26 August 2008

Harrison Marks. Kamera 1957 +

Harrison Marks. KAMERA. (Magazine) Issues 1 to 89. 1957 -1968. Soho, London.

Current Selling Prices
$15-$40 /£8-£20 per issue

We recently put a short run of this magazine on Ebay with the illustrations below and this description:

"Harrison Marks, Kamera (London: Kamera Publications, 1957)
ISSUES 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9 & 10
This is a nine-issue run of the earliest numbers of Kamera magazine, the serial portfolio of nudes created by Gerrard Street photographer Harrison Marks. Each magazine measures 7.25 x 4.75 inches and is 32 pages long. The format throughout is uninterrupted black and white photographs of female nudes accompanied by a short commentary printed at the front and back. These commentaries cast light on the techniques used in the photographs; for example, ‘with breasts of unusual beauty, by cutting in with my camera, I have tried to achieve with dramatic use of light, shade and texture an effect comparable to a piece of sculpture'. (Like his American contemporary Russ Meyer, Marks was a breast man: ‘big tits sell’). Each magazine offers the reader 10 x 8 inch enlargements of any photo for 8/6 or a set of six for 42 shillings: ‘Truly a magnificent collection to hang in one’s study or office’. Models featuring in these pages include Pamela Green (Marks’s pretend wife) and the dark-haired ‘Julie’.

This suite of nine issues (the first ten minus issue number 8) is in exceptional condition without blemish or scuff and the colour covers are as lurid as new.

A flawless archive of erotic kitsch from Soho's glory days."

The curious thing is that the item got absolutely nowhere on Ebay, although a shorter run is catalogued at ABE at £750 and we wanted about £250. Four people only viewed in a week and I have a feeling they were all me. The explanation came from looking at other chancers listing risqué magazines--you are not allowed to show nipples. Curious because, as you may know, proper porn is freely available all over the infobahn. I guess Ebay have some sort of nipple detecting software or more likely pick up on key words in your description (nudes, breasts, tits). The items are not banned but if you put them up they get no visitors and are not indexed and have a sort of purgatorial half-life. Fees however apply. This rude word detection software is fallible--a few months ago a scholarly description of an 18th Century edition of Pope's 'Rape of the Lock' lead it to being sectioned in the same way.

VALUE. There were 89 issues of these kitschy mags and you seldom see the late ones. The punters for them these days tend to be funky collectors of oddballiana, kitsch, bad taste and erotica - they are now known as 'jazz mags.' Customers buy them for a laugh, young women, taste freaks and fashionistas collect them and they sell readily at £5 +. Occasionally older punters want them out of nostalgia, one collector pushing eighty had known some of the girls in the pics and collects specific women in the great Marks oeuvre. The whole run is now available on 18 CDs from a special Harrison Marks website. A complete run in paper should get into four figures.

A biography of the Van Dyke bearded photographic maestro is promised and interest in the man has never abated since a cult for him started in the late 1970s. TRIVIA. HM's chief model Pamela Green was cast, appropriately, as the nude model, Milly in Michael Powell's 'Peeping Tom' movie (1960.) The Parisian set had originally been designed and built by Pamela for her red-headed ‘Rita Landre’ character. Harrison Marks's Gerrard Street studio, in the heart of what we now know as Soho's 'China Town' (and within spitting distance of our shop) became the centre of the nude and glamour scene in the late 1950s. Possibly one day a blue plaque will appear on the building.


Anonymous said...

i sold a full set of these for £750 about 2 years ago... after the fact enquiries suggest they could easily have acheived £1000... i had bought them amongst a huge lot of similar and was more than pleased with £750... they were printed in huge numbers and the earlier issues were continually reprinted (without any changes to distinguish firsts from later printings)and the main reason that later issues are harder to find is that as interest waned and more explicit material became commonplace they did not need to be reprinted.

Fnarf said...

I'm just excited to hear that somewhere there's a fellow with "nipple detection software" on his resume.

These magazines are fantastic kitsch. I'm fascinated by seedy Soho. I love that his signature is reproduced on the front of them! Sadly Mrs. Fnarf is less enthusiastic about, uh, "jazz magazines" than I am.

Anonymous said...

"Possibly one day a blue plaque will appear on the building." I guess it would have to be blue...PMB

Anonymous said...

There are several groups dedicated to GHM and his girls. A couple of the guys say they knew some of the girls, one took piccies and is starting his own group. As always, there is some hype around GHM, who is said to have owned a gardened house in south Guildford, where he took pics that might be mixed up with pics taken in a place in Orpington and Ewhurst, as gardened houses in those days were mostly alike. Also, GHM is said to have been heavily involved in hardcore from his early days, working with David Sullivan and the Gold brothers, who marketed the films and pics. None of this suggested hardcore has made it's way to the www market, but then it was very expensive made-to-order 16mm, Somebody may have a dusty fortune in the loft?

Shame GHM was a crap businessman, with the fab artistic talents of Pam Green by his side he did some really classic stuff.

Anonymous said...

Pamela Green is still around. It's about time someone did a book on her and George. Big nice coffee table book with lots of pictures of Soho in the 60s as well as the nudes.
You can order signed prints from her at

Chris Ross said...

Don't know whether URLs highlight here, but you can see more about Pamela Green and the Kamera era (I reckon she was the real creative & productive one, as well as encouraging George in the first place) - alos latest news, Pam is still giving interviews, Vicky appeared some time ago after many years in Spain - at a number of internet groups (which also have links to more), including http://groups.yahoo.com/group/kameraqueens - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mostmarksmodels & http://groups.yahoo.com/group/thepamelagreenstory - also http://groups.yahoo.com/group/retroromance & http://groups.yahoo.com/group/60sGlam. I'm the mod of all except the last one and you should find at least one highlighted link through clicking on Chris Ross above.

Barbie said...

Just wondering if you don't mind a re-post of the two pictures you have here - wanted to put them on my blog: thefemininenudeinvintage.blogspot.com

Do you happen to know the name of the model in the studio picture?!

Bookride said...

Please feel free. THe model may be Pamela Green but I am not sure...N

Anonymous said...

Where did you sell them please . I have 28 kamera club books from harrison marks . All from 1970s . Thanks

NPB said...

Please email us (writer of this blog) anyamountofbooks
about these charingx@anyamountofbooks.com
All the best - Nigel

Anonymous said...

Where can I order copies of Kamera?

I found a site yesterday, not today