50s and Burlesque with Frankii Wilde

Some of my friends will find this hard to believe, but I wasn’t around in the 1950s.  Two of my elder brothers were, but I made it to 1960, right at the start of the swinging era.  It was also an area of change, away from the austere post war gloom and into the psychedelic age, lots of colours, mini skirts and flowers in your hair.   I did the colours, or rather my Mum did the colours for me, but thankfully she never forced me to wear skirts of any kind, nor did I do flowers in my hair.   I know that because my childhood memories are still reasonably good, I just can’t remember what I did 10 minutes ago.

I recall that back then nothing was instant, you had to wait for everything.   I also remember that my Mum and Dad had to work very hard to keep my younger brother and me warm, clothed and fed, something they did brilliantly.  There were no frills in the house, everything was functional and very 1950s.   New things were sacrificed for us but that was accepted by them.  We had staid 1950s furniture right through to the mid to late 60s when they were replaced.  My Dad had a magnificent gramaphone in a solid wood case that stood about 4 foot tall, and we had a marvellous black and white mono wood TV that took ages to work because all of the valves had to warm up before a picture was produced.  At the end of the evening’s broadcast, around 11pm each night, the clunky rotary switch was turned to the off position and the picture disappeared to be replaced by an ever diminishing dot in the centre of the tube.  It was wonderful and I was fascinated.

The fascination for that time has stayed with me as I’ve got older.   I love doing retro shoots, I’ve done a few terrific sets with Claire Oldfield, a lovely young lady who lives that period.  You can imagine my delight then when I saw a casting call from Frankii for a shoot at a studio not too far away from me.   I jumped at the chance of a two hour slot.

Frankii W-8736Frankii simply exudes 50s glamour, everything about her is perfect.  Superbly styled hair and an authentic wardrobe right down to the soles of her shoes.   It’s always such a good feeling when, as a photographer, you get to work with someone who so good at her work, and Frankii is very, very good.   From the shortest of briefings we both knew what we wanted to achieve and got on doing it.   We worked through a number of costume changes and different styles, and each and every time I got the shot that I wanted and more besides.


The two shots here show a glimpse Frankii’s versatility.  The first is a cheeky 50s glamour pin-up style, the exaggerated pose and the flash of stocking top scream out 50s pin-up.  Gil Elvegren would have no doubt painted in a prop or two, but I love that style.  The other shot is much more a straightforward portrait, but look at Frankii’s styling.   Magnificent hair and perfect make-up reminiscent of Veronica Lake at her finest.  A beautiful lady in a portrait shot that I’m so very pleased with.

For me, the sign of a good shoot is how long the editing takes.   Frankii W-8781I’m still working on a number of images over a week since we did the shoot, because I have so many to choose from.  I can only include two here, but I will add a link at the bottom of this page to my site where you will be able to see many more shots when I have finished editing.












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