Tennis Poster Photographer Dies

I rarely bother with a mid-week paper. I feel guilty enough about the two inch pile of paper that ends up in the house from just getting the two weekend papers. But anyway, buried away on page 42—which, as everyone knows, is the meaning of life, the universe, and everything—of Monday’s paper was an item about the death of Martin Elliot. It seems that Mr Elliot was a photographer.

TennisBabeSmall I never even bothered to find out who the photographer was, but I sure know some of his work and so will most males over about 40. It seems that Mr Elliot was the photographer who took the picture for what is—apparently—the most recognised poster in the world. He took it in September, 1976.

As part of my tireless research I found a site called “the-tennis-girl” (here) which also claims that this poster is Number One. I am not sure what it is number one for, or at. It could be that it is the number one poster in worldwide sales. There is nothing more at this site that provides any hints. It only seems to have the one single page and no links anywhere.

I was also surprised that this poster has its own entry in Wikipedia (here). I wonder how many other posters can claim that?

Google’ing “tennis girl poster” (without the literals) will bring up over 23 million hits. Okay … not all of these will be about this poster, but even if only five percent are about this poster then that is still over one million sites!!

According to Wikipedia, and other sites featuring this picture, the babe is 18 year old (at the time) Fiona Butler who was Martin Elliot’s girlfriend then. From what I could find—and you really cannot trust a lot of what you find on the Web (cough)—Fiona went on to marry a millionaire at 20, has three children, and these days is into graphic design (presumably for Web sites).

I also managed to find a YouTube video where the first two minutes is about this shoot (here). You also get to see a grainy face shaky shot of Fiona. According to this semi-documentary video Fiona did not get any money from the shoot.

KylieTennis The image of Fiona that I used here has been reduced in size and resolution so it can be posted. If you want to see the picture slightly larger as it was before I reduced it down to for posting then Ctrl+click on the picture to open it in a new Tab.

UnknowTennisBabe As I was doing my research I came across a number of attempts where photographers and models have tried to achieve something of similar impact and breathtaking beauty. It seems that Kylie Minogue tried to reproduce the effect for CQ magazine. I figured it would be remiss of me not to find this image and share it as well—so , after much searching, here it is (above left). Not that you can really tell it is Kylie Minogue but the article in CQ magagine tells us that it is.

There were a number of others that Google brings up. The best of the rest is probably the picture above right. I have no idea who the model is, who took it, when, or where but from the back she looks totally hot.