Newer posts are loading.
You are at the newest post.
Click here to check if anything new just came in.

From Tennis Girl to Twilight: the posters that have defined the decades

A photograph of a woman scratching her bum is one of the bestselling posters of all time. But what have been the other popular images to adorn our walls over the years?

Tennis Girl was the photograph of the moment a beautiful young woman gracefully raised the flap of her pristine tennis whites, and scratched her bum. Thirty five years on, it remains one of the biggest-selling posters of all time, and news this week that the now 52-year-old model has been reunited with the image for an exhibition celebrating tennis-related art will surely send many men of a certain vintage scurrying down memory lane and knocking urgently on the doors of their teenage bedrooms. The image, printed in 1976 by now-defunct poster retailers Athena, was for much of the 70s and 80s a staple feature in the digs of many a lustful young undergraduate, and has since sold more than two million copies.

But Tennis Girl was not the only pinup in town for long. Just over 10 years later, a curvaceous Canadian fitness instructor called Pamela Anderson was photographed at an American Football game, and a new cultural icon was born. Images of Pammy, says Charlie Chester, managing director of GB Posters, are some of his most popular posters from the late 80s, along with the musical icons of the time: Guns N' Roses, the Smiths and the Cure.

The era's more discerning poster-buyers, however, might have plumped for cult French film Betty Blue, which featured a sultry Béatrice Dalle, head in hands, gazing at the sky. "It was the poster that got me into poster design," says designer Stephen Burdge. "An iconic image of the 80s that went out of fashion for a bit but I think is coming back."

Though pictures of dead icons Bob Marley, Kurt Cobain and Audrey Hepburn have always sold big, says Chester, poster popularity tends to follow cultural memes. So, as Trainspotting and Pulp Fiction became required watching for the country's youth, the 90s saw the faces of Ewan McGregor and Uma Thurman loom large over desks everywhere. For those in their early teens, Buffy the Vampire Slayer star Sarah Michelle Gellar was the wallpaper of choice.

The highest-sellers of the noughties were Pokémon and Lord of the Rings, though anecdotal evidence suggests Banksy prints were the rage for buyers of allegedly more sophisticated tastes. The current bestsellers involve Justin Bieber, JLS and the Twilight films. Will they still send hearts racing in three decades time? © Guardian News & Media Limited 2011 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

Don't be the product, buy the product!