Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Bolles Girl in the Flesh!

From time to time I've published photos of models who posed for Enoch as well as photos he clipped from magazines that served as the basis for covers. To wit, the photo of Mary Carlyle that he turned into such a lovely cover for Breezy Stories. You can imagine my reaction when I ran across these amazing recreations of Bolles covers by Mala Mastroberte. Mala doesn't just pose for these, she controls every step in the creative process from start to finish, composing and shooting her magazine covers without any assistants.  She does the styling, the layout, props, wardrobe, shoes (!), makeup, hair, lighting and photography to bring the Bolles covergirl to life with amazing fidelity.  Mala has also created several of her own original covers that are inspired by Bolles' work and you can really tell she has a grasp on what makes Bolles unique.

I asked Mala how she first became interested in creating her own versions of old magazine and paperback covers. 

"I've been always interested in history, vintage clothing, antiques, old photographs, etc... I grew up in Poland, a country with a great history, but quite different than American or even Western Europe. When I first moved here 10 years ago, naturally I felt homesick and bit out of place in a country so much "younger" than my own. I started visiting every antique shop in sight, going to flea markets and then browsing the internet in search of anything with a past. That is how I discovered vintage magazines and began collecting them. Few years ago I started taking self portraits, at first just generally inspired by the pin-up genre. With time, once I accumulated more props and wigs, I was able to be more true to the beloved originals. I prefer the illustrated covers, for their fantasy quality. As a child I loved comic books and wanted to become a comic book character when I grow up. So this is, in a way, realizing my childhood dream."

"When I feel "inspired" I just set up my studio, take out my books or originals and shoot away. Sometimes I get the right pose in a few shots, sometimes it takes tens of photos (thank goodness for the digital cameras), but it is always lots of fun. So much so, that sometimes I do not even notice that hours have passed."

Mala has recreated a score of magazine and paperback covers spanning the 1930s to the 1960s.  You can view them all at on her Flickr site.  Of course I had to ask how she came to be so interested in the work of Enoch Bolles.
"Enoch Bolles, where do I begin! I do not think I have to convince you, or other fans that his illustrations are special. My favorive is his later period, once he established his original style. Even though I admired his pin-ups for a very long time, I did not dare to take them on until recently. Not only poses are particularly challenging but those recreations demand special and more skilled editing."

I want to thank Mala for sharing her story and fabulous photo creations.  You can bet I'll be posting more of her work in the future. Let's all give Mala a big shout-out for her spot-on take on Bolles and the entire genre of pinup!


Alan Wrobel said...

Very nice!! I've thought of something similar. Well done stuff.

Mala said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mala said...

Jack, thank you again for such a nice post.
@ Alan, thank you for the compliment, Enoch Bolles's work is such a joy to recreate!


Marjorian said...

I'm researching two reel talkies of the Mack Sennett era. I'm looking for runs of "Film Fun" (not just the covers obviously) for around 1931. Are you able to assist?

Gary Underwood said...

Great post!!!!!! Thanks a lot Jack for bringing this great art to our attention. And many more thanks to Mala for her fabulous interpretation of the Bolles girl.

Anonymous said...

Mala Mastroberte is coming out with a book this year of 2012.
I wish her muck success.
Thanks for this fine site.