Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Christine Keeler

Someone in our group tonight mentioned the iconic Christine Keeler photo of the 1960’s. I knew which photo he meant, the one of Christine Keeler in a chair, but my 21 year old son asked what photo was referred to and who Christine Keeler was.

Here is 30 seconds of history and photography, my lad..

Christine Keeler:

Born in 1942, Christine Keeler was a topless showgirl living with one Stephen Ward in London. She described the relationship as platonic. Through Ward she met John Profumo, the British Secretary of State for War, who entered into an affair with her. He was not aware that she was also sleeping with Yevgeni Ivanov, a naval attached at the Soviet Union embassy. MI5 kept tabs on the affair, reported it to the Cabinet Secretary, who called upon Profumo to end the relationship. He did so in n1961. However, in 1q963 when the matter was raised in Parliament, he advised the House that there had been no impropriety in his relationship with Keeler. He subsequently confessed that he had lied to the House, a serious no no, and resigned in disgrace.

The Photo:

The following is from Wikipedia:
At the height of the Profumo Affair in 1963, Keeler sat for a portrait that became famous. The photoshoot, at a studio on the first floor of Peter Cook’s Establishment Club, with Lewis Morley, was to promote a film. The Keeler Affair, that was only distributed outside Britain. Keeler had previously signed a contract which required her to pose nude for publicity photos and was reluctant to continue, but the film producers insisted, so Morley persuaded Keeler to sit astride a plywood chair such that whilst technically she would be nude, the back of the chair would obscure most of her body.

At the time, Morley and Keeler were already famous, but the photo propelled the Arne Jacobsen model 3107 chair to stardom. However, the actual chair used was an imitation, with a hand-hold aperture cut out of the back to avoid making it an exact and infringing copy.
"It was the very last shot on the roll. I was walking away and turned back. She was in a perfect position and I just snapped it. I never found her sexy, though. She reminded me too much of Vera Lynn!" - Lewis Morley


The photo became such an icon of the 1960's that it isnpired, and continues to inspire, parodies from various persons:
David Frost

Dame Edna
Homer Simpson

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