if the name bettie page doesn't ring a bell, you may probably be better acquainted with a string of sexy sirens that currently mimick her style. as a model page shot to fame through saucy pin-up photos. this was in the 1950s, in the notorious mccarthy era, and as a consequence page's snapshots were regarded as obscene and declared illegal. in 1957 photographer irving klaw was barred from continuing any further ventures of this nature. legal action forced him to destroy the majority of these negatives, however his sister paula klaw managed to discretely save what remains today. it was in fact paula who was the photographer for the majority of the images produced, and bettie page was her favorite subject.
recently opened at paris london hong kong gallery in chicago is picture page, an exhibition of select images by irving and paula klaw from the archives of movie star news. the interesting show features paula’s photographs in a different light, including both outtakes and working shots. the viewer as voyeur paradigm shifts in these images and an insight into a personal relationship between artist and subject is revealed. the images take on a different tone with bettie page in a position of power and control, rather than their original intention of sexual objectification. utilizing a contemporary lens, paula’s photography seems distant from their initial context once declared obscene by a senate subcommittee [on through aug 31]. location: 845 west washington boulevard [west loop].