An Interview with Classic Hollywood Pin Up Photographer: Don Cross

An Interview with Classic Hollywood Pin Up Photographer: Don Cross

Photographer Don Cross Intrrview

Photographer Don Cross’ work honestly speaks for itself but today we get the pleasure of learning even more. Like so many photographers, we see their results, the finished product but what about the steps? The passion? What about the skilled eye behind it all? Don Cross is a professional. His style is classic yet he’s able to spin traditional Hollywood style pin up and enhance it in beautiful, edgy ways. Don’s work has caught my eye many times, I just had to know more about his classic yet unique style of photography. Check out this interview and learn for yourself through this Q & A interview of Photographer Don Cross.

Name: Don Cross (Don Cross Photography)

Instagram: doncrossphotography

Twitter: @DonCrossPhoto

How do you describe your art/ vibes/ general style? Pin up with an edge. I like to take the classic pinup art form, open lighting on seamless paper or simple background, and add a little sexy whimsy: cosplay, light bondage, implied girl/girl, etc.

What draws you to your style of photography? I had always admired the classic Hollywood pin up photography and the pin up art of Alberto Vargas. I also liked the fantasy art of Boris Vallejo. And, of course, the incomparable Bettie Page is inspiring, especially her fetish work with Irving Klaw. Having the opportunity to produce art in a similar vein has been great fun.

Astrological Sign: Leo. I don’t think of that is particularly meaningful but other people have told me I’m a “typical” Leo.

Single or taken: I’ve been married for 43 years so, I guess that’s pretty taken!

Pets: Not really. My wife and daughter both have cats and the cats think I should take care of their needs.

How long have you been a photographer?

I’ve been a photographer for 38 years. It’s never been my primary occupation.  I was a Director of Operations in the semiconductor sector until I retired 16 years ago.  I’ve been more active in photography since then.

Did you start in the adult industry?

No, not at all.  While I had always admired good photography, I never had that much of an interest.  When my daughter was two years old, my wife took her to a portrait photographer and my daughter had a tantrum and wouldn’t have her photo taken.  My wife complained that I never took photos.  I told her that I didn’t have a decent camera and didn’t know how to use one.  She told me to buy one and learn.  I’m sure she regretted that conversation a time or two!

As my family was always involved in theater, I quickly became a stage photography and began photographing actors, dancers, opera singers, etc.  Some of the stage dancers wanted to do pinup shoots and that blossomed into a working with burlesque performers, etc.  A few years ago, Miss Whitney Morgan saw my work on social media and suggested we should work together.  In addition to being a glamour model, Whitney was also an adult actress, clip producer, and fetish model.  That was really my introduction to working with someone in the industry.  Whitney introduced me to some other models and some models in the industry saw my work with Whitney and began to contact me as well.

What do your models love about you?

All I know is what they tell me but, I take pride in the fact that most of the models I have worked with are anxious to come back again and again and that they recommend me to their friends.  There are several models with whom I have maintained a collaborative relationship for many years.  Models tell me that they like the planning and preparation I put in so that they know what to expect before they arrive and there’s no wasted time.  Many ladies tell me that they feel comfortable and respected from the start of the planning process to the delivery of images.  I’m a believer in “win-win” scenarios; therefore, the process should work for everyone involved.

What do you look for in a model?

Professional but fun models are the best models.  Just as I want the model to be rewarded by the experience, the model needs to have a collaborative attitude as well.  A real collaboration needs communication and respect for the other persons time. Being on time and prepared goes a long way to making everything work.  A model needs to be attractive and sexy but “attractive” has a lot of definitions.  I’ve worked with short models and tall models, models with tattoos and without, thinner and heavier ladies, younger and older ladies, and find that the models who recognize their own assets (and flaws) can always make attractive images.  Sexy is mostly about attitude.  I guess, above, all. A model needs to be ready to do the work and make the experience fun.  Everything else will just fall in place.

Most popular models you’ve worked with?

Miss Whitney Morgan, of course.  I’ve also worked with femdom producer and model, Goddess Taylor Knight, her favorite slave, Adara Jordin, cosplay and nude model, Sushii Xhyvette, and indie film actress and glamour model, Mel Heflin.  All of them have a very loyal fan base.

What is your favorite thing about being in the adult industry?

I’m really more on the fringes of the adult industry so I don’t think about it much in that way.

How are you handling the Pandemic?

I stay at home a lot anyway, so it hasn’t been too much of a hardship.  I recently completed a photo shoot with two wonderful models, Goddess Taylor Knight and Adara Jordin, so it’s giving me extra time to edit.  It does create a problem with trying to plan for future activities.

What is the hottest thing you’ve ever shot?

I don’t really shoot anything all that hot.  My work includes some light bondage and implied girl/girl action but that’s about as far as it goes.

Any publications?

Quite a few, actually.  I published my own pinup magazine. Don’s Dollhouse, for a while and completed a book of my photography called In The Studio.  I’ve also had over 250 photo sets in other publications like Delicious Dolls, Dream Angel, Elite Angels, The Definition Magazine, Kittens Magazine, Pretty Poison, Noir Fetish, GOREgeous Girls, and many others.  Those publications included over 40 covers. I’ve also had images in a dozen calendars and some photos from the recent shoot with Goddess Taylor Knight and Adara Jordin are scheduled for release in Dominate Me Magazine in April.

What do you love about your followers?

Frankly, most of my followers are more interested in the sexy ladies I photograph than they are in mw.  LOL  However, it’s always a real treat to get a comment about photography ( concept, lighting, editing. Whatever) in addition to the model.

Craziest Thing That’s Ever Happened While Shooting?

While I’m sure this is very tame by industry standards, the craziest thing I can remember happened during a shoot with Sushii Xhyvette.  The hairstylist and make-up artist had just finished with her and she was stepping, naked, into a tin tub full of bubbles when the door to the studio opened and a plumber walked in.  He had been called to fix a toilet in the unit next door and came to the wrong unit.  All of us were fairly blasé about it all but he was completely embarrassed and kept apologizing repeatedly.

Dream Photo Shoot?

I love doing shoots with multiple models, whether it’s multi-model cosplay, classic pinup, implied girl/girl or bondage.  I suppose my dream shoot would be to get all my favorite models together in a rented mansion (maybe with a dungeon in the basement) and shoot for a week!  While that’s a dream, we have had some preliminary discussions about getting Miss Whitney Morgan, Goddess Taylor Knight, and Adara Jordin together for a shoot.  So, I’m hopeful that may come together soon.

Equipment?

I’ve always shot with Nikon cameras moving from film to digital.  I currently use a D600.  Since I learned on manual focus lenses, I still use them for my work.  Almost every image I shoot is with an old A1S Nikkor lens – 35mm, 50mm, or 85mm.  I use a large selection of Novatron lighting equipment, both mono-lights and pack lights, and have and use a variety of modifiers – beauty dishes, soft-boxes, snoots, etc.  I have some umbrellas but rarely use them.  I shoot a lot on seamless paper backdrops.  It’s an old style but I like it.

Favorite models to work with?

Certainly, Miss Whitney Morgan is on the list.  In addition to her obvious beauty and sex appeal, she brings a combination of experience and vitality to every shoot.  I can simply share the concept with her, and she begins a series of poses and expressions that fit.  In addition, she is just fun to be around!  I have worked several times with Goddess Taylor Knight and each shoot has produced a wealth of great images.  Taylor has a classic pinup face and figure and is perfectly comfortable in front of the camera.  One of my favorite models is indie film actress, Mel Heflin.  Her acting experience enables her to assume any role in a photo concept: dominant submissive, classic pinup, cosplay model and her smile lights up the studio.  Goddess Taylor Knight recently set up a joint shoot with professional submissive, Adara Jordin, and, I think, she will be joining my list of favorites!  My favorite models have several things in common.  They are fun to be around, creative, hard-working, and extremely smart!  Too many people think that success in this industry is all about physical attractiveness and that, if you have the right look, everything is easy.  I don’t think that is ever true.  It’s much more about making the most of your assets, focusing on the right activities, knowing the market, finding the right people to work with, and being the kind of person others want to work with.  All of that requires judgment and intelligence.

Fetishes?

My real life is pretty vanilla but other people assume, because of my work, that I’m either a male dom, a beta male, a bondage rigger, etc.  As a result, I get some fairly weird messages.  The silliest ones assume that every photo shoot ends in some kind of orgy.  I was recently asked how many models I had sex with.  For the record, the answer is zero.  Our relationship is professional, often friendly, but never with benefits!

What are your goals?

At my age, my goal is simple, I hope to keep doing my style of photography as long as possible!

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