Pamela Green: Naked as nature intended

For some, it might be hard to imagine a time when hardcore pornography was not readily available, and eroticism was predominantly 8mm and monochrome. A time when you couldn’t, at the tap of a keyboard, arrive at websites like pornhub.com, redtube.com or even a site like Heylittledick.com (should you chose). But if you lived in the ’50s and ’60s there was no super highway to erotic material from the comfort of your home, desk or cubicle. Instead it was by means of private men's clubs, post delivered in discreet brown paper packages or adult cinemas. The eroticism of that era worked within a different set of boundaries – it was artistic, coveted and not dominated by the aggressive, hyper-masculinity of porn today, it also created its own superstars. If you were in America the most famous and top of the list would be Bettie Page, but across the pond, in Britain, there was another name at the top of the list, and that name was Pamela Green.

Whilst Pamela Green was still a student at St Martin’s School of Art (Central St Martins) she funded her artist training working as a nude model which inadvertently lead to her becoming one of the most famous pinups in 1960’s Britain. Along with Soho and glamour photography legend George Harrison Marks, she ran a studio and the publishing company Kamera Publications. “Apart from posing myself, I trained models to work for our studio: we produced four monthly magazines for which I was responsible. We also branched out with 8mm Glamour films” she recalls in an online journal. Pictures of Pamela in Kamera magazine attracted the attention of legendary director Michael Powell who cast her in horror thriller ‘Peeping Tom’ (1960), a film that was critically mauled but has since garnered cult and classic status. Not long after this, with Harrison Marks directing and producing, Pamela would star in one of Britain’s first ever naturist movies ‘Naked as Nature Intended’ (1961). The film’s concept was born out of trying to avoid the censors, the only way you could get nudity on film was to make a pseudo-documentary about naturism. “The story was, to say the least, flimsy. Five girls escape the routine of their everyday jobs and travel down to Cornwall. They are not nudists...they decide on a hiking holiday which culminates in a Nudist Camp in Cornwall.” The camp was actually near Watford and is still there today. The film was a complete sensation, people lined up to get into cinemas, the queues went around the block and its popularity kept it on screens for a massive 17 months. 

Pamela Green died in 2010 from leukaemia and bequeathed her personal collection to her close friend. Today he manages the Pamela Green website and archive, an archive that gives us an incredible insight into those that pushed the boundaries in a far more innocent time. And in credit to her legacy the film Xcitement! (1960), starring Pamela, became part of British Film Institute Pleasure Principal Collection: The BFI’s guide to illicit celluloid pleasures, in 2016. Britain’s favourite pinup is proving she can still capture our attention, desires and curiosity. 

Jayson MansarayComment