Zoltan Glass the Photographer

Self-portrait by Zoltán Glass (1903 – 1981)

Pamela Green modelled for numerous photographers. My favourite by far was Zoltán Glass. He was born in Budapest on April 26, 1903. He began his career as a cartoonist and retoucher for a local newspaper, but in 1925 he moved to Berlin, where he found regular employment as the picture editor of a Berlin evening paper, before moving on to the Berliner Tagblatt as a photojournalist.

Zoltán prospered and was soon able to develop a thriving freelance business as a commercial photographer and journalist. He established Reclaphot, a photographic agency that specialised in advertising work, and Autophot, a company dedicated exclusively to automobile photography. He was an amateur racer and keen motorsport enthusiast while living in Germany and covered the country’s biggest races at the Nurburgring and the Avus circuit, near Berlin. His most famous photos are of the Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrows team, which dominated Grand Prix racing from 1934. With the rise of Hitler, however, business became increasingly difficult for him and he fled to London. However, as an enemy alien at the outbreak of World War II, he was not permitted to pursue his profession and faced the threat of internment, so he voluntarily handed over his camera equipment to the British authorities.

After the war he eke out a living taking publicity stills for clients in the film and theatrical worlds. His career took a big step up when the Hungarian Arpad Elfer who was Creative Director of Colman, Prentis & Varley, one of the most prestigious London ad agencies started giving him work. By the mid-Fifties he was one of the most successful fashion and advertising photographers in London and had had his own studios at 183 Kings Road, Chelsea, and later at 41 Paradise Walk, SW3. One of his clients was Odhams Press who published Lilliput, a pocket-sized gentleman’s magazine that featured an assortment of titillating articles and risqué humour, together with adventurous photographic essays from such well known talents as Bill Brandt and Brassai.

 

Zoltán Glass Mercedes Gullwing Coupe.

A 1961 Mercedes 300 SL Gullwing Coupe. One of the few automobile pictures that Zoltán Glass took after the War.

Around this time Zoltán’s brother Stephen had carved out a name for himself taking pictures for Health and Efficiency and other such publications. Pamela Green modelled for him several times at the nudist camp Spielplatz and at his tiny first floor studio in Church Street, Chelsea, but it was Pamela’s agent Pearl Beresford, who sent her along to Zoltán. His studio in the Kings Road was enormous and unlike his brother he was brisk and businesslike. Pamela worked regularly for Zoltán often on complicated sets. They even went down to the Scilly Isles to do nudes on the beach. His passion for nude photography and his creative and innovative approach made him well known, especially in the United States.

By 1964 Zoltán Glass had made enough money to sell his Chelsea studio to a consortium of British photographers and move abroad to a villa in Roquebrune on the French Riviera with his common-law wife Pat, a former cabaret dancer. He offered his collection of pin-up photography to Harrison Marks, who strangely turned him down. He died in France on February 24, 1981, at the age of 78, leaving neither offspring nor a will.

If anyone has some more info on Stephen or Zoltán Glass it would be much appreciated.

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Zoltán Glass

 

 

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In loving memory of Pamela Green who passed away four years ago. I miss her terribly.

I must apologise to readers of this blog for my poor posting rate of late. Something I hope to rectify in the coming weeks.

The online book of condolences is still up by the way.

Pamela Green

Pamela Green

Here’s another picture of Pamela Green taken by the female photographer Joan Craven. The mask is by costumier Hugh Skillen. Don’t know much about Hugh Skillen. From what I can gather he worked for the ballet and theatre in London’s West End. One of the plays he worked on was Bell, Book and Candle (1954-55). The film of which was a favourite of Pam’s. I wonder if she saw the play. You can read more about Joan Craven on my earlier post.

Pamela Green , nude, Hugh Skillen, mask,  Joan Craven

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Here’s a couple of early pictures of Pamela Green taken by George Harrison Marks in the mid 1950s before they started publishing Kamera in 1957.

George Harrison Marks, Pamela Green

Pamela Green

Pamela Green, Harrison Marks, Pinup, Nude, Glamour, retro

I’ve recently discovered that Jean Straker, along with the photographers Walter Bird and Jack Eston, took part in a discussion on Pin-ups and Figure Studies broadcast by the BBC on Network Three on May 22, 1958. On the show Jean defines a pin-up as “a picture of a girl in which the girl represents herself. It may be provocative; it need not be provocative; but it is essentially a picture of a person that we either know personally, or by name”. A figure study as “a photograph of a girl who simply symbolises woman; she is impersonal. It is not a photograph representing her as herself.” And a nude as “a picture in which the girl symbolises an idea or represents some historical or mythological figure: that is, she represents somebody other than herself.” I wonder how Jean Straker would classify the following pictures of his.

Nude, Pin-up, 1950s

Photo by Jean Straker (1913-1984)

Nude, Pin-up, 1960s

This photo by Jean Straker reminds me of the work of Weegee.

Jean Straker Ad.

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At long last the cinematic tale of Harrison Marks’ nudist feature Naked as Nature Intended, the iconic film that brought us Pamela Green in her birthday suit. Behind the scenes exclusives and never before seen pictures. The text is taken from Pamela’s unpublished biography. This hardback book is available to order online from such places as Wordery and Amazon. Spread the word  — share it on Facebook, write a review — it all helps. If you are having trouble seeing the sample pages below click this link instead.

 

A couple of Italian posters for Michael Powell’s classic British film Peeping Tom (1960), in which Pamela Green starred as Milly. Nice to see her name on a poster for once.

L’occhio che uccide

L’occhio che uccide (Peeping Tom).

Peeping Tom, Michael Powell, L'Occhio Che Uccide

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Here’s a picture of a very dapper looking George. I presume at the Gerrard Street Studios in the early ’50s. On the wall centre right is a picture of Norman Wisdom. The other two portraits I recognise but can’t put a name to them.

George Harrison Marks, Norman Wisdom,

George Harrison Marks (1926-1997)

This is a little bit different! Here’s a classic shot of Pamela Green from The Window Dresser given the Ramon Maiden treatment. Ramon Maiden is an artist from Barcelona inspired by religious and tattoo imagery. Reminds me of Delftware. Lots of great stuff on Ramon’s website. Well worth a peruse. I do like it when contemporary artists find inspiration in the works of Pamela Green and George Harrison Marks. Any artists out their who would like to showcase their work should drop me a line.

Pamela Green Ramon Maiden, The Window Dresser

Pamela-Green, Ramon Maiden, Window Dresser

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Harrison-Marks

Left to right: Mr. James Tye of the British Safety Council; The Rev. Gordon Guinness; glamour model Dawn Grayson and George Harrison Marks the photographer.

Back in 1964 a Harrison Marks photograph of Dawn Grayson, real name Kay Kirkham, wearing only sunglasses and a smile was used for a British Safety Council poster. The caption read “But I always wear my eye protection”. Naturally it caused a bit of a stir. Dawn Grayson, Harrison Marks, the Rev. Gordon Gordon Guinness, the 62 year-old vicar of St. John’s Boscombe, Bournemouth, and a chap from the Safety Council came face to face at the British Safety Council’s headquarters in London, on Monday 19 October, 1964 to discuss the matter.

According to the Daily Express at the time the dialogue went like this

Vicar: It’s salacious propaganda.

Dawn Grayson: If anyone finds anything dirty or sexy in that picture it’s in their minds — not the photo.

Vicar: I feel that a woman’s body is very sacred. It is sensible for her to expose it in certain circumstances, such as to doctors in hospital, not in a striptease club in soho. I feel that a poster like this in a factory will be associated in the minds of the people there with striptease and Soho. I think it will make it far harder for youngsters to keep steady. It is stimulating their desire. It’s making an altogether wrong use of sex appeal.

Dawn Grayson: All I can say if you want to ban nudity you had better put a screen round half the statues in London. I do not see anything sexy about the picture at all. I feel very strongly about this question because my husband, who works in a factory, has had to go to hospital several times to have pieces of steel removed from his eyes because he did not wear safety spectacles.”

Harrison Marks: “Wherever you look in the Vatican there are beautiful nudes. Why is a nude so wonderful in an art galley or a church but something obscene the moment it is taken outside?”

Vicar: Don’t ask me about the Vatican. I’m an ordinary Anglican Vicar.”

Council Controller: There are 1000 eye accidents a week. I see nothing wrong with this poster at all.

Vicar: I think the poster is doing more harm to the morals of the country than good in preventing accidents. It is part of an atmosphere that is in the country. A steady salacious propaganda. I am married and have five children and I am coming across illegitimate children, pregnant unmarried woman and this continuous sex stimulation all the time.

Council Controller: I think it will be one of the greatest safety posters perhaps of all time. We have had 50,000 already and reordered. We are thinking of increasing the size and producing it in colour.

Vicar: The young lady is charming – I think her husband is a very lucky man.

Dawn Grayson: I think the vicar is sweet. Obviously he feels he is doing his job.

 

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