Gerry Low
- Here we have a New York portrait, fashion, glamour and figure photographer whose work was published in quite a few photography magazines and photo digests of the late 50s and early 60s, but so far, I have found no biographical information on him. If any readers have some info on Gerry Low, please contact me.

Low worked in a well-equipped midtown studio where he concentrated on creating what he called "fashion portraits". For many years, typical fashion photos had concentrated on showing the product being publicized, with little or no emphasis on the model under the fashion. Low's fashion pictures illustrated the idea that the face, figure and beauty of the model could be important elements in heightening the attractiveness of clothing. Therefore, one of the most important elements of a Low "personality in fashion" photo was, obviously, a very beautiful model. In essence, his fashion photographs were a mix of portrait, fashion and glamour.

In terms of being published, 1957 was a pretty big year for Gerry Low, as his photos appeared in several periodicals such as Classic Photography (Spring and Summer issues), Master Photography (Summer issue) and Salon Photography ("Metal Nudes" by Gerry Low). In 1959, his photographs accompanied articles in the photo digests Good Photography ("Beauty Portraits" by Gerry Low) and Salon Photography ("Hair" by Gerry Low), and in a 1960 edition of Good Photography, photos by Mr. Low illustrated an article entitled "Figure Photography from Famous Sculpture".

Master Photography (Summer 1957) with an article on Gerry Low's Fashion Portraits
Classic Photography (Summer 1957) with an article entitled "In a Low Key: A new portfolio of Gerry Low portraits"

In addition to the articles mentioned above, Gerry Low's nudes and glamour portraits were frequently featured in all of the Whitestone photo books (Good Photography, Candid Photography, Prize Winning Photography and Salon Photography) throughout the late 1950s and early 60s. Most of Low's photographs seemed to have been taken in his studio, but one of his rare outdoor glamour photos can be seen here.

Camera equipment used by Gerry Low included the medium format Hasselblad F equipped with a Zeiss-Sonnar lens. Low preferred Panatomic-X film for portrait work due to the fact that it had almost no grain when developed (for development, he used D-76 for twelve minutes).

I hope to have more information on this photographer in the future.



 

Burr Jerger - Burr Jerger is a bit of a mystery to me as I have very little information on his early life other than that he was born on Sept. 6, 1917 in Chicago, Illinois. A hint as to his early years before becoming a photographer can be found in the December 1961 issue of Modern Man: "A veteran of show biz, graduate of University of Chicago law school, Jerger was a teacher until his hobby of photographing medical operations earned him national attention. Then he turned his full time to cameras with the result that today he is one of Hollywood's most successful glamour photogs."

I first became aware of Burr Jerger while reading the 1959 issue of Candid Photography, which featured an article by Mr. Jerger entitled "Glamour in Nature", which was illustrated with seven of his photos. More of Jerger's photography could be found in the 1959 Fawcett book Photographing Glamour with a chapter penned by him called "Glamour As An Art".

Photographing Glamour (1959) which featured a chapter of Burr Jerger's glamour photos.
 


A further result of my collecting glamour books and magazines from the 1950s and 60s led me to finding several more articles by Burr Jerger, including "Art With A Corroded Lens" (Figure Photography and Darkroom Guide - July 1957) and "Famous Faces" (Salon Photography - 1957).

Glamour models photographed by Burr Jerger included Valerie French, Shirley Falls (March 1959 issue of Caper), Ginny Caldwell, Jean Coleman, Kay Elhardt and Carol Morris (winner of the 1957 Miss Universe Pageant).

In addition to glamour, Mr. Jerger also took candid photos of many of the top Hollywood stars of the day, including Judy Garland, Clark Gable, Anne Bancroft, Jane Russell, Raymond Massey, Jean Simmons, John Wayne, Buster Keaton, Robert Mitchum, Bob Hope, Ernest Borgnine, Debbie Reynolds and Robert Cummings.

Camera equipment used by Mr. Jerger included the medium format Rolleicord and Rolleiflex cameras as well as some 35mm. For B&W film, he used Kodak (Tri-X, etc.) and some Gevaert Gevapan 27, which was made in Belgium. For 35mm color, he often used Kodachrome.

In 1961, Burr Jerger left the United States and moved to Europe, where he worked as a freelance reporter for Show Business Illustrated, Ebony, and Globe Photos. He also served as assistant director on a few French films (uncredited) and appeared as an actor in Captain Sinbad (1963). In 1966, he moved to Belgium, where he would write, direct and star in his own film, General Massacre, a controversial independent feature that never received authentic distribution. In 1973, he left Belgium and went back to Paris, and later to the United States, where he once again worked as a freelance reporter/photographer.

Burr Jerger passed away on May 12, 1982 in Westminster, California following a long illness. He was 64 years old.






Frank Eck photographs Marilyn Maher in his Manhattan studio. Some of the photos would appear in the June 1958 issue of Hi-Life magazine.




Frank Eck - Frank Eck was a New York photographer who shot quite a bit of glamour in the late 50s and early 60s - he photographed six Playboy Playmates during that time period - but there is scant information published about him, either in magazines and books at the time, or on the internet. Because of this, I am asking any readers who have some information on this talented photographer to contact me (see the "contact me" page).

The first magazine that I could find which featured the glamour photography of Frank Eck was the June 1958 issue of Hi-Life magazine. Frank was the subject of another photographer, John Duillo, who captured him at work in his Manhattan studio shooting two different models - Marilyn Maher and Teddy Martin. In addition to this, Frank photographed Zahra Norbo for the cover of the first issue of Venus magazine (1958) and Sharon Bujese for the cover and pictorial inside the Jan. 1959 issue of Scamp magazine. 


Frank Eck photographed Zahra Norbo for the cover of Venus magazine (1958)
Sharon Bujese on the cover of the Jan. 1959 issue of Scamp magazine. Photographed by Frank Eck.


Also in 1959, Frank sold two Playmate of the Month layouts to Playboy magazine. They were of Clayre Peters (Miss Aug. 1959) and Elaine Reynolds (Miss Oct. 1959). Hugh Hefner himself was on the set of Miss Reynolds centerfold shoot. Over the next four years, Frank Eck sold one layout each year to the magazine: Elaine Paul (Miss Aug. 1960), Lynn Karrol (Miss Dec. 1961), Roberta Lane (Miss April 1962) and Adrienne Moreau (Miss March 1963). All of the above Playmates were from the New York City area.

Roberta Lane on the cover of the April 1962 issue of Playboy. Frank Eck photographed her Playmate of the Month layout inside the magazine.
 

The same year that his last Playmate pictorial appeared in Playboy, another of Frank Eck's New York models, Faye Symms, appeared in back to back issues of Modern Man magazine. In the January 1963 issue of Modern Man, one photo of Miss Symms was published in the Modern Art for Men section of the magazine and in the February 1963 issue, a four page layout by Frank Eck (in the Doll of the Month section) featured seven photos of Faye Symms.

Camera equipment used by Frank Eck included a medium format camera (probably a Rolleiflex) and an 8x10 camera, which he used for his Playmate centerfolds.

At this time, I haven't seen any additional glamour photos by Frank Eck, but I did learn that Frank took candid photos of stars such as Barbra Streisand for The Players Showcase magazine during the mid 60s and also photographed an auto race for an article entitled "North American Racing Team" in the June 1964 issue of Escapade magazine.

As mentioned earlier, if any readers have any biographical information on Mr. Eck, please contact me!




 

Luandre Furia - Luandre Furia was still a comparative newcomer to glamour photography when a selection of his photos were featured in the 1957 edition of Best Photography. The editors of the book particularly noted his knack for finding beautiful models.

Born in New York City on June 24, 1928, Luandre Furia was raised in an atmosphere close to the theater. His mother, Emily Furia, was a concert and opera singer. Because of this background, he always felt close to people in the entertainment field. He even studied drama for awhile when he first arrived in Hollywood.

Equipped with a twin-lens reflex camera that he obtained at a bargain, Furia discovered that it was a natural entre for him in Hollywood circles, and he began asking various starlets if they would mind posing for him. One instance of Furia approaching a prospective model was recounted by Playboy's Miss August 1956, Jonnie Nicely, in The Playmate Book (1996): "I was 18 when I met a photographer by the name of Lou Furia at a dance at the Inglewood Recreation Center. He wanted to know if I'd like to model. Then I got a call from Hal Adams to do a Hartog ad, and sometime after that he (Mr. Adams) asked me if I wanted to pose for Playboy."

A portfolio of Luandre Furia's photo work was published in the 1957 edition of Best Photography. The cover was shot by Peter Gowland.
 

In choosing models, Mr. Furia always liked to work with a girl who was ambitious to further her career. Such a model, he reasoned, always worked harder and was more willing to use her imagination in creating different and appealing poses.

Furia preferred natural settings to studios, often photographing a girl in the familiar and intimate surroundings of her own apartment or home. Once the location was decided upon, he would take as many as a couple of hundred different shots of the model in various poses and dress, perhaps obtaining a dozen or so really outstanding photos that had strong, immediate appeal to an editor or viewer.

Some of Luandre Furia's models included Laurette Luez, Jan Harrison, Sharon Walton, Beverly Montgomery, Carol Grace, June Svedin (Miss Washington in the 1956 Miss USA contest), Colleen O'Sullivan and Gale Robbins.

According to Best Photography (1957): "Furia loves his work and he expects to continue to specialize in the field of photographing beautiful, fresh-looking women."

Luandre Furia passed away on Nov. 28, 2002 in Los Angeles, California. He was 74 years old. If any readers know of Mr. Furia's activities in the 1960s, 70s, etc., please let me know.



 

Jon Pownall - Jon Pownall was a Chicago-based photographer, commercial director and filmmaker during the 1960s. When he decided to enter the field of glamour photography in the early 60s, it was natural for him to sell his photos to two men's magazines that were based in the area: Playboy (Chicago, IL) and Rogue (Evanston, IL).

Jon Pownall was born on Aug. 12, 1934 in Maryland, but the family later moved back to his mother's hometown of Sanford, Maine. At the age of 12 or 13, Jon received his first camera, a Brownie, as a gift from his mother. After graduating from high school, Jon moved to New York to attend Rochester Institute of Technology with the goal of becoming a photographer. At RIT, Jon met his wife Jean, and after they received their associate degrees, they moved to Chicago so Jon could finish college. They opened their studio shortly after Jon graduated in 1956/57. In their photography business, Jon and Jean were a team, with Jean doing the make-up on their models, buying props for ads and commercials and making meals for their clients.

In the early 60s, the Pownalls bought and remodeled a 3 story brick building at 918 W. Armitage in Chicago. The first floor was offices, a darkroom, a large studio area and a loading dock at the rear of the building. The 2nd floor had an editing room and a kitchen/living room/dining room to entertain clients. The basement had a projection room/theater and the family lived on the 3rd floor. It was while they were located in this building that Jon and Jean photographed the majority of their glamour work for Playboy and Rogue magazines.

Jon Pownall's first and only Playmate layout for Playboy magazine featured one of my all time favorite centerfolds. It was of Avis Kimble (Miss Nov. 1962).

The cover of the Jan. 1963 issue of Playboy magazine, which features a cropped version of Jon Pownall's centerfold of Avis Kimble (lower left).
 

During 1963, Mr. Pownall shot two covers for Rogue magazine (May and October) as well as three layouts inside the magazine. The first layout was a five page pictorial called "The History of Glamour" in the May issue, the second was the centerspread of Marion Anders (The Rogue Girl) in the August issue and the third was the four page pictorial "Rogue Throws A Yachting Party" in the December issue.

For 1964, when Rogue went to six issues per year, Jon Pownall photographed two of the Rogue Girl pictorials: Nina Forrest (January) and Toni-Lee Shelley (October). Toni-Lee Shelley gained notoriety for being arrested in Chicago for indecent exposure after she wore a topless bathing suit at a public beach.


Jon Pownall shot the cover for the May 1963 issue of Rogue magazine. Inside the magazine is a five page pictorial by Mr. Pownall called "The History of Glamour".
The cover of the October 1963 issue of Rogue magazine, photographed by Jon Pownall.

Camera equipment used by Pownall included the medium format Hasselblad, a Rolleiflex, and an 8x10 camera which he used for his Playboy and Rogue centerfolds.

Also during the 1960s, Jon Pownall branched out into directing TV commercials (for McDonalds, Bell and Howell, Oldsmobile, etc.) and by the early 70s he was even making his own feature length films. His first film, "Goodbye, Fat Larry", produced in 1970/'71, went unreleased.

In 1971, Jon moved his family - his wife Jean and three children - to Sanford, Maine and began preproduction on his second film, "The Salem Six". By August 1973, he had cast his film and was ready to start filming when, on August 31, he was shot to death by an unknown assailant at the film studio's office in Portland. Before long, it was discovered that someone had recently taken out $400,000 worth of life insurance on Jon. According to Lynda Pownall-Carlson (Jon's daughter) on her gofundme page, the motive for her father's murder was the insurance money and the appropriate people were put on trial, but were acquitted.

Today, Lynda Pownall-Carlson is trying to raise funds to be able to digitize her father's photos and film work. If you would like to contribute, please visit her page.

Jon Pownall was 39 years old at the time of his death. Jean Pownall passed away on September 13, 2012 at the age of 77. It had been her dream of 30 years to fund a movie about the life and death of her beloved husband.

Special thanks to Lynda Pownall-Carlson for providing most of the biographical information contained in this profile.




RBK Photography - I first noticed the glamour photography of RBK when it began to appear on a regular basis in the Modern Art for Men section of Modern Man sometime around the January 1963 issue. These two page color spreads in the magazine had usually been reserved for Ron Vogel during the early 60s, but in 1963, RBK began to take over this task. Later, they started to photograph models for the Doll of the Month section of the magazine, as well as being featured in issues of Figure Quarterly magazine (1965, 1967 and 1974).

The name RBK refers to the husband and wife team of Rudy and Blanca Kratochvil. Coming to the U.S. from Europe, the couple established RBK studios in Hollywood and San Francisco in an amazingly short period of time. Although glamour photography was their specialty, they were equally skilled in the fields of commercial, industrial and portrait photography.

When Rudy and Blanca first met in Europe several years earlier, Rudy enjoyed an international reputation for his salon exhibitions in many countries and Blanca was planning a medical career, but she soon became interested in photography and the two joined forces. It was to Rudy's credit that, as a teacher, his star pupil became his equal. According to Blanca: "Photography itself offers such a splendid variety of studies that to be a successful photographer in any field - and especially figure photography - one has to know everything. Besides the camera techniques and lighting, there are things like the basics of choreography and make-up artistry. One should also have a feeling for nature and landscape, in order to blend them together with the beauty of the nude."

Ever since Rudy's graduation from photographic engineering school, his special field of interest lay in the technical and theoretical aspects of the art. He is credited with inventing a special development formula which shortened the color printing process considerably. It was this method that he used at RBK studios in California.

Figure Quarterly (Fall 1965) which featured Nudes of RBK Studios.

Figure Quarterly (Fall 1967) which featured The Nudes of RBK. The cover features model Dorothy Roome


As far as black and white artistic nudes were concerned, one of the Kratochvils' main influences was Andre de Dienes. Several of their outdoor nudes, as seen in Figure Quarterly, show this influence quite clearly. For lighting these nude studies, the Kratochvils commented: "It is our opinion that natural lighting outdoors is greater than any system yet designed by man. That is why we are so reluctant to use any fill-in light when working outdoors. While it is true that sunlight can't be controlled, like artificial light in a studio, nevertheless, the subject within that light can be controlled. By placing the model here and there, a variety of effects may be achieved."

Some of the Kratochvils' glamour models which were featured in Modern Man include: Madlene Lantz (Jan. '63), Heide Miller (July '63), Erika Hausner (Sept. '63), Maria Horstwig (Sept. '64), Dodie Thompson (Oct. '64), Wendy Alexander (Jan. '65), Tina Wood (May '65), Kelly Kaye (Sept. '65), Lilli Shan (Sept. '65), Nancy Peterson (June '67), Erica Brodsky (June '67), Ivanna Reese (Dec. '67),  Linda McAllen (Dec. '67) and Linda Newell (Aug. '69). Their artistic nude models, featured in Figure Quarterly and occasionally in Modern Man, were not named, in order to keep them impersonal.

One of the secrets to the success of the Kratochvils was an untiring devotion to their work. Said Blanca in the Fall 1967 issue of Figure Quarterly: "Neither of us has a hobby, thus all of our spare time is devoted to our life, which is photography."

If any readers know what became of Rudy and Blanca Kratochvil in the last half of the 70s, the 1980s, 90s, etc., please contact me so that I may update this profile!










Donald Klumpp at 
the age of 23 or 24





Donald Klumpp - Donald Klumpp was a Texan who arrived in Los Angeles in 1959 and shot glamour and nudes to help pay his way through the famed Art Center School. He was an almost immediate success and was published in several magazines and books. After graduation, he returned to Texas in 1963 and set up a studio in Houston. It was there that, six years later, he would photograph Jean Bell (Miss Oct. 1969) for Playboy magazine.

Donald Gene Klumpp was born on Sept. 8, 1935 (although one source lists his birthday as Sept. 5) in Texas. At the age of 19, he enlisted in the service. For the first two years, he "floundered around, looking for a medium of the arts that I would like - and yet provide me with a good income." Klumpp settled on photography shortly after purchasing his first camera. Having taught himself the fundamentals of photography, he started shooting models while still in the service, and due to a background in art, he was successful in selling some of his first sets. "I started shooting nudes in the very beginning," he said, "since even with a limited art background, I learned that the nude is a challenge to render with good taste and meaning."

In 1960, a selection of 11 of Mr. Klumpp's nudes would be published in Figure Quarterly (Vol. 29). His glamour work would go on to be published in the books Famous Photographers Photograph Beautiful Women (1963) and Figure Studies by Famous Photographers (1965).

Famous Photographers Photograph Beautiful Women (1963) Cover photograph of Stella Stevens by Frank Bez.
Figure Studies by Famous Photographers (1965) Cover photograph of Kathy Kersh by Frank Bez.

By 1963, Klumpp did ninety percent of his glamour sets with the Mamiyaflex C2. His favorite lens for the C2 was the 180mm, which he used for most of his work. He used a Pentax for 35mm work and a backup Rolleiflex for medium format. For the studio, he used either the Mamiyaflex or a Gowlandflex with a 9 1/2" Symar lens. The Gowlandflex was extremely handy in shooting covers and centerspreads for editors who still wanted the 4x5 transparency.

During his stay in Los Angeles, Donald Klumpp photographed many of the local models, including Gloria Dawn (go to my Glamour Models page to see a color photo of Gloria Dawn by Mr. Klumpp). Other models photographed by Donald Klumpp included Karen Parker, Stanny Van Baer, Jean Briggs, Penny Bello, Marianna Hill, Sharon Hillyer, Susan Cunningham and Susan Wood (featured in the June 1962 issue of Modern Man in the Modern Art for Men section).

After Klumpp's return to Texas, his search for models became more complicated, as Houston did not have the endless source of models that the West Coast offered. He had to resort to newspaper advertising, the use of individuals who find models for a fee, friends, and his wife Lorraine, in his quest for acceptable models. He ended up using one out of every twenty girls he interviewed.

It was in 1969, while in his Houston studio, that Donald Klumpp would photograph Jean Bell for the October 1969 Playmate of the Month pictorial. Previously, Miss Bell had entered the Miss Houston and Miss Texas contests (coming in fourth and third, respectively) and Jean's winnings included a scholarship to a Houston modeling school. She was soon off on a new career, which led to working with Don Klumpp and appearing in Playboy magazine.

Cover of the Oct. 1969 issue of Playboy magazine, which featured Donald Klumpp's Playmate pictorial of Jean Bell.
 

Later in life, Don's new photographic and life partner became Anne Rippy. The two shot stock photographs together and eventually made their home in Asheville, North Carolina. It was in Asheville where Donald Klumpp suddenly passed away on April 30, 2013. He was 77 years old.

















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