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Retro Pin-up Photographer Winkytiki:

Photo by Winkytiki
  Classic pin-up photography is making a comeback (although to many of us it never left). Check any mainstream magazine and you're bound to see examples of classic cheesecake. One retro photographer, who is really tops in our books, is Octavio Arizala--otherwise known as Winkytiki. It's not uncommon to see his models posed next to tiki idols or next to a big conga drum or laid across a swank davenport. He's got that classic vibe down pat. But Winkytiki not strictly a retro act. He also can hold his own against any modern girlie photographer out there. Java's Bachelor Pad got ahold Winkytiki recently for this exclusive interview:

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Java's Bachelor Pad: How did you get into pinup photography? Were you trained professionally or was it a hobby that went out of control?

Winkytiki: I've always been an admirer of pinup magazines-though my intro to photography was in my interest in vintage cars. I'd go to the car shows here in southern california and I'd notice that many Rods and Kustoms were owned and maintained by Girls. So I started taking photos of these hot rod betties with their cool cars. Next thing you know, I find myself photographing them in skimpy outfits...sans car. (Don't ask me how I scammed my way into this.)
I am self taught with help of photographer friends. So every day is a new learning experience...I'd say it's a hobby turning into the Tasmanian devil!!

JBP: Are there photographers that you model yourself after?

W: Yes, For sure...though I don't know their names. I just love the photography on Hi Fi record covers and maybe that's why many of my photos are theme oriented. I do admire cats like Peter Gowland and Bruno Bernard. I also love the photographs by the "camera club" amateurs of the 50's and 60's.

JBP: What do you look for in a pinup model? Would you rather have a gal who knows something about retro style or would you rather have someone who is a "blank slate"?

W: It depends...I love the spontaneity and playfulness of the Retro gals who live the scene. They just love their clothes and know every pose in the book. It's kinda like playing dressup. Plus they already have their wardrobe and hair and all you gotta do is snap away. But you're limited to what she has to offer modelwise- which is great if you simply wanna capture that raw energy.
"Blank Slate" girls are a bit more flexible in the sense that you can create whatever character you come up with and if they're experienced models, squeeze more out of them from a work perspective.. I guess it all depends on the master plan.

JBP: Your photos cover a range of genres. You have styles from the 40's, 50's, 60's and today...and you have classic cheesecake, hollywood glamour, costume photos, etc...How do you approach each of these styles?

W: Each of these styles have their challenges...'specially from a styling and technical point of view. Though I take many liberties and just flow with a basic idea--which means I may photograph a model with 40's hollywood glamour in mind though she may be covered in tattoos and sport a mohawk. Or I may shoot a girl "maxim" style but she's wearing a bullet bra. I'm not a purist. I like mixing things up.

JBP: Along the same lines, there is always a fierce debate on whether a pin-up photographer actually helps or hurts society. What is your take on this? Are we turning women into into objects or are we celebrating them?

W: You mean am I a Pig? Hehe...it all depends on who's looking.
I love women...all kinds of gals. And love capturing the "it" that makes them beautiful--whether they're 6 ft tall models or 4'9" neighbourhood betties. 

JBP: What would you say is the overall message that you try to convey in your photos?

W: It would simply be, "Hey, check out this pretty girl!!" What I do is actually pretty irrelevant to society. It ain't art...just entertainment. There are photographers out there in warzones bringing us images that can make a difference in our lives. I'm just happy if anyone enjoys any of my photos.

JBP: How do you plan your shots? Do you pre-plan poses or do you just let things happen?

W: I do a lot of planning. Even before I load film in the camera I already have an idea of what the final photo is gonna look like. Of course, everything ends up being different than planned anyways as I'm very interactive with the model and new ideas come up. If I wanted everything my way, I might as well go to the morgue and pose cadavers as pinups. 

JBP: How hard is it to be a hipster photographer? What outlets do you have? Have you banded with others of your ilk?

W: Me? Hipster? You probably don't know what I look like haha..but thanks!!
There's not too many of us that do this...yet. And we pretty much all know each other one way or another. Like a good ole' boy network. Though I'm starting to see some fresh faces starting do do pinup which I think is fantastic. I love exchanging ideas with others of my...uh..."ilk."

JBP: Is there a method to your madness?

W: Yeah, it's called the "GOGO bar"--I love it there and many a photoshoot idea comes up after spending every dime I don't got watching the ladies shake their groove thing.

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