When you think of zombies, what do you think of next? If you said beautiful women, you’re probably in the minority. But that’s okay — you’ve got an interesting idea, and you can work with it. That’s the headspace fashion photographer Jessica Rajs found herself in, as she got to work publishing the coffee table book Gorgeous & Gory: The Zombie Pinup Collection. It’s a collection of fairly standard pinup models decked out in stage makeup, fake blood, wounds, and more in an attempt to evoke the feeling of lusting after the living dead.
The full-color book is a hardcover companion to the annual pinup calendars Rajs is responsible for, and this tome collects images from the first four calendars as well as offering new photos for those interested in collecting.
Each photo depicts models who only fit within a very narrow margin of beauty — you won’t find any plus size models within these pages — and many of them rock creative and interesting layouts a la pinups of the past, but many of them look more like regular alternative models dressed up and ready for Halloween with extensive retouching done to give them the appearance that they’ve been brought back from the dead.
And it’s not as if these photos are not edited in an interesting manner, or that the models are boring. It’s the fact that this is an interesting concept that could have been elevated beyond the typical trappings of kitsch and alternative modeling. The pages are glossy and super high quality, and there’s plenty to love here if all you’re aiming for are beautiful busty babes in zombie face. But given the “gorgeous” moniker, it would have been interesting to see different setups and alternative body shapes showcased as well.
I particularly enjoyed the zombie mermaid photoshoots, as well as the more “domestic” imagery, which brought to mind the quintessential 50s housewife, only one that’s rotting away at the core. The colors are bright and vivid as well, and some of these photos are tasteful enough that you can share with others if you’ve got friends into art of that ilk.,
Overall, Gorgeous & Gory: The Zombie Pinup Collection is an interesting project, though one that doesn’t attempt to transcend any boundaries or break any new ground. It’s exactly what you’d expect from a book of photos like these, and they’re done well and in a professional manner, but in the end they’re just as ho-hum as the zombie fiction those who are purchasing this book are no doubt shambling into stores to buy.