not for any price. Photography has given
me the freedom to experiment with different ideas artistically and then
be able to let go of the pieces when I'm finished, for others to enjoy.
I came into photography from the other side of the camera, as a model.
It was my mother who actually bought me my first camera. I hope someday
I can repay her with a nice pink Cadillac in return for all her support
over the years. I think the artists from the golden era of pin-up were
all brilliant, and love all the different styles: Alberto Vargas,
Moran, Art Frahm, Peter Driben, Rolf Armstrong
and Gil Elvgren.
JBP: What's sorts of things can we expect
from you in the future? Do you sense your style changing at all? What sorts
of things really turn you on right now?
Viva: I'm working on perfecting my images.
I almost want them to look like paintings instead of photography. I also
have to credit my make-up Artist, Deigh Roxxx. She adds so much
to the retro look with her fabulous skills for glamour make-up. We're a
good team, with her make-up and my vintage hairstyles. My favorite things
to work with right now are the old cars, switchblades and pistols.
I love the images with a pulp feel.
JBP: You've got a website launch coming
up soon, right? What can we expect at
is scheduled to go live in 2006. I'm very excited about it.
I really looked into website designers for this project. It's kind of like
getting a tattoo: it has to be perfect and fit my style. It's not going
to be your basic cheesecake pin-up site: it's going to represent today's
pin-ups with a bit more attitude than the ones of the past.