This week we had the pleasure of chatting with Celeste Giuliano, a Philly-based photographer who specializes in pin-up and retro portraiture. Giuliano is renowned throughout the area for her classic images and in addition to collaborating with the local chapter of the charity Pin-ups for Pitbulls. She recently had a book of her stunning images published, entitled Keyhole Cuties, which is available now through Amazon or a bookstore near you!
When did you first get interested in photography? Did you always know you wanted to be a photographer or did you pursue other artistic avenues first?
Celeste: I had a LeClic 110 cotton candy pink camera in grade school that I absolutely adored but it was during high school that I knew I wanted to pursue photography as a career. I would spend most of my free time in the dark room (remember those days of pre-digital?) developing and printing images. During my Senior year of high school, I purchased my first Nikon camera and was officially hooked!
What inspired you to pursue the pin-up style of photography?
Celeste: I remember as a child, my grandfather still had the old calendars and magazine pages from the 50s “pinned” to his wall that featured colorful pin-up paintings of the cute girl next door or black and white glamour images of Hollywood starlets. These women had curves, exuded confidence and I just loved that. Since then, I have always had a special place in my heart for these images. Considering I had a large personal collection of vintage clothes, collectibles and a BFA in photography, it only made sense to allow women to revive the look and feel of the vintage pinup girls in my studio.
What do you “geek out” to?
Celeste: I’m a huge classic movie and tv fan! I love everything from silent films, to noir, to screwball comedies to 60s Hammer horror.
Bewtiched, I Dream of Jeannie and Gilligan’s Island have always been shows I can watch over and over again. In May, I offered my clients the chance to pose as Maryann or Ginger in a Gilligan’s Island inspired set called Pin-ups Island. It was so much fun to recreate the hut and tropical sets from the tv show. My husband and I are also avid collectors or as I like to say “organized hoarders.” I collect almost everything and anything that features a pin-up girl in addition to vintage cameras, movie projectors, typewriters … the list goes on and on. I absolutely “geek out” scouring flea markets and yard sales for that one-of-a-kind find. I’m lucky as I can also use many of the items I collect in my pin-up photography so lots of times, I will go “shopping” in my home to pull props for shoots.
Best or favorite flea market find?
Celeste: That is such a hard question! I collect so many things that I have tons of favorite finds but recently I purchased a vintage, circular thermometer, most likely from the 40s pr 50s, that features 8 pin-ups all in various states of undress as the weather temperature rises. In all my years of collecting I have never seen one so to find a pin-up collectible that I had never seen before was a great find!
Favorite Hammer Monster (or movie monster in general)?
Celeste : My favorite all time movie monster has always been The Wolfman. I used to have a few Wolfman action figures growing up and my favorite, which I would carry everywhere with me, used to glow in the dark. For the Hammer films, I have to admit that my favorite characters are the gorgeous women of Hammer. They were always such gorgeous bombshells!
What are some of your favorite places to visit in Philly?
Celeste: Silk City has a great brunch menu and killer grilled cheese and tomato soup. Memphis Taproom has the most delicious Quinoa Chickpea Burger with smoked coconut. Philly also has a great art scene and I spend most First Fridays at Arch Enemy Arts. In December, my favorite event, of course, is the annual Pin-up Peep Show (which benefits Pinups for Pitbulls) I host at Union Transfer. It’s a must see event with retro music, cocktails, burlesque and pin-up girls galore!
Sound fab! Thanks for chatting with us Celeste!