Dwight Hooker

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Dwight Hooker
Born(1928-06-22)June 22, 1928
DiedJanuary 3, 2015(2015-01-03) (aged 86)
Michigan, U.S.
OccupationPhotographer, architect

Dwight Hooker (June 22, 1928 – January 3, 2015) was an American photographer and architect. He was best known as a photographer for Playboy magazine and has been described as one of the masters of "the sensual and the erotic", along with photographers Helmut Newton and J. Frederick Smith.[1][2] One of his photographs became the basis of Lenna, the standard test image for image processing algorithms (such as compression and denoising) and related scientific publications.[3][4]


Hooker photographed the centerfold featuring Lena Söderberg for the best-selling edition of Playboy, the November 1972 edition issue, which sold 7,161,561 copies.[5] A cropped image from that pictorial, known as Lenna, became the standard test image for image processing algorithms (such as compression and denoising) and related scientific publications.[3][4]

Hooker originated and provided the photographs for the magazine's commercial campaign "What sort of a man reads Playboy?",[6] which became an example of sociodemographic segmentation for advertising campaigns.[7] It featured young, educated and urban men who had money and were not averse to spending it and took pleasure as a duty.[8][9][10] The campaign, with its use of undressed men and women, was ruled by the US Supreme Court to be "not obscene", although the court decision did call it "offensive".[11]

Other milestones in Hooker's career include photographing the twins Madeleine and Mary Collinson (the first twin Playmates on Playboy, for cover and centerfold of the October 1970 issue), Marilyn Cole (the first Playmate to pose for a full frontal nude centerfold and the first Briton to hold the title of Playmate of the Year), Jayne Marie Mansfield (daughter of Jayne Mansfield), Candy Loving (the 25th Anniversary Playmate), Monica Tidwell (the first Playmate to be younger than Playboy), Nancy Cameron (the 20th Anniversary Playmate and the only Playmate to have a back and front double-sided centerfold[12]), Marilyn Lange (both her Playmate of the Month and Playmate of the Year layouts for May 1974 and June 1975 issues respectively) and Jill De Vries (the first Playmate with signed centerfold). He also photographed Playmate and Playboy bunny Barbi Benton (actress and singer who was Hugh Hefner's girlfriend) and Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning actor Alan Alda.

Hooker mentored other Playboy photographers including Stephen Wayda.[13] He shot the cover for the first paperback edition of Playboy's Book of Forbidden Words (1974), with model Mercy Rooney.[14] He is reported to have the record number of rejections for a Playboy photographer when Hugh Hefner, the publisher, rejected 500 of Hooker's photographs for a centerfold.[15][16]

Personal life[edit]

Hooker retired from Playboy to Sundance, Utah to work as an architect.[13] He was a regular at the Sundance Film Festival.[17]

Hooker died in Michigan on January 3, 2015, at the age of 86.[18]

Playboy work[edit]

Playboy centerfolds[edit]

Playboy covers[edit]

Playmate pictorials[edit]


Christina series[edit]

A book series on imaginary heiress Christina van Bell was written by "Blakely St. James", a pseudonym for multiple authors including Robin Leonard, Charles Platt, Ted Gottfried, William E Butterworth, and Hart Williams. Hooker provided the photographs used on the front and back covers. The model for all the books is Jill De Vries.

  • Christina's Quest, Playboy Press, 1976, ISBN 0-87216-885-9
  • Christina's Desire, Playboy Press, 1978
  • Christina's Rapture, Playboy Press, 1978
  • Christina's Ecstasy, Playboy Paperbacks, 1980, ISBN 0-86721-018-4
  • Christina's Sins, Playboy Press, 1980, ISBN 0-87216-729-1
  • Christina Enchanted, 1980
  • Christina's Promise, 1980
  • A Kiss for Christina, Playboy Press, 1981
  • Christina's Escape, Playboy Paperbacks, 1981, ISBN 0-87216-820-4
  • Christina's Obsession, Playboy Paperbacks, 1981, ISBN 0-87216-853-0
  • Christina in Love, Playboy Paperbacks, 1981, ISBN 0-87216-925-1
  • Christina's Bliss, Playboy Paperbacks, 1981
  • Christina's Hunger, 1981
  • Christina's Delight, 1982
  • Christina's Awakening, 1983
  • Christina's Favorite, 1983
  • Christina's Paradise, 1983
  • Christina's Confessions, 1983

Other books[edit]


  1. ^ Coleman, A. D.; Grantz, Sheer (1980). The Photography A-V program directory. Photography Media Institute. ISBN 978-0-936524-00-9.
  2. ^ Callahan, Sean (1975). Photographing sensuality, J. Frederick Smith. Crowell. p. 45. ISBN 978-0-690-00781-7.
  3. ^ a b Tarrant, Jon (2007). Understanding Digital Cameras: Getting the Best Image from Capture to Output. Focal Press. p. 41. ISBN 978-0-240-52024-7.
  4. ^ a b Seitz, Juergen (2005). Digital watermarking for digital media. Idea Group Inc (IGI). p. 9. ISBN 978-1-59140-518-4.
  5. ^ Geek Love, the Lenna Story, Photoshop News, Adobe
  6. ^ "Home lessons". New York Post. June 4, 2010.
  7. ^ Kaplan, Martin F.; Schwartz, Steven (1977). Human judgment and decision processes in applied settings. Academic Press. p. 233. ISBN 978-0-12-397240-8.
  8. ^ Cohan, Steven (1997). Masked men: masculinity and the movies in the fifties. Indiana University Press. p. 270. ISBN 978-0-253-21127-9.
  9. ^ Cross, Gary (2010). Men to Boys: The Making of Modern Immaturity. Columbia University Press. p. 73. ISBN 978-0-231-14431-5.
  10. ^ Tolmach Lakoff, Robin; Scherr, Raquel L. (1984). Face value, the politics of beauty. Routledge. p. 227. ISBN 978-0-7100-9742-2.
  11. ^ "United States Supreme Court reports". 100. Lawyers Co-operative Pub. Co. 1977: 282. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  12. ^ 20th Anniversary Playmate Archived July 17, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, Timeline
  13. ^ a b Hood, Abbey. "Behind the lens of a Playboy photographer". The Beverly Hills Courier. Retrieved April 30, 2017.
  14. ^ Wilson, Robert A., ed. (1974). Playboy's Book of Forbidden Words. Playboy Press.
  15. ^ Miller, Russell (1985). Bunny: The real story of Playboy. Holt, Rinehart and Winston. p. 11. ISBN 978-0-03-063748-3.
  16. ^ Landrum, Gene N. (2004). Entrepreneurial Genius: The Power of Passion. Brendan Kelly Publishing Inc. p. 161. ISBN 978-1-895997-23-1.
  17. ^ Smith, Lory (December 1998). Party in a Box: Story of the Sundance Film Festival. Gibbs M. Smith Inc. p. 41. ISBN 0-87905-861-7.
  18. ^ "Dwight Hooker Obituary". The Salt Lake Tribune. January 6, 2015.

External links[edit]