If you a sun worshiper, adore bikinis and enjoy cheesecake photography. Then you have one woman to thanks and revere like a goddess. Bunny Yeager.
Born Linnea Eleanor Yeager on 13th March 1929 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 1936, aged 17, Yeager and her family moved to Florida. The name of Bunny was inspired by the Lana Turner character from the film ‘Weekend at the Waldorf’. After graduating high school Yeager entered into several beauty pageants. With her striking good looks, Yeager won so many that she became one of the most photographed women in Miami. 1953 was the year that Yeager discovered that she was just a gifted behind the camera as she was infront.
In 1954 Yeager meet a women who prove to to be her greatest model/muse ever. Bettie Page. If you ever see pictures of Page were she is is outside on the beach, the vast majority of those photos were taken by Yeager. Beaches became almost a muse for Yeager making her one of the first photographers to work outside in natural light. In addition to photographing models, Yeager created the bikinis and swimsuits worn by her models and herself. Working infront and behind the camera was a rarity for women in the field of pin up, making Yeager a pioneer. 1955 was the year she began working with a new men’s magazine, Playboy. Her picture of her muse Page made the centrefold, thus beginning her collaboration with Playboy magazine.
One of her most iconic photos was Ursula Andress in the first ever Bond ‘Dr No’. As the years progressed mainstream publications features Yeager’s work such as Cosmopolitan. However the 70’s saw Yeager bowed out of the pin up industry, due to the growing explicit nature of the kind of photographs now wanted. Though Yeager’s pin ups did include some nudity, there was always an element of praising the feminine. Never exploiting or demeaning. Maybe in part because she was a model, she knew what was erotic but not making the models do anything that she herself would not be comfortable with. Playboy did a retrospective of Yeager’s work in 1992, as well as other art galleries, including The Andy Warhol Museum ( In 2010). In 2012 ‘Bunny Yeager’s Darkroom’ a collection of her photographs (with a foreword by Dita Von Teese) was released.
Yeager died on 25th May 2014 of congestive heart failure. As legacies go, Yeager is credited for popularising bikinis and giving us the term ‘cheesecake’ when describing pin ups that give an air of sweetness yet not wearing much. If you ask me, that is an impressive list of achievements.