Photo of a woman smoking in bed?
September 11, 2010 9:15 AM   Subscribe

Can you identify this picture from my vague recollection of it? In 1988 or '89 I bought a small poster (no larger than 3' x 2') featuring a black-and-white photograph of a woman lying on a bed, smoking a cigarette.

The photograph was quite grainy, and it looked like some damage to the original negative had been fixed in a couple of spots. The woman was lying on her front, and was nude or nearly nude. I think she was blonde, and her hair had some kind of vaguely vintage look about it ('50s or '60s, perhaps). If the poster had a caption, I have completely forgotten it. It wasn't purchased from the then-ubiquitous 'Athena' prints-&-posters chain, but from an independent store in London that sold a lot of stills from old movies - so it's possible this poster was from a movie still too. I think the shop was somewhere near Covent Garden. The nearest I have found to the image as I recall it is this except in the poster the angle was more squarely face-on, and the woman wasn't wearing heavy make-up.

I'll be pleasantly surprised if anyone can figure this out!
posted by misteraitch to Media & Arts (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Could it have been a Madonna poster? My freshman college roommate had a poster of Madonna that fit that general description. But, I think that would date the photo closer to 91-92, or whenever her photography book came out.

Anyway, I can't find a image of the full poster (in part because I'm not running that Google image search without the filters on), but here's a cropped photograph of just her head from that poster. I think it might be enough to prompt you in the right direction, if that's actually it.
posted by .kobayashi. at 9:27 AM on September 11, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks .kobayashi., but I feel confident it wasn't Madonna, and it definitely wasn't the image in your link. I tend to think I bought the poster in '88, but '89 (no later) is possible too. The woman I remember was definitely lying chest-down on the bed. Although to be honest, I don't know if I can be 100% sure of anything at twenty years' remove...
posted by misteraitch at 9:43 AM on September 11, 2010

The Film Noir Photos blog has quite a few photos tagged smoking in bed, though none of them quite match your description. (Be sure to click "older posts" a couple times -- there are three pages' worth of photos.)
posted by kittydelsol at 10:15 AM on September 11, 2010

This Marilyn Monroe shot? She's not smoking a cigarette but the position of her hand might have led you to misremember that she was.
posted by sleepcrime at 10:24 AM on September 11, 2010

(NSFW by the way)
posted by sleepcrime at 10:25 AM on September 11, 2010

No cigarette, but was it from Marilyn Monroe's last photo shoot?
posted by misterbrandt at 10:27 AM on September 11, 2010

Was she simply holding the cigarette in her hand or was it in her mouth?

Not blonde, but same angle and attitude: Barbara Steele.
posted by iconomy at 11:05 AM on September 11, 2010

Response by poster: I'm confident it wasn't Marilyn Monroe. The picture would have fit right in with those on the Film Noir photos page, but I didn't recognise any of them as the one. The pose and angle of view were very much like in this shot (a much closer match than the one I linked to above) except that the woman was wearing only underwear or else appeared to be nude (I don't remember which, alas). I believe the cigarette was in her hand, and that her feet were raised up, as in the picture linked here.
posted by misteraitch at 12:27 PM on September 11, 2010

...from an independent store in London that sold a lot of stills from old movies - so it's possible this poster was from a movie still too. I think the shop was somewhere near Covent Garden.

I am going to guess the store is actually Vin Mag in Soho which is the only store that I know that fits that description. They have most of their catalog online.
posted by vacapinta at 1:40 PM on September 11, 2010

It wasn't the cover shot of Darcey Steinke's Suicide Blonde was it?
posted by cropshy at 2:45 PM on September 11, 2010

Response by poster: vacapinta - that may have been the place: though I don't recall that the shop where I bought the poster sold magazines. It could just as easily be somewhere that's closed since then. I haven't found what I'm looking for on their site (although I've enjoyed browsing their wares).

cropshy - sadly no, the pose & viewpoint in the image I remember was different; something like this or this or this.
posted by misteraitch at 3:21 PM on September 11, 2010

Could it be Brigitte Bardot? Her movie Le Mepris especially seems to have a lot of nude laying on the bed shots.
posted by TooFewShoes at 4:16 PM on September 11, 2010

Response by poster: I don't think so, TooFewShoes: I think I would have recognised the woman if she had been Bardot (or Monroe, or Madonna) - but as it was, I didn't. And it looks like Le Mepris was in colour, so it's unlikely to have been a still from that film.

I've been calling it a poster, but I might have better called it a print, as it was on quite thick matte white paper stock: the photo was centered on it leaving a broad white surround. And the photo was landscape-format (or had been cropped as such).

My thanks to everyone who's answered so far.

posted by misteraitch at 12:00 AM on September 12, 2010

Sherilyn Fenn?
posted by R.Stornoway at 3:27 AM on September 12, 2010

Response by poster: R.S.: as with many of the images linked above, my 20-year-old self would have been delighted to have that picture blu-tacked to his wall. The pose is right, but the photo I remember was not so closely cropped to its subject - you could see the lady's feet raised, out-of-focus, in the background.
posted by misteraitch at 3:47 AM on September 12, 2010

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