Pamela Green interviewed by Peter Sykes

The Men Only Interview with Pamela Green Banner

In 1974, Men Only ran an interview with Pamela Green by Peter Sykes. I’ve transcribed the text from the article below.

The Men Only Interview, Volume 39, Number 5, May 1974

During the 1960s, if you asked anyone who knew anything at all about nude and glamour photography who was Britain’s top model, the reply, almost invariably, was “Pamela Green”. Inevitably, her name was linked with that of Harrison Marks — the photographer who first presented her beauty to an appreciative world — but Pamela was more than merely Harrison Mark’s greatest model: some photographers of renown firmly maintain that it was she who made Harrison Marks and that he would never have amounted to much without her. This may be putting it too strongly, although Marks himself has been unstinting in his praise and admiration for her — as indeed he might well have been. However, for the sake of putting the record straight, and to give some idea of what Harrison Marks owes to this extraordinary model, consider the following facts.

After their runaway success in the production of black and white pin-up prints, and in the publication of magazines such as Kamera, Solo and Femme, George and Pamela brought out a series of splendid quality 35mm colour slides under the trade name of “Pamar”. Anyone who wrote requesting details received a tastefully presented brochure and a specimen slide of the “French” model, Rita Landre (now infamous in the in circles, as it were), posed deliciously against a most authentic looking Montmartre street scene and wearing a sexy, black and mauve waspie, an exotic cape and black stockings – truly intoxicating.

Now, in addition to being Rita Landre (a red wig and ex-pert make-up, coupled with considerable acting ability, can work wonders), Pamela Green, of whom we speak, not only designed and made the costume thus reproduced, she also designed and painted the intricate set, designed the brochure itself, fixed the colour transparencies on to their card mounts, and, as best we can tell, addressed and mailed the fearsome envelopes. In short, she was then, and is now, the all-round working lady.

For the original Harrison Marks organisation Pamela also selected and trained the new models, designed and made costumes and props, painted the sets, created all the brochures (not to mention the covers of the then-popular Cat Calendars), checked the proofs, and under-took such “soul-destroying” chores as mounting large numbers of colour slides and re-touching individually, by hand, thousands of original black and white prints. But since, seemingly, all her efforts were being, taken for granted, Pamela decided to leave and set up on her own — with the fruits of her success now self-evident.

As a human being, Pamela Green is extraordinary. A student of ballet and music, an excellent classical pianist, a fine painter and a sensual photographer, she is also immersed in the film world, which handsomely rewards her. As a model she is still one of the most remarkable we have had, offering her body, itself superb, with a ravishing naturalism that has even now yet to be emulated.

She was interviewed for Men Only in her charming Hampshire home, not far from the New Forest where she loves to go walking. She was witty, voluble, quite amazingly relaxed and as authentically sensual as they come. She had the strangely appealing habit of referring to herself, in photographs, in the third person. (She will pick up a batch, of prints of herself and say something like: “Her nipples are showing to good effect here.” Or: “You see she is wearing the black corset again.” Or: “See the sensuous way the wet clothing clings to her body. ‘) All in all, she was beautiful.

Men Only: Let’s begin at the beginning. Please tell us about your childhood.

Pamela Green: My mother is Dutch. My father, who died two years ago, was English. He was a sea captain in the Merchant Navy.

Men Only: Are you an only child?

Pamela Green: Yes.

Men Only: Were you brought up as Dutch or English?

Pamela Green: Both — I had a dual education. I went to kindergarten in Holland and to school in England. I have always been able to speak both languages.

Men Only: Was your childhood happy?

Pamela Green: Yes, very.

Men Only: What were your early interests?

Pamela Green: Art was my first love, and still is. I began to draw and paint as a toddler. I seemed to have a natural aptitude for it.

Men Only: What were your ambitions in those days?

Pamela Green: I was divided. I wanted to be a great artist, but I also had visions of being a ballerina and a concert pianist. Then, coming right down to earth, as you might say, I considered farming. I have a great feeling for the land and for nature in general.

Men Only: You never thought of modelling?

Pamela Green: No.

Men Only: Then how did you come to be such a famous one?

Pamela Green: Fate, I suppose. It’s a long story. I studied ballet and music and then went to art school. That’s how the modelling started – quite by chance. When one of the regular models failed to show up one evening, I stood in for her and discovered I had an inborn gift for striking artistic poses. After this, I began to model quite frequently.

Men Only: Was this in the nude?

Pamela Green: Good Heavens, no! Well, not at first. It was all costume work. But eventually, one thing led to another.

Men Only: But you did continue with your studies?

Pamela Green: Yes, for a while. I hitch-hiked all through France and Italy to see as many of the Old Masters as I could. I also submitted three oil paintings of my own — female nudes — to the Royal Academy and had them accepted. On the strength of this, I was given a grant, but it wasn’t nearly sufficient to live on, so I started to look around.

One day, on impulse, I walked into a photographer’s studio in Frith Street, Soho, and asked if they wanted a figure model. The photographer was Doug Webb — a wonderful man, ex-R.A.F. he was in the last plane back from the famous dam busting raid over Germany -and he took some nude shots of me. He was pretty horrified when, afterwards, having got dressed, I showed up with my school scarf wrapped around my neck. He realised with great dismay that he’d been photographing a schoolgirl in the nude. But everything turned out all right. Doug met my father and got his consent for me to model for him.

Men Only: What happened next?

Pamela Green: I began to get a lot of engagements for lingerie modelling — you know, corsets, brassieres, etc., and then one of Bernard Delfont’s lavish shows opened at the Prince of Wales Theatre. Quite an amount of nudity was featured, so one day I simply walked in and asked if they required any nude show-girls. They took me on, and that’s how I came to meet George Harrison Marks, who had been engaged by Delfont to take publicity pictures of the show.

It was a big break for George because at the time he was really nothing more than an enthusiastic amateur photographer and hadn’t done much nude work at all. His speciality was portraits of comedians. He was a comic himself, you know, working as Georgie Harrison with a dumb stooge called Stewart. That’s how it all came about. George and I found we worked well together, so we formed a partnership and learned as we went along.

Men Only: I recall that you wore your hair dark in a lot of the early pictures. What is your natural colour?

Pamela Green: I am very dark, but I photograph much better as a blonde — or as a redhead, like Rita Landre. Of course, it wasn’t allowed to show pubic hair in those days, and most models depilated to make re-touching easier, so it was easy to keep one’s real colour a secret. Now it’s almost impossible.

Men Only: What about merkins — false pubic hair-pieces?

Pamela Green: They won’t stand up to close-up photography.

Men Only: Most people think of you as a blonde. Also, you’re not nearly so tall as one had imagined.

Pamela Green: I’m 5′ 3″, but I do appear to be much taller. It’s largely a matter of proportion and camera angles. Rita, by the way, is supposed to be 5′ 10″. She was nearly always photographed from a low angle.

Men Only: Why did you separate from Harrison Marks — seemingly at the pinnacle of success?

Pamela Green: Our relationship was fine while we were building up, and, as you know, we started from next to nothing in Gerrard Street and rapidly became very big indeed. Then, when we were riding high, George suddenly seemed to lose all interest in the business and the efficiency declined. It used to worry me to death — unfulfilled orders. broken promises — but things went from bad to worse. We got terribly behind with orders, the publication dates of our magazines became hopelessly erratic, and I realised I was fighting a losing battle.

Men Only: So you walked out?

Pamela Green: Yes, and I lost virtually everything I had worked for. I had to begin all over again.

Men Only: What did you do?

Pamela Green: The wheel went full circle. I returned to Doug Webb, who had first photographed me in the nude. Doug is now a freelance stills man, working for the film industry. He’s teaching me photography from the other side of the camera and I can already operate a wide range of equipment — Rolleiflex, Mamiyaflex, Pentax, etc., and do my own processing if necessary. That’s something I never did with George.

Men Only: The sheer volume of your output is staggering. How do you explain this?

Pamela Green: I work very fast, and I get so absorbed in what I’m doing that time means nothing to me.

Men Only: Are you publishing any of this lovely material?

Pamela Green: Yes, a lot of the black and white photographs are being used. I have a series of Pamela Green Nude and Glamour Posing Guides. We’re up to No. 6 at present.

Men Only: What, exactly, are these?

Pamela Green: Each is an 8″ x 10″ booklet containing between 48 and 108 numbered studies of myself. Nos. 5 and 6 feature another model as well.

Men Only: Well, what’s the purpose of the Guides?

Pamela Green: Precisely as the name suggests. They show the photographer what can be done with a single model and enable him to show her just how he wants her to pose. All models require some assistance, particularly if they are working with a photographer for the first time. Then, in the introductory remarks, I give brief details of lighting, and, from No. 3 onwards, information regarding cameras, exposures, films, developers, etc.

Men Only: The pictures are a splendid idea, but quite honestly, do you think the technical data is much use – because, as you must know, photographs lose so much in reproduction. You see guff like, “Leica M3, 50 mm Summicron, 1/250 at f4, Plus X, Promicrol, Printed on Bromesko WSG 2S, developed Cobrol at 68 deg. F.” Then, after all that, the people you use have second-rate blocks made and print the pictures on poor-quality paper that reduces everything to a few shades of muddy grey.

Pamela Green: I agree absolutely with what you say, but, you see, the pictures in my publications are real photo-graphs printed on bromide paper from negatives. They haven’t been through a block-making process. Admittedly, they’re small, but everything can be clearly seen. They are, of course, all completely untouched. This is the only way I know to present original photo-graphs in large numbers while retaining the necessary quality — like the tone and detail that is so important. All the photographs are recent and none of them has ever been published before. Those in the Glamour Guide – that’s No. 2 in the series – feature a lovely range of lingerie: high-heeled boots, suspender belts, and stockings; also
some of those “wetting studies” which seem so popular with a lot of men.

Men Only: What’s the price of these Guides?

Pamela Green: £1.25 each. But the new No. 6 Guide is £2.00, as this guide contains more pages. Then, of course, 8″ x 10″ prints of all the studies are available, any three different ones for £1.25.

Men Only: Let’s change the subject. How do you keep your body in such perfect condition?

Pamela Green: Lots of exercise — walking and cycling. I don’t drive a car. I work pretty hard, too, I’m often up at 5.30 in the morning, and I’m in bed by about ten at night.

Men Only: This is not at all the sort of image I had of you.

Pamela Green: I suppose you thought I was a jet-set, party, good-time girl?

Men Only: Yes, something like that.

Pamela Green: It’s a popular misconception about models. I’ve lived that kind of life in the past. Now, I can take it or leave it. Actually, I much prefer the simple things. I know this may sound corny, but it happens to be true. I love to dress up for my work — all models are exhibitionists. They have to be, otherwise, they’d be useless at the job. But, when work’s over, I like to be in comfortable old clothes.

Men Only: Looking at all these wonderful photographs of you, it’s remarkable that there isn’t even a sign of pressure marks or uneven sun-tan on any of them.

Pamela Green: I should certainly hope not! A girl who allows her body to be photographed in that condition has no pride in her work.

Men Only: How do you avoid it?

Pamela Green: When I’m going to pose in the nude, I wear nothing at all beneath my dress. This eliminates all pressure marks – which can take as long as an hour to disappear completely. They’re visible to the camera long after they’ve ceased to be apparent to the eye. I get an even sun tan by wearing a crochet-work bikini with wide loops — that’s when I am obliged to wear anything at all. The constant movement of the body in relation to the material prevents any “printing”. If I get any”ghosting” on my body, I fill in with Max Factor make-up.

Men Only: Do you feel more at ease in the nude than when clothed?

Pamela Green: Yes, I probably do. You may find this difficult to credit, but I often completely forget that I am naked. I’m afraid I’ve involuntarily shocked a lot of people due to this. I always do my best not to give offence and spend a lot of time selecting suitable, deserted locations for outdoor work.

Men Only: Do you mind if people wander up and stare?

Pamela Green: Not if they show genuine interest in what we’re doing. But I object if they start making inane remarks or expressing disgust.

Men Only: What do you like most in life?

Pamela Green: Art, music, literature. And I love the countryside – the play of light and shade on the landscape and the texture of things — sand, rock, iron gates, farm implements, lichen on trees, peeling paint on old wooden doors. I see pictures of all these things.

Men Only: With nude flesh for contrast?

Pamela Green: Yes.

Men Only: A bold question. Do you think you’re sexy?

Pamela Green: Yes, very sexy — but it’s not an obsession.

Men Only: What turns you on?

I think water on the nude body is very erotic. I like the sensuous way little rivulets run down between the breasts, flow over the belly, and lose themselves in the pubic hair. I like wet clothes clinging to my body.’

Pamela Green: Oh, lots of things. I think water on the nude body is very erotic. I like the sensual way little rivulets run down between the breasts, flow over the belly and lose themselves in the pubic hair. I like wet clothes clinging to the body, moulding themselves like a second skin and delineating the rigid nipples. I adore leather. I have fantasies. I see myself in high-heeled thigh boots, holding a long bull-whip stretched out between my black-gloved hands, and all the rest nude. I’m crazy about sexy lingerie — French knickers, suspender belts, way-out brassieres, corsets and waspies. I have a huge collection of all these, many of which I’ve designed and made myself. I just adore seamed stockings and abhor tights.

Men Only: Tell us more. Do you think erotic thoughts when you’re posing?

Pamela Green: Very often, I do. It depends on the pose, the setting and, more particularly, on the props. Actually, I’m more erotic in my fantasies when I’m posing as someone other than myself.

Men Only: Rita Landre, for example?

Pamela Green: Yes. It’s quite amazing how a wig and make-up can transform one’s personality. I think of things as Rita that would never enter Pamela’s mind. It’s really weird.

Men Only: Does it thrill you to know that what you are doing is going to give sexual delight to thousands of men?

Pamela Green: Yes, of course it does. It would be hypocritical to pretend otherwise. There’s something strange about this. I don’t understand it myself, but I get a feeling, particularly when doing close-ups of some particular part of the body — the breasts or the buttocks or wherever. After a while, the flesh that is exposed to the lens begins to feel different — I can’t explain it properly, there are no words. It’s almost as though it’s being used up in some way — consumed. There’s a tremendous sense of giving — giving of one’s own body for the pleasure of others. I find this sexually exciting in the extreme — maybe it’s some form of exhibitionism — but it leaves me totally exhausted, mentally and physically. I have never told this to anyone before. The closer the lens comes to my flesh, the more intense is the feeling — and the excitement.

Men Only: It sounds deliciously kinky. Are you kinky in any other ways?

Pamela Green: Only in my love of sexy lingerie and way-out costumes.

Men Only: Have you a taste for the bizarre? You mentioned a bullwhip. Rita Landre looks as though she would know how to use one very well.

Pamela Green: Yes, I think she definitely has it in her. I like almost anything that is different.

Men Only: Does that include enormous breasts?

Pamela Green: Yes, I like to see a really heavy pair of breasts.

Men Only: Your own body is just about perfect. Have you ever wished it to be different in any respect?

Pamela Green: No, I’m perfectly happy with my body, but I wish my face were better.

Men Only: It is an extraordinarily photogenic face. There’s a proudness — an aloofness — which simply cries out to be broken down. It can be completely devastating, especially in low-angle shots which emphasise your dominance. The Rita Landre studies were magnificent in this respect.

Pamela Green: I am about to resurrect Rita — in fact, I’ve just bought her a new wig. It’s on gauze, like the old one, so she’ll have to wear her hair all wispy and covering her forehead — just as she always used to do.

Men Only: You’re obviously so wrapped up in your art — and with the technique of posing and photography, and so intent on the purely artistic side of it —you may easily lose sight of the fact that, no matter how good are your intentions, at least ninety per cent of your pictures will end up with men who use them solely for sexual purposes. Does it upset you to be told this?

Pamela Green: Not in the least.

Men Only: Don’t you regret that most of your meticulous care and effort is wasted?

Pamela Green: No. Whatever purpose people buy pictures for, I feel I should try to give them the very best quality possible. After all, it costs no more — it just takes more time and care.

Men Only: What are your views on hard-core pornography?

Pamela Green: If men want it, let them have it — but I personally think it’s boring and ugly. I’d never do open crotch work for anybody — not out of modesty, but because it’s so ugly.

Men Only: You mentioned earlier that you used to train girls to pose in the nude. How do you go about this?

Pamela Green: By going with the girl into a private room, taking my clothes off and showing her what is required.

Men Only: You really believe that it’s necessary to remove your own clothes?

Pamela Green: Absolutely essential. If I remain clothed, the girl, obviously, feels at a disadvantage — and you must remember that she is almost certainly a bag of nerves anyway. Nudity puts us on a more equal footing. Besides, how can one possibly demonstrate a nude pose when one is dressed? The complete lack of fuss with which I take off my clothes and go into a series of poses helps to make the girl think there’s nothing to it.

Men Only: But there is a great deal to it, isn’t there?

Pamela Green: There’s nothing to taking one’s clothes off, but posing is an art. However, the first thing you must do is instil confidence. Once a girl begins to believe in herself, all the awkwardness falls away.

Men Only: Would you recommend a girl to take up nude modelling as a career? Is it a glamorous job?

Pamela Green: It’s anything but glamorous. It’s damned hard work. I know of none harder —especially out of doors. In the studio, one can lean heavily upon props and fancy lighting. Given a photographer who really knows his business, good photographs can be produced from most girls in studio conditions — but on the beach, it’s you, and you alone, who must do the work. It’s utterly exhausting. It drains one physically and mentally.

Men Only: Pamela Green, thank you very much.

Interview by Peter Sykes, Men Only, 1974

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