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Tennis Girl: a face behind the behind.
March 24, 2011 5:21 AM   Subscribe

Fiona Walker has stepped into the spotlight to claim ownership of the world's most famous bum- certainly the most famous in tennis

BBC Article. The photographer was her boyfriend - the late Martin Elliot.
posted by rongorongo (74 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Previously.
posted by kipmanley at 5:28 AM on March 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Dunno--I can think of a more famous tennis bum.
posted by MrMoonPie at 5:37 AM on March 24, 2011


Did anyone else think this was going to be about some raggedy guy living in a cardboard box outside Wimbledon and ownership of said person a la The Toy?

(It's early...)
posted by Madamina at 5:43 AM on March 24, 2011 [7 favorites]


Tennis Girl: a face behind the behind.

If she'd come forward earlier we might have known the breast of the story.
posted by hal9k at 5:49 AM on March 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Dunno--I can think of a more famous tennis bum.

I guess Jelena Dokic's estranged father Damir doesn't get much recognition outside of Australia but if we're making a competition of things he deserves a mention. Suffice it to say that wikipedia doesn't go into every little detail here.

Please say that yes, we are making a competition out of Tennis' Greatest Bum.
posted by gronkpan at 5:55 AM on March 24, 2011


A nice story, but the "world’s biggest selling photograph" with 2 million copies sold? There are claims Farrah Fawcett's red bathing suit poster sold millions of copies, wikipedia says 5 to 12 million.
posted by marxchivist at 6:02 AM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Fans of the picture have included ... British serial killer Dennis Nielsen. Scottish-born Nielsen, a former army butcher, killed at least 15 men while living in London. He kept the bodies of his mutilated victims, some of them lovers, in his apartment before disposing of them in his drain and garden. He was sentenced to life in 1983.

Thanks for that pertinent information!
posted by chill at 6:07 AM on March 24, 2011 [13 favorites]


A nice story, but the "world’s biggest selling photograph" with 2 million copies sold?

Not all of the sales have been widely recorded. You see, Douglas Reynholm did get a wee bit pissed one night and next thing you know, Reynholm Industries has a warehouse of the things.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:09 AM on March 24, 2011 [18 favorites]


Now that Fiona has been revealed as the model, she will become the butt of many jokes.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 6:10 AM on March 24, 2011


More like Fiona BUTTler amirite
posted by Rykey at 6:11 AM on March 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


See?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 6:15 AM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


To be fair, it's quite an exquisite bum.
posted by grubi at 6:15 AM on March 24, 2011


Christ, what an ass.
posted by malocchio at 6:17 AM on March 24, 2011 [9 favorites]


Dunno--I can think of a more famous tennis bum.

Yeah, it's a nice shot, but it's clearly of a particular idea of what the female form should look and be like (white, 18, slim, innocent, with money). The powerful and athletic woman, who hasn't really broken a sweat, as balls lie discarded around her is a better view of the photo, IMO, but that vision isn't really pushed by the photo.

The photo bothers me because there's no logical explanation for her lifting up her skirt. It's like she's just grabbing her ass all of sudden, because well, the photographer told her to do it. And where's her underwear, shouldn't she be wearing something while playing sports?! And doesn't all the balls on her side of the fence mean she lost while her invisible opponent scored? and her left leg and foot looks odd, almost like the foot is on backwards.

And lets see, the photo was taken in 1976, when Fiona was 18 and Martin was 30. Hello, creepy sounding age difference!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:19 AM on March 24, 2011 [16 favorites]


Oh, Brandon Blatcher. You make everything so much more fun.

I keed, I keed
posted by grubi at 6:23 AM on March 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


And where's her underwear, shouldn't she be wearing something while playing sports?!

I always think the same thing when I see this.....oh, the CHAFING!
posted by nevercalm at 6:28 AM on March 24, 2011


I always think the same thing when I see this.....oh, the CHAFING!

Right? So she's not really playing sports in the photo, she's just faking it and really, what's sexy about that? Christ, she hasn't even broken a sweat at all, her hair looks styled, good God, who can respect that sort of thing in an athlete?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:30 AM on March 24, 2011


I'm glad we have this thread so I have somewhere to come to to talk about 18-year-old women's bodies and their relationship to me, which is of utmost importance.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:31 AM on March 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


Right, look, if we're going to overthink this particular plate of... bum... let's get serious about it.

She's lifting her skirt to scratch her bum. This signals to the viewer that she is either (1) unaware that she's being photographed or (2) doesn't care. It also hints at a carefree soul who scratches her knickerless bum whenever she goddamn feels like it.

There's also a lackadaisical shape to her shoulders that says she's kind of tired of knocking these balls about and wouldn't mind doing something else and would you happen to have any ideas?

The late afternoon light also signals that practice time is almost over and it will soon be time for something else and would you happen to have any ideas?

I remember years ago (probably around 1976) when I joined a tennis club the pro told me that the girls were good players up until the time they realized they could look pretty on the court and then it was all over.
posted by unSane at 6:36 AM on March 24, 2011 [13 favorites]


I have never seen this picture before and like many before me I find its artistic merit overrated.

That being said, I appreciate the glimpse of her ass and wish her the best of luck.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 6:37 AM on March 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


The photo bothers me because there's no logical explanation for her lifting up her skirt. It's like she's just grabbing her ass all of sudden, because well, the photographer told her to do it. And where's her underwear, shouldn't she be wearing something while playing sports?! And doesn't all the balls on her side of the fence mean she lost while her invisible opponent scored? and her left leg and foot looks odd, almost like the foot is on backwards.

This is a fair anaysis, but I think you're not taking full account of that one borlotti bean that's almost concealed under the little clump of cannellinis in the upper left quadrant of the plate.
posted by Decani at 6:38 AM on March 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Years back I was looking for a nice iconic picture of someone sweating for my lecture on parasympathetics. This was before it was easy to find whatever on the internet. I have a small collection of best of photojournalism "Year in Review" books. One section in these was sports. I was shocked that none of the athletes were visibly sweating in their award winning pictures. I think the non-sweating athlete is another myth we put out there.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:41 AM on March 24, 2011


Though I care barely (sorry) remember it I know this image was huge in the UK in the 70s; so much so that it became a cliche... the past really is another country
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:53 AM on March 24, 2011


That bum sold more than this bum?
posted by chavenet at 6:56 AM on March 24, 2011


article says her identity was revealed in 2001...am I missing something?
posted by OHenryPacey at 6:59 AM on March 24, 2011


Needs a "Hang in there, baby!" caption and a kitten hanging from the crack of her arse.
posted by pracowity at 7:00 AM on March 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Though I care barely (sorry) remember it I know this image was huge in the UK in the 70s; so much so that it became a cliche... the past really is another country
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:53 PM on March 24


Embarrassingly true, that. I was at Leeds Uni in 1977 - 1980 and this painfully naff thing was on so many walls you actually stopped noticing it after a while. Even one of my friends had it, which was unfortunate because I'd started using it as a flag for people with no taste. Mind you, this was the guy with Roger Dean pictures plastered all over his room too so, you know.
posted by Decani at 7:01 AM on March 24, 2011


"Fans of the picture have included world-famous movie stars Ernest Borgnine"

If I ever write an article, I hope I get to make up a line like that.
posted by digsrus at 7:05 AM on March 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


Roger Dean pictures plastered all over his room too so, you know.

Whoa, hey! Why you gotta bring it there???
posted by nevercalm at 7:05 AM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also -- more beanplating -- the fact that her face is hidden is absolutely key since it allows the (implicitly male) viewer to fill in the gap with whatever fantasy face he wishes.
posted by unSane at 7:08 AM on March 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Serena's bionic butt is better. Even R. Crumb says so.
posted by fixedgear at 7:18 AM on March 24, 2011


Roger Dean pictures plastered all over his room too so, you know.

Whoa, hey! Why you gotta bring it there???
posted by nevercalm at 3:05 PM on March 24


Taste Police to aisle 4! Clean-up on aisle 4!
posted by Decani at 7:23 AM on March 24, 2011


I'd like to see Ernest Borgnine in this pose.
posted by pracowity at 7:26 AM on March 24, 2011


Embarrassingly true, that. I was at Leeds Uni in 1977 - 1980 and this painfully naff thing was on so many walls you actually stopped noticing it after a while.

It certainly died off fast though... I was at uni in the late 80s and I couldn't even find a postcard of it to go alongside my ironic Che Guevara one. That of course, as I think Simon Pegg once put it, was the beginning of the blue period for student posters, where every room had one or more of Betty Blue, The Blues Brothers or The Big Blue.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:28 AM on March 24, 2011


No one has said it yet? Ok.

Buts lol.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:32 AM on March 24, 2011


Dammit! Butts! I suck.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:32 AM on March 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


lol u suk buts
posted by shakespeherian at 7:36 AM on March 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


Burhanistan how, HOW could you fuck that up?

I'm revoking your membership and taking away your secret decoder ring.
posted by felix at 7:37 AM on March 24, 2011


This end swell
posted by hal9k at 7:43 AM on March 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Martin conceived and shot the biggest selling photograph of all time which never gave him such financial gains."

Further proof that most photographers are terrible at business. Sigh.
posted by photoslob at 7:47 AM on March 24, 2011


Pictures or it didn't happen.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 8:07 AM on March 24, 2011


Doesn't this belong in AssMe?
posted by orme at 8:15 AM on March 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


At last! Now that this mystery is solved, what about the real identity of Banksy?

...And from this thread:
O Tennis Girl

(To the tune of O Tannenbaum.)

O Tennis Girl, O Tennis Girl,
Your buttocks bare delight us.
They're round when summer days are bright;
They're round when winter snow is white.
O Tennis Girl, O Tennis Girl,
Your buttocks bare delight us!
posted by iviken at 8:18 AM on March 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


And where's her underwear, shouldn't she be wearing something while playing sports?!

You obviously know nothing about women. We typically start the day by doing a few calisthenics in a silk teddy and feathered slippers. After a hearty breakfast, it's time to don a comfy crotchless leopard print thong, a studded dog collar, and a sullen pout to wash the dishes.

Then it's off to work, geared up to win the rat race and shatter the glass ceiling -- in an oh-so-severe SS maiden uniform replete with riding crop, monocle, and knee-high stiletto fuck-me boots. After a tough day at the office, nothing's more relaxing than curling up with a cup of tea, a volume of Proust, a feather boa, pasties, and lace thigh-highs.

Then on the weekend, it's time for hobbies: rebuilding the carburetor in a classic Shelby Mustang while clad in open-toed platform sandals and a chiffon bodysuit; chewing a strand of pearls and a rumpled American Apparel undershirt over a game of bridge.

Wearing comfortable, supportive, absorbent underwear during a game of tennis? Please.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:25 AM on March 24, 2011 [37 favorites]


When I saw the words "bum" and "BBC" in the same FPP, I assumed that it was about a deadbeat tennis player.

Good thing she wasn't wearing a fanny pack.....
posted by three blind mice at 8:26 AM on March 24, 2011



I guess this speaks volumes about me. But what I noticed immediately is her western grip. Not developed until after the introduction of graphite rackets. (interesting aside:spellcheck only honors rackets)
posted by notreally at 8:27 AM on March 24, 2011


Wearing comfortable, supportive, absorbent underwear during a game of tennis? Please.


Didn't you miss out the part where you wash the car?
posted by unSane at 8:31 AM on March 24, 2011


I don't believe any of it without a current bum for comparison...
posted by Samizdata at 8:32 AM on March 24, 2011


the fact that her face is hidden is absolutely key since it allows the (implicitly male) viewer to fill in the gap with whatever fantasy face he wishes

Ehhhhh I'm not so sure.... some things would be incongruous.
posted by Wolfdog at 8:42 AM on March 24, 2011


Hello, creepy sounding age difference!

Thirty ain't so old and eighteen ain't so young.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:43 AM on March 24, 2011


Serena Williams shows off her assets* in new Top Spin 4 video ad, which already has 2K Sports backpedaling.

*I am so sorry. Reading too much ad copy brings out the worst in me.
posted by misha at 8:48 AM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


The ultimate she-was-good-from-behind story.
posted by eperker at 8:52 AM on March 24, 2011


Why exactly was this picture taken. This is the purest form of objectification, a woman is not just part of the scenery to be ogled or photographed. When will people learn that this is just plain wrong.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:05 AM on March 24, 2011


I thought this was going to be about someone named Fiona Walker claiming legal ownership of Beyonce's butt.
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:20 AM on March 24, 2011


Most people thought it was a real candid shot of a famous tennis star caught unaware scratching her bum revealing no underwear.

Who are these "most people" and why are they so stupid?
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:24 AM on March 24, 2011


The flipside of the tennis player picture was the guy holding the baby. Feast your eyes here: L'Enfant.

Also, this is bringing back memories of Athena. Does that mean I'm old yet? Hands off the Rodney Matthews posters, all you nerds--I saw them first.
posted by Life at Boulton Wynfevers at 9:29 AM on March 24, 2011


Who are these "most people" and why are they so stupid?

The "most people" are the "they" in "they say that..." You know them; they'll say anything.
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:55 AM on March 24, 2011


They're all out to get me anyway.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:56 AM on March 24, 2011


Jeebus dude, this is the best of the web? Must you?
posted by Lynsey at 10:25 AM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


[more inside]

i see what you did there.
posted by Artichoke Dance Off!! at 11:04 AM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why exactly was this picture taken. This is the purest form of objectification, a woman is not just part of the scenery to be ogled or photographed. When will people learn that this is just plain wrong.
posted by Ad hominem


I don't understand.. are you ironically parroting ridiculous criticism?
posted by skewed at 11:51 AM on March 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Laying bare her feelings about the photo...

That is some quality writing!

I particularly like this digression:

Fans of the picture have included world-famous movie stars Ernest Borgnine and Charlton Heston, and British serial killer Dennis Nielsen. Scottish-born Nielsen, a former army butcher, killed at least 15 men while living in London. He kept the bodies of his mutilated victims, some of them lovers, in his apartment before disposing of them in his drain and garden. He was sentenced to life in 1983.

OK, good to know!
posted by ignignokt at 1:27 PM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why exactly was this picture taken. This is the purest form of objectification, a woman is not just part of the scenery to be ogled or photographed. When will people learn that this is just plain wrong.

That's the purest form of objectification? Wow.
posted by Rykey at 1:40 PM on March 24, 2011


ack, my back button!

not a pun, my browser hurts
posted by tehloki at 4:56 PM on March 24, 2011


I agree with Brandon. This photo sucks ass.

I like sports. I even like tennis sometimes...if they're playing on the greens at wimbledon, or the red clay in france, I'm ALL OVER IT!

This photo shows no athleticism AT ALL. This photo is no different from the ralph lauren ads where everyone is dressed appropriately for a challenging afternoon of...croquet.

Staged, no celebration of the sport, and just some simple-ass nudity.

I'm totally unimpressed and would be more excited to see Jimmy Connors big old fat 39 year old ass at the us open.

Oh yeah...also, I've never even heard of this shitty photo of this PROBABLY underage girl.

I mean if the dude was 12 years older...do you really think he would have waited till she was 18...or do you think he might have boned/photographed her at 17?
posted by hal_c_on at 5:26 PM on March 24, 2011


Vaguely relevant -- another tale of royalties going to everyone except the person who created the work that made $$$bazillions for everyone else.
posted by Mike D at 5:41 PM on March 24, 2011


Scottish-born Nielsen, a former army butcher, killed at least 15 men while living in London. He kept the bodies of his mutilated victims, some of them lovers, in his apartment before disposing of them in his drain and garden.

Why exactly were these men killed and butchered. This is the purest form of objectification, a man is not just part of the scenery to be exsanguinated or decapitated. When will people learn that this is just plain wrong.
posted by sebastienbailard at 7:14 PM on March 24, 2011


You folks have to understand that this photo was taken in the mid-1970s, i.e., before a significant percentage of the population went totally batshit insane.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 7:26 PM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


No, the photo was taken before the world realized, thanks to the internet, that most of really are batshit insane.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:32 PM on March 24, 2011


FelliniBlank writes "You obviously know nothing about women. We typically start the day by doing a few calisthenics in a silk teddy and feathered slippers. After a hearty breakfast, it's time to don a comfy crotchless leopard print thong, a studded dog collar, and a sullen pout to wash the dishes.

"Then it's off to work, geared up to win the rat race and shatter the glass ceiling -- in an oh-so-severe SS maiden uniform replete with riding crop, monocle, and knee-high stiletto fuck-me boots. After a tough day at the office, nothing's more relaxing than curling up with a cup of tea, a volume of Proust, a feather boa, pasties, and lace thigh-highs.

"Then on the weekend, it's time for hobbies: rebuilding the carburetor in a classic Shelby Mustang "


Whew! until you replaced my Ferrari with the Mustang i thought you had spy cameras targeting the Mitheral secret compound.

FelliniBlank writes "Wearing comfortable, supportive, absorbent underwear during a game of tennis? Please."

Serious question: do women really need supportive lower underwear? I've never really noticed that before.
posted by Mitheral at 11:59 PM on March 24, 2011


I mean if the dude was 12 years older...do you really think he would have waited till she was 18...or do you think he might have boned/photographed her at 17?

The age of consent is 16 in the UK.
posted by unSane at 6:43 AM on March 25, 2011


Serious question: do women really need supportive lower underwear? I've never really noticed that before.

Well sure, just not the same sort of "support" men's anatomy requires. Having some spandex around the core is helpful, and no matter how small or muscular your butt is, portions of it are still going to bounce with high-impact exertion, which hurts like hell after a while.
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:51 AM on March 25, 2011


I'll be in my bunk...
posted by Crabby Appleton at 10:59 AM on March 25, 2011


> Serious question: do women really need supportive lower underwear?

No, not in my experience.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:49 PM on March 25, 2011


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