Subscribe to our newsletter

(Credit: Taschen)

Art

Big Book of Breasts: A pocket guide to the cultural liberation of erotic photography

@TomTaylorFO

Counterculture: it was music, cinema, art, singing, dancing and protest… and it was also sex — unbridled, unashamed and truly liberated sex. In fact, sex was at the heart of it. As Paul McCartney said of the innocent-sounding ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’: “There was an eroticism behind it all. If I’d heard myself use that word when I was 17, there would have been a guffaw. But eroticism was very much a driving force behind everything I did.”

The sexual liberation movement ran alongside counterculture, in fact, it might be more apt to say they went hand in hand. “It’s a very strong thing. And, you know, that was what lay behind a lot of these love songs. ‘I want to hold your hand’ [and probably do a lot more!]” McCartney said of the wry songs that got the ball rolling.

Prior to that, when Marilyn Monroe’s nude photographs were made public and it seemed like she was going to be an early victim of public shaming, she cosied up to her own cancellation and said: “Of the nude pictures: Sure I posed. I needed the money.” She then continued to embrace eroticism even further and set the noses of those who tried to stifle her right out of joint.

Helmut Newton: Exploring the photography of Vogue

Read More

If the times were changing then overhauling sexual views were essential. Naturally, places of power were never going to be the driving force – it wasn’t until years later that allegations of ‘sexual relations’ would come from such places – so, culture had to be the engine of change. Francis Ford Coppola and the likes might have got their start in the arts through softcore movies, but it was always going to be eroticism in the most perfunctory sense that upheld sexual liberation to the nth degree: photography.

Sexuality was now being boldly celebrated in print and even stars were being born. Contained within the Taschen publication looking into the matter are “Michelle Angelo, Virginia Bell, Roxanne Brewer, Joan Brinkman, Lorraine Burnett, Lisa DeLeeuw, Uschi Digard, Sylvia McFarland, Chesty Morgan, Roberta Pedon, Rosina Revelle, Janie Reynolds, Candy Samples, Tempest Storm, Mary Waters, June Wilkinson, and Julie Wills, plus Guinness Book of World Records bra-buster Norma Stitz in a compact and inexpensive format.”

The book traces the eye-bulging feats of liberation that erotic photography heralded. These women bust down columns of conservatism and editor Dian Hanson illuminates their story as a fascinating one, filled with ballooning defiance. If the message of sexual liberation was love is au naturalé then Taschen’s The Little Big Book of Breasts certainly rams the point home.

You can find out more about the Taschen publication and purchase a copy of your own by clicking here.

The erotic photography of The Little Big Book of Breasts:

(Credit: Taschen)
(Credit: Taschen)
(Credit: Taschen)
(Credit: Taschen)
(Credit: Taschen)
(Credit: Taschen)
(Credit: Taschen)

Follow Far Out Magazine across our social channels, on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.