Bettie Page discovered that she loved modelling and felt alive in front of the camera. She’d wanted to model by had be shot down by the top modelling agency. So when she was approached by Art Amsie who was a member of a camera club, she was intrigued. You see, a camera club was a group of amateur photographers who couldn’t really afford to hire models but would pool their funds and hire a model as a group. Well, Bettie was hooked and so were the camera club members!
The camera clubs would consist of 30-40 members and 3-4 models who would take pictures of the girls. They would go to places like Fire Island and shoot bikini shots on the beach. “I was very happy posing. I never had any problem figuring out what to do with my body. It just came naturally for me. Sometimes I would imagine the camera was my boyfriend and I would be playful for my boyfriend.” And they photographers loved her. She would bring amazing outfits, pose exquisitely, and her face was extremely expressive. “Unlike any of the other models, you could tell Bettie to be angry or flirty, sullen or playful and she knew just what to do.”
Soon when the papers advertised that Bettie Page would be the featured model, there would be a big, big crowd that would sign up. And I have personally looked at hundreds and hundreds of these amature camera club photos of Bettie Page and I have yet to see a bad one. Seriously, there are no bad shots of Bettie Page! You can look at rolls of film and every single shot on that roll is awesome. When you look up ‘photogenic’ in the dictionary you see a picture of Bettie Page! “Other models, you’d be lucky to get one or two good shots per roll. But with Bettie every shot was a 5-Star shot. I loved shooting her because film back in those days was really expensive.”
“She was not just a pretty face that was just a facade. She had a very high IQ.” And nothing showed this better than her most famous innovations that goes almost completely uncredited: the bikini.