Bunny Yeager changed the world with her pinup photography. With her passing last week, at age 85, we’ve lost one of the greats, so in this edition of Playboy Retro we’re remembering one of the legends who shaped both the Playboy aesthetic and how the entire world views beautiful women.
A model herself in the 1950s, Yeager originally got into photography to save money by producing her own portfolio prints. Her natural eye and understanding of how to portray women through a joyous and inherently sexy perspective was immediately successful and she quickly switched over to working full-time behind the camera. No less of an authority than The New York Times itself credits Yeager with “helping turn the erotic pinup...into high photographic art.” We’ve covered some of her Playboy shoots in this space before, including her groundbreaking work with Bettie Page, and now we’re back with some more of Bunny Yeager’s luscious photos.
Lisa Winters was a hit when Bunny Yeager shot her as Miss December 1956 and she went on to make history as the first ever Playmate of the Year in 1957. She and Yeager teamed up again for a Playboy pictorial called “Alone with Lisa” featuring intimate shots of Miss Winters in her boudoir getting ready for a bubble bath.
Growing up in frigid Wisconsin, Miss April 1963 Sandra Settani felt liberated by a college break vacation to Miami. The good life of sun worship and sandy shores motivated her to move to Miami Beach, where she began modeling. It turns out Sandra had what it took and she grabbed Playboy’s attention. This beach bunny had the further fortune of having her fine self photographed by Bunny Yeager. We’ll be eternally grateful Sandra followed the sun.
In 1997 two icons returned to the pages of Playboy: 42 years after her work first appeared in an issue of Playboy, Bunny Yeager came back with a brand-new shoot featuring Miss July 1974 Carol Vitale. Carol got her start as a club Bunny before moving on to Playmate status and from there she launched a career as a popular TV hostess on the Carol Vitale Show before coming full circle to pose for us once more. Don’t call it a comeback because Carol and Yeager never left, and even late into their careers they still had it.Bunny Yeager may not be with us anymore, but her work and her influence live on; see it for yourself in the gallery above.