The 1960s brought a few changes to the progressive 1950s photography style. Namely, the how much its OK to bare and the expressions that go with it. We have a time period of race and sexual freedom, openness and the pushing of social taboos. Drugs, music, and war filled the era. And Pin-Up photography was changing, too.
As the decades go on, society’s comfort with nudity also changes. We go back and forth on what we deem appropriate and moral. The 50s pushed past the conservative and innocent values of the war-era 40s. And continuing on that streak, we see that it is becoming publicly acceptable to once again bare more. The hot topic of the day was pubic hair. Previously, it was outrageous to even think about showing any hair down there – but the 60s spawned a freedom and liberation to those uptight rules. Up until this point, it was considered pornographic for a magazine to show even a glimpse of pubic hair. Amateur photography was full embracing it by this point – but the big leagues just couldn’t get into it and still be considered an art magazine. This changed at the very end of the 1960s when Playboy Magazine and Penthouse got into the “Pubic Wars” – a term coined by Hugh Heffner of Playboy – describing the back and forth battle between the two magazine to push the edges of photography and pornography. Each magazine would show just a little bit more than the previous magazine. This process traveled well into the 1970s.
The other key moment we see in this period was the need for authentic looks from the models. It was no longer good enough to just have a pretty girl on the page. She needed to be interacting with the viewer in the image. So a woman touching herself meant absolutely nothing without an appropriate expression. Likewise, Playboy once again led the way in this interaction. The centerfold model needed to be directly looking at the viewer, making eye contact like the Mona Lisa, by drawing the viewer in and interacting with them. This connection is a fad that continued on and helped make the 1960s a memorable period in the History of Pin-up.