Yeager, however, already knew better.
Oh, she was beautiful! says Yeager, still shaking her head at the memory of her favorite model. She had beautiful hair, with a natural sheen, and never a hair out of place. A great figure, so tan. And when I told her I thought I might want to photograph her nude, she said, Funny, I sunbathe nude and I have a tan like this all over. And she did, everywhere, even behind her knees and all the places you wouldnt think. It was like somebody had airbrushed her
She lived by the Miami River in an old house she rented, and she would sunbathe in the back yard every day. It was sheltered in a way that, unless you were on a boat, you wouldnt know she was there, even though it was right there in downtown Miami.
Even in her shots from that first classroom assignment, you can see all the elements that would make Yeagers work so popular: The incandescent glow of her models skin (produced by Yeagers use of a flash even in bright daylight). The exotic costuming (Yeager, at first from penury and later by design, made all her models swimwear I was doing my own bikinis at the same time as that Frenchman, even though I didnt call them that). And, most strikingly, her preference for natural settings over studios.
She was one of the first photographers to marry nature with women, says Barry Fellman, who has been showing her pictures in galleries for years and manages the new Bunny Yeager Studio. Well, naked women.
Even so, what strikes Yeager about the photos that birthed her career is not the outdoor setting but those big, wild cats. Look how close my leg is to that cheetah, she murmurs, examining a photo with a concealed remote-control device, showing her posing Page next to the impassive jungle creatures. I must have been crazy. I certainly wouldnt do that now. But I dont remember being scared at all. I was just concentrating on getting the shot.
And she did, as she mostly would for the next couple of decades. The only shot to elude Yeager was one with Marilyn Monroe, the model she most would have liked to work with but never did. I had no idea how to find her and push all the way through those press people, she says sadly. I didnt have the guts to do it.
Maybe, now that Yeager is shooting again, things will work out better with the woman she thinks is todays most camera-friendly. Id love to work with that girl who gets in all the trouble, she muses. Whats her name? Lindsey Lohan, thats it. Shes just like the girls from the past, the way she moves, the way she poses. Classic. I dont know why she gets in all that trouble.