Vanishing Variations of Beauty

Why did so many of the women in vintage photography have what, by today's standards, would be strangely-shaped breasts, particularly such unusual-looking nipples? Part of the difference from then to now, is the improvement in brassiere design, that did away with the once-popular, "missile-shaped" breasts of the 40's and 50's. Click on each image for larger viewHoward Hughes is often credited with the design of the cantilever strap system, which he is said to have designed to comfortably rein in Jane Russell's legendary endowments. The male's fascination with breasts has always been obvious and well-documented, but the aesthetic appreciation of female nipples is not openly discussed in the same manner. More often than not, a woman with large breasts will have large nipples, yet there is occasionally that wonderful case where a small-breasted woman will have full, protruding areolae and nipples, or even more unusual, when a large-breasted woman has small, pert nipples. What is intriguing, even more than the size of the areolae, is the distinctive shapes that breasts and nipples can take. It is that variety that seems conspicuously absent these days. Certainly, today's propensity for cosmetic surgery is a major contributor to the lack of individuality. When you've seen one set of silicone-filled, Hollywood, balloon-boobs, you've seen them all. There are, of course, many contemporary celebrities with distinctively beautiful nipples, but it seems that they are the exception rather than the rule. In the overt attempt to homogenize all aspects of life, the "glamour" and entertainment industries portray the generic, quarter-sized, dark orange, smooth areola, and slightly pert nipple as the ideal. There is certainly nothing to dislike about that, but there is a perfection to the "imperfections" of the past, like women who had "unmatched" nipples, or ones that protruded in splendidly unusual convexities atop the breast. The "realness" of past figure photography is now only found in one's own reality, the special, private treasures of one's adventures.