Pulp Fiction is a term used to describe a flood creative writing available to the American public in the early nineteen-hundreds. Mainstream publishers packaged the cheap paperbacks to be sold in train and bus stations, dimestores, drugstores, grocery stores, and newsstands. Between these pages they published fantastic, escapist fiction, campy by today’s standards, for the general entertainment of a mass audience. At a time when television wasn’t widely available, much of the free time of the working literate class was spent pouring through the pages of the pulps.
The term “pulp magazines” and later “pulp fiction” was coined due to the low quality paper used between the covers. Although the pages in-between the covers were a dingy cheap quality, the covers were beautifully decorated and designed to stand out thus, catching the eye and entice it readership. The paperback books featured vivid cover art and often dealt with taboo subjects: prostitution, rape, interracial romances, lesbianism, and male homosexuality. It was common to portray lurid portraits of pretty women in various stages of trouble and undress. Of course the handsome men attempting to rescue them were dashing, fearless and just “in time”. This capture the imagination of many teenagers and adults alike.
The pulp fiction era provided a breeding ground for future talent which would influence all forms of entertainment for decades to come. The short stories of today have changed into a different breed of writing, leaving the stories found in the pulp era a unique offering. But, beyond the legacy of fanciful entertaining stories, pulp fiction must be given some credit for the evolution of literature and popular fiction heroes of today. Many authors that got their start in the pulp era grew to be great writers that changed the landscape of popular fiction. Writers such as Carroll John Daily, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Max Brand, H.P. Lovecraft, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, and Ray Bradbury.
Recreating these cover is an homage to pivotal point in literary history that has been ignored and berated for its contribution to our present day story telling. Without it, the landscape of story telling would may have been limited to what was acceptable to law makers of the 40’s and 50’s. It is hard to imagine the literary landscape without these influences from our past.
The following are my original covers inspired by the classics.
Equipment used in this photo shoot:
***UPDATE*** The images on this post were originally taken with a Fujifilm X-T1. Fujifilm has discontiued that model so these links are for my current setup, the Fujifilm X-T3.
Follow the links below.
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Foot note: According to US Copyright law (Title 17, US Code), these items are in the Public Domain, since their original copyright registrations were not renewed by the publisher after 28 years (Pub. Law 60-349, Sec. 23). In countries outside the United States, however, copyright restrictions may still apply. Exceptions may include contributions, registered at the time of publication, but renewed individually by the authors’ estates. If you or anyone you know owns the copyright to any of the materials included here, please contact me.