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April 2, 2010 8:55 AM   Subscribe

"Tennis Girl" photographer dead at 63. Photographer Martin Elliot was best known for the iconic 1976 photo "Tennis Girl".

More than 2 million posters sold world wide, "Tennis Girl" became a symbol of the 70s. The image has been recreated in various ways by Kylie Minogue, Anna Kournikova, Venus Williams (inadvertently?), some Lego builder, Rabbids and others. (Some links might be very slightly not safe for work.)
posted by iviken (39 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's sad that he died at 63, and lucky for him that he retained his copyright (many fledging photographers don't) an made a fortune. Historical import, though, is love.
posted by applemeat at 9:03 AM on April 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


( )( )
posted by The White Hat at 9:05 AM on April 2, 2010 [10 favorites]


That photo is great. Wow.
posted by kbanas at 9:08 AM on April 2, 2010


Ah, to have one's posterior preserved on a poster for all posterity. Nice post!
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:09 AM on April 2, 2010 [16 favorites]


From the "1976 photo" link:

I remember seeing this poster on lots of dorm room walls and one thing that has always bugged me about it: Where the fuck are that man's nipples?
posted by NoMich at 9:17 AM on April 2, 2010


They're just out of sight, NoMich. One is hidden by his bicep, the other is on the far side of his pectoral muscle, beyond the horizon line, so to speak.
posted by ocherdraco at 9:21 AM on April 2, 2010


NoMich: this may explain why his chest looks so odd-

Mr Rowell said: "When he arrived on the set, he had horrendous sunburn on his chest. He said he had been on a sunbed the night before and sort of fallen asleep. There was a bit of a fuss and I was told the agent was dropping his fee because the pictures would have to be retouched."
posted by bhnyc at 9:32 AM on April 2, 2010


Where the fuck are that man's nipples?

No nipples on this updated version either.

Anyway: "The poster that came to be considered the ideal of the "New Man" wasn't without it's share of lies, addiction and tragedy. What people didn't know about was that it was thought up by a gay guy, who later died of AIDS, was shot by a guy who ended up with a drug addiction due to the money he earned, and starred a guy who ended up sleeping with over 3,000 girls."
posted by iviken at 9:48 AM on April 2, 2010


This is a fantastic photostream. Example. Has it ever been on the blue before?
posted by dhartung at 9:50 AM on April 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


I would not be too happy if I had a mixed doubles partner like the girl shown in the photograph. I think she would be too conscious of not letting anything show and thus would not concentrate enough on winning the game.
posted by digsrus at 10:07 AM on April 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Maybe there ought to be a NSFW above the cut? Just sayin'.
posted by entropicamericana at 10:44 AM on April 2, 2010


Not very many people work in 1972. Just sayin'.
posted by koeselitz at 10:50 AM on April 2, 2010


...guy who ended up with a drug addiction due to the money he earned

This stood out for me in that interesting set of stories related to the image. That's not really how it works.
posted by Babblesort at 10:52 AM on April 2, 2010


I think the story of the guy looking at cheesecake photos at work was pretty awesome (see VSNSFW link).
posted by Mister_A at 11:10 AM on April 2, 2010


I didn't know this photograph was a Thing, though when I saw the title I guessed instantly what it referred to. The only time I ever saw it was as a little child visiting the apartment of a middle-aged friend of my father's. He kept it in his bathroom. I took him for a perv - it was my first encounter with adult sexuality, as well as with cute girls' knickerless bottoms. Can't complain really.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 11:22 AM on April 2, 2010


Hmm...something I've never seen/heard of before this link. The 70's sure were raunchier than today.
posted by Rarebit Fiend at 11:30 AM on April 2, 2010


"Tennis Girl" has its own Wikipedia page? Are you fuckin' kidding me?
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:57 AM on April 2, 2010


"Tennis Girl" has its own Wikipedia page? Are you fuckin' kidding me?

So has L'Enfant.
posted by iviken at 12:26 PM on April 2, 2010


Oh yes,....... that picture.
posted by Liquidwolf at 1:31 PM on April 2, 2010


Wow - I think the first time I saw "Tennis Girl" was in a copy of VideoGames & Computer Entertainment magazine. It might not have been the original print - I think she was holding an NES cartridge in her "lifting" hand.

It was quite a find for a pre-pubescent boy who was otherwise looking for Super Mario Brothers walkthroughs.
posted by m@f at 1:39 PM on April 2, 2010


I cycle to that campus several times a week. I never see anything even close to this.
posted by srboisvert at 1:57 PM on April 2, 2010


Digsrus, many who forgo their bloomers don't really worry so much about what they might be showing. She might have been a fine partner.
posted by stormygrey at 2:17 PM on April 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


The 'iconic poster' of the 70's?

I think not.

They are forgetting Farrah.
posted by SLC Mom at 2:33 PM on April 2, 2010


A little NSFW tag would be nice, thank you.
posted by chairface at 2:34 PM on April 2, 2010


hmmm.... I've got to question the "iconic" part as well, I've never seen this before now..
posted by HuronBob at 3:28 PM on April 2, 2010


I'd seen it a few times, but never thought of it as iconic. That might be generational, though, since I saw that dude-with-baby poster in about a million dorm rooms, and only saw the naked tennis girl a couple of times.
posted by Forktine at 4:00 PM on April 2, 2010


It would have been kinda odd if the "Tennis Girl" photographer had been best known for the iconic photo "Cold Porridge".

Office of Redundancy, I have the Office of Redundancy on the line! ;)
posted by bpm140 at 5:37 PM on April 2, 2010


I also have never seen that photo before. Is this mostly a British thing?
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 6:07 PM on April 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I'd never seen it either.
posted by koeselitz at 6:32 PM on April 2, 2010


I also have never seen that photo before. Is this mostly a British thing?

Nah, pretty well know in Australia.

I coulda sworn I saw/heard it referenced in The Simpsons, but no luck on Google. Ranked #1 for a search of "tennis girl" simpsons was Japansese Tennis Girl Rape [the fah?], and this came in at #4: http://digg.com/comedy/Cheeky_Lego_Tennis_Girl
posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:52 PM on April 2, 2010


Sorry, missed the Lego link in the [more inside] part.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:56 PM on April 2, 2010


Tennis girl was on IT crowd. it was awesome.
posted by djduckie at 7:27 PM on April 2, 2010


I had never heard of that photo, yet grew up in the 1970's. When I saw it, I thought "what beautiful light." Then I realized the part about no panties.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:33 PM on April 2, 2010


"Tennis Girl" has its own Wikipedia page? Are you fuckin' kidding me?

Clearly meets the general notability guideline.

They are forgetting Farrah.

Could be a UK/US thing. I know I've seen this numerous times, but not nearly as much as Farrah.
posted by dhartung at 11:40 PM on April 2, 2010


This is apparently pertinent mostly to men, because I had never heard of or seen the oh-so-famous-sounding "Tennis Girl" picture until this post. As I preview I see others also have not seen it.
posted by agregoli at 9:49 AM on April 3, 2010


Wow. I remember going to the supermarket in Ireland in the mid '70s and spending ages flicking through the enormous poster displays. "Tennis" Girl was one (the sport wasn't important, she was called Arse Girl). The rest were probably Thin Lizzy, Star Wars, Farrah, cute Kittens (plus ca change, MetaFilter) the latest Kawasaki GPz1100 or some other such nonsense. Apart from the GPz1100, I always liked this one, way more than Farrah. I guess that says something about 12-year-old me.
posted by Nick Verstayne at 1:47 PM on April 3, 2010


On this sad occasion, I was moved to write a song to honor Elliot's most popular work.

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!

O Tennis Girl, O Tennis Girl,
You give us so much pleasure!
How oft at any time the sight,
O cheeky one, gives us delight!
O Tennis Girl, O Tennis Girl,
You give us so much pleasure!

O Tennis Girl, O Tennis Girl,
Forever plump your bottom.
Your buttocks bare in summertime
Stay bravely bare in wintertime.
O Tennis Girl, O Tennis Girl,
Forever plump your bottom.

O Tennis Girl, O Tennis Girl,
You fill my heart with music.
Reminding us on ev'ry day,
To think of you and not turn gay,
O Tennis Girl, O Tennis Girl,
You fill my heart with music.

O Tennis Girl, O Tennis Girl,
Thy hindquarters are lovely!
Not only in the summertime,
But even winter is thy prime.
O Tennis Girl, O Tennis Girl,
Thy hindquarters are lovely!

O Tennis Girl, O Tennis Girl,
Much pleasure dost thou bring me!
For every year the Tennis babe,
For self-abuse remains our fave,
O Tennis Girl, O Tennis Girl,
Much pleasure dost thou bring me!

O Tennis Girl, O Tennis Girl,
Thy tender buns curve nicely!
I'm grateful them you did not hide,
But why did you not spread them wide?
O Tennis Girl, O Tennis Girl,
Thy tender buns curve nicely!
posted by Crabby Appleton at 5:25 PM on April 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you were a child of the 70's and 80's, this poster was a staple in the Spencer's Gifts poster display.
posted by groovehouse at 7:35 PM on April 3, 2010


Quite happy you don't have a NSFP on this. Cheers.
posted by Pranksome Quaine at 5:12 AM on April 4, 2010


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