DPP Home Profiles Jane Queen: Dangerously Dolly

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Jane Queen: Dangerously Dolly

Bold, striking and sexy, photographer Jane Queen’s alternative portraiture is a stylistic blend of gorgeous women, vivid tattoos and a modern approach to classic pinup

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"The best advice I could give for photographers, whether they're just getting started or are a master of their craft, is never be fully satisfied with what you've done," says pinup photographer Jane Queen, aka Dangerously Dolly, who has established her own thriving portraiture business by the age of 24. "In my point of view, complete satisfaction is the end of desire, which could be like putting an end to your career. Always keep shooting! Your best photograph could be the one you take tomorrow."

Elegy Ellem
At 12 years old, Dangerously Dolly, as photographer Jane Queen is most commonly known, began her work in the visual arts by teaching herself how to do digital image manipulation long before she ever picked up a camera. She considers January 2009 to be the start date of her life as a professional photographer, and yet less than two years later, her brash, seductive imagery could be seen in a variety of popular tattoo magazines, including a number of cover shots. With more than 20,000 Likes on her official Facebook page, Queen's work is immensely popular online and elsewhere. You can find scores of interviews and reposts of her imagery across countless blogs, image Tumblrs and pinup sites, and she even has discovered her images being sold on bootleg T-shirts overseas. She also receives so much fan art that she has dedicated an entire gallery page to it on her website—all of this at only 24 years old. Dangerously Dolly may sound fanciful, but Jane Queen is anything but.

It takes a lot of work to make something look easy, and after speaking with Queen it becomes obvious that she's determined to be a success at a very young age and willing to put in the effort to get there. Queen says she considers marketing to be "everything" in photography, and she heavily maintains her social-media profiles (Facebook, Model Mayhem, Myspace, Twitter, Tumblr and now Google+) despite her intensely busy schedule of traveling, shooting and editing. (She plans her schedule ahead for the full year in order to save on travel expenses and to keep potential models organized by location.) Each social-media venue serves to update her tremendous fan base with her schedule, new images and projects.

The images themselves skirt the alt edge of fetish and fashion while still staying strictly within tasteful bounds.
Her own website, which she constructed and updates herself, acts as the digital marketing hub for all of her endeavors, with each portal blending seamlessly back to dangerouslydolly.com. For instance, she uses her own Tumblr blog (WhatYourEyesCouldEat.com) to engage her fans not only with new imagery, but also with question-and-answer sessions. A lot of her fan mail comes from the oodles of potential pinup models who are dying to work with her, while many other queries are from budding photographers asking for technical and practical advice from the young ingénue. Tough life, right? The truth of the matter is that none of her success comes from luck or chance. It seems as if Queen is a true workaholic, but when asked if she considers herself to be one, Queen explains in true workaholic fashion that it's not a term she would use. "When you have a strong desire to learn something," Queen explains, "the work and effort put into it becomes enjoyable."

Dina DeSade
There are quite a few photographers working in the "alt edge" space, a world comprised of piercings, tattoos, fetishism and hyper-sexuality, but Queen's work transcends the typical Model Mayhem shot thanks to her unique conceptualism, a keen eye for detail, exceptional lighting abilities and a subtly surrealist approach to her work. The images themselves skirt the alt edge of fetish and fashion while still staying strictly within tasteful bounds. There's certainly plenty of suggestion, but very little actual nudity. Queen embraces the pop sentimentality of vivid colors, a core pinup characteristic, not only with backgrounds and props, but also with the models themselves who often will sport any variety of Technicolor hairstyles to match their plentiful ink.

Queen notes that she's mostly attracted to retro imagery and to the beauty of the female form, in particular, the voluptuous cheesecake innocence of master illustrators like Gil Elvgren, Alberto Vargas and Olivia De Berardinis. Ironically, when she first started taking pinups, it was criticism from other pinup photographers that inspired her to push her style further rather than rehashing the staid pinup. She explains that she would reference an image from the halcyon days of cheesecake only to find that other photographers would accuse her of taking their "ideas," which is laughable, of course, since they were based off of the same source material as Queen's. So she decided that rather than emulate the well-established style of pinup photography, she would push herself to create her own. After only a few short years, Queen has set herself apart from the pack with a style that's already instantly recognizable.


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