‘Pinup-ology’ spotlights female form

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One pinup photography art show teases the senses by bringing attendees back to a time when flirtatious, yet sexy, women covered the walls of soldiers’ wildest imaginations.

Photograph series by New Mexico artists Ungelbah Daniel-Dávila and Carrie Angelina Tafoya, will jump off the walls when paired next to live pinup models, set props and hand-made costumes used to bring each series to life.

Abigail R. Ortiz-News-Bulletin photo: The photography and art installation ‘Pinup-ology’ features storytelling series of ‘post pin up’ photos with an alternative twist by New Mexico artists, Ungelbah Daniel-Dávila and Carolina Angelina Tafoya.

The opening reception for “Pinup-ology” is from 6 to 11 p.m., Friday, Feb. 8, at Eggman & Walrus Art Emporium, 130 W. Palace, in Santa Fe. The show will continue until the end of the month.

Two Albuquerque rockabilly bands — Mr. Right & the Leftovers and The Shadow Men — will fill the show’s air, creating a mid-century atmosphere.

The pinup genre of women in innocently flirtatious, yet provocative, poses emerged during World War II as a method to increase the moral of soldiers fighting in the war, said Daniel-Dávila, a News-Bulletin reporter and copy editor.

But with the wide disbursement of pornography in the late 1960s and early ’70s, pictures of women in “teeny, tiny polka dot bikinis became child’s play,” displacing pinup, Daniel-Dávila said. “The art of the tease was lost.”

Now these two artists have found a place for pinup in the spotlight with a modern twist in “Pinup-ology,” calling their photographs and art installations “post pinup,” said Daniel-Dávila.

“We’re taking the essence of pinup, which is teasing and leaving something to the imagination, and we’re placing it in a more alternative context,” she said.

The photographs, clustered into about 10 storytelling series, embed layers of mythical elements, as well as archetypical figures and iconographic symbology.

“Even though there are a number of layers, we’re still showing an appreciation for the female form, femininity and the way women can be flirtatious and coy in a manner that isn’t demeaning,” she said. “It’s how woman are sexy without being overtly sexual or objectifying themselves.”

The photographs are a joint effort, where Daniel-Dávila and Tafoya fill the roles of photographer, model, costume and set designer or anything the shoot’s vision calls for.

In one series, called “War and Heaven: Rev. 12:7,” Tafoya portrays the Archangel Michael described in the Book of Revelations, in the Bible. To bring this vision to life, Tafoya welded a steel corset and a balance scale, which was paired with tin wings..

Tafoya, who is majoring in set design at the University of New Mexico, also recreated an Aries costume, complete with golden hooves, a bustier and horns, and built a wind-up doll costume from scratch for other photographs.

Daniel-Dávila describes herself as a writer and storyteller that adds a narrative element to the photograph series. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts.

Daniel-Dávila enlisted Tafoya, a long-time friend, as the first model for a pinup photograph featured in the first edition of La Loca Magazine, an online Albuquerque-based publication, three years ago.

La Loca Magazine, which Daniel-Dávila is the editor and creator of, highlights rockabilly and vintage lifestyle, as well as local businesses.

From there, the two merged their talents to let one local girl grace the magazine’s online pages monthly and to create the photography studio “La Loca Linda Pinup-ology.”


-- Email the author at aortiz@news-bulletin.com.