Saturday, March 14, 2009

Cheryl Tiegs photo

From time to time I'll share some stories (and perhaps pictures) from some of the swimsuit shoots I've been on. Let's see: Thailand Fling (a better cover title would have been Babes in Thailand) with Elle MacPherson, an Argentinian estancia with Molly Sims and Heidi Klum, bonefishing in Los Rocques (Venezuela) with Niki Taylor, sailing in the Virgin Islands with Heidi again...I've been lucky.
But first the story behind Cheryl Tiegs in the fishnet suit, which can be found at the end of my previous blog about the first story I sold to SI--perhaps the most famous swimsuit photo ever taken. Certainly it was so at the time...first nipples in the pages of SI. Caused quite a stir. A few years ago the longtime swimsuit editor, Jule Campbell, retired and was thinking about doing a book with me. She told me the story behind it. The shot was a total accident.
Walter Iooss was the photographer, and Walter is the best. They were down in Brazil, and they were working with two models, Cheryl being one. Walter was spending most of his time and efforts with the other model, the local Brazilian, and Cheryl was getting pissed. She also had to catch a plane home. So after Walter spent hours on an elaborate picture involving the other model, bananas, a dugout canoe, and cute little brown Brazilian children, Jule Campbell finally told him he had just 15 minutes for a shot of Cheryl in this new swimsuit in a nearby lagoon. So they hustled over, Cheryl donned the suit, waded out into the water, then walked out of the water toward Walter. He took the picture. He took a couple more. That was it. Off to the plane.
It was only after they'd returned to New York that they discovered that when the suit got wet, it became see-through. There were Cheryl's nipples, plain to see. Nothing else to the picture. No background that said Brazil. No props. Just water. Could have been taken in Long Island. Walter hated it. Jule REALLY hated it. But back in the NY offices, the dirty old SI editors LOVED it, so it ran. And it cemented Cheryl Tiegs' career as a supermodel.


  1. Classic. Too bad more women feel comfortable with this type of photo.

  2. Ah the days of my youth when I saw that Swim Suit issue.