She Wants to Lead…the Glamourous Life

Something deliciously suggestive has been popping out from the usual alterna-rag ads in The Stranger for the last few months. An incredibly juicy haunch here, a cherry red blow-up heart and snow white thigh in garters there, a butt cheek begging for a slapping in the Features section- it’s hard not to become fixated with these vivid little ads. Staring at pin-up photography adverts at work or on the bus might raise more eyebrows than the usual 1-900-CALL-ME fare, simply because the photos are actually provocative and sexy- because they’re actually good.

Seattle photographer Shena Lee has been shooting cabaret, burlesque performers, musicians, events, people, and pin-ups for quite some time. Her intensely colorful, beautifully lit work has been instantly recognizable in the 8×10 glossies sold at Atomic Bombshells shows or ads for Seattle’s 2009 amateur short film porn festival, HUMP! In addition to juggling multiple design and photography projects, these days Shena and stylist cohort Fuchsia FoXXX have been capturing untamed women in pin-up packages and have revamped their website; hence the renegade fleshy adverts.

When asked about her start with pin-ups and how she and bellydancer pal Fuchsia FoXXX began working together, Shena had this to say:

“I had friends, and friends of friends who were burlesque performers- and I was lucky because those performers were some of the best in Seattle. I’ve worked with Miss Indigo Blue, Ben DeLaCreme, Sydni Deveraux, Honeysuckle Hype, The Can Can Castaways, and of course, Fuchsia FoXXX, to name a few. The subject matter just kind of fell in my lap! I’ve always photographed people, especially women, and I found a ridiculously talented and glamorous pool of models in the burlesque community.

I met Fuchsia and we became good friends the summer of 2006, just after she moved here. It was at my house that she was introduced to Indigo Blue, Headmistress of the Academy of Burlesque, where Fuchsia now teaches bellydance classes. In fact, it was at one of my notoriously wild parties that Fuchsia was christened with the last name ‘FoXXX’ and ‘Fuchsia FoXXX- the Hot Pink Exotic Machine’ was officially born.

The fall of that year, I opened up my first studio space in Seattle, and started brainstorming about the idea of doing portrait packages. Fuchsia modeled for the first test photos, bringing her infamous pink suitcases filled with sparkly and eccentric costumes, and I posed her in front of a pink patterned backdrop that I hand-painted. Those photos were among the first pin-ups that she sold after her shows.

When I first started doing the packages, Fuchsia’s fabulous hair and make-up styling was an add-on, but it was such a crucial piece of the experience that it became a permanent addition. We’ve been doing the packages in their current incarnation for about two years, and we really do make magic for our clients. Fuchsia’s styling is immaculate- it’s fine-tuned for my specific lighting and editing style. We have a broad variety of props, many tried and true poses, and our wardrobe (not to mention shoe collection!) has grown to ridiculous proportions. We can do sexy, sweet, fetish, vintage, cheesecake, modern… all of our clients want something different, and we specialize in creating looks that match their fantasies. Our clients leave our studio commenting over how much fun they had, and how comfortable they felt- and when they get their photos, it’s pure delight. We offer a unique opportunity to step into the decadently glamorous ‘showgirl life’ for a day, and come away with images they can hold onto for the rest of their lives.”

Shena Lee Photography + Design’s Pin-up info can be found @

Shena Lee: One of those naughty little ads...

Behind the scenes at a shoot with Fuchsia & model

Shena Lee: Can Can Castaways & Can Can Chris

And just in case you were wondering, Seattle’s amateur-and-locally-produced porn festival returns this fall. HUMP! goes down November 5-6 at On the Boards in Seattle and November 13-14 at Cinema 21 in Portland. The deadline for submissions for HUMP! 2010 is 5:00 p.m. on October 15, 2010.

An image from Hump 2009 (Shena Lee)


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~ by angrytruffle on 08/11/2010.

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